THE CITY OF ANGELS.
Los Angeles, the third largest city in the USA, was founded in 1781. For many people, of course, it is synonymous with Hollywood and the film industry. It is an eternal magnet for those who aspire to fame and wealth. Millions of tourists come to see the city of Los Angeles, and the celebrated towns of Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, as well as the places where the rich and famous live. We all know them from countless movies, TV shows and the media, but nothing can compare with the thrill of actually walking along the Walk of Fame and seeing those stars in the pavement, or staring at the shop windows on Rodeo Drive, or seeing the skyscrapers which tumble down or explode spectacularly in many timeless films. If you are coming for a short visit, especially after a long flight, book Radisson LAX hotel for a night or two. It has a reliable 24-hour airport shuttle, an outdoor swimming pool which can be a life-savior after a tiring journey, and yes, it is always warm in LA. Outside the hotel, on the highway, one can enjoy the gorgeous lights display; the tall columns change colors continuously. The hotel staff is very helpful, accustomed to dealing with all sorts of travelers speaking a multitude of tongues. Breakfast is beyond description, and there is a wide variety of dishes to be had for dinner. One can sign up for a bus excursion all around the area and go on a tour with a guide. There are plenty of stops to walk around and take pictures. We loved the Rodeo Drive shop windows located in the pavement. Surprisingly, as you walk to the end of this unimaginably expensive street, there are some hole-in-the-wall pizzerias where you can have a decent cheap snack and use the facilities. The streets where the rich and famous live are an attraction in themselves. The Walk of Fame boasts not only Stars of Fame, and yes, one actually steps on them; there are also people dressed up as various movie characters, and wax figures of famous actors. While my husband rushed to have his picture taken with the wax Samuel L. Johnson, I shook hands with Professor Dumbledore of “Harry Potter” fame. He extracted two magic wands and discreetly whispered into my ear, “$10 for the picture”, which seemed a very reasonable price.
Our return flight was in the afternoon. Now, we have all been in situations when we check out from the hotel by noon, and then either sit around with our luggage, or try to do something useful while wearing unsuitable clothes and shoes. We decided to splurge and asked the concierge to book us a car for three hours. When we checked out, the driver just put our entire luggage into the trunk and took us around. We told him what we wanted to see, he drove us to various places which are not accessible by bus, and took our pictures. He also showed us some places which he knew, and which we have not seen, like a beautiful lake high above the city, or the perfect spot to snap a picture of the celebrated HOLLYWOOD sign. We visited a church founded the same time as the city itself, looked at the skyscrapers which we recognized from countless action movies, and even saw some celebrities. Then he took us straight to the airport. It was a really enjoyable trip.