USS Iowa and a tour of LA…

We kicked off our Sunday in Redondo Beach before heading south to San Pedro to visit the USS Iowa. Phil’s Dad (Steve), had always wanted to see a warship in the flesh and that’s pretty much why he chose the West Coast for our holiday.

The USS Iowa is a huge ship oozing with history and character. It’s really fascinating to walk around and Steve loved it.

Once we had finished having a nose around, we headed over to Hollywood to visit the Griffith Observatory and that iconic sign.

It was mega busy over at Griffith Park, but we managed to get parked right outside the Observatory- result! 

I think that the observatory is fantastic for views of the city and the sign. The observatory itself is also great. Both times that we have been we watched a show in the planetarium. It’s so interesting and relaxing. I love how visiting the observatory reminds me of just how small I am – we are. It’s so easy to get swept up in modern day life and forget that in the grand scheme of things Earth is rather insignificant. 

My view on life is to enjoy what we have now. Think about the future, but don’t stress it. Don’t take anything for granted. Anyway, visiting the planetarium helps to keep me grounded!

Cap: Borrowed from Phil, made by Billabong Sunglasses: Kate Spade about 8 months ago, T Shirt: I picked up from Ocean Park when we were in Hong Kong, Shorts: I picked up in Target last year.

After our trip to the planetarium, we took a trip to Rodeo Drive. We wanted to make sure that Steve sees all of the iconic places whilst we were in Los Angeles, so Rodeo Drive was a must see.

We also took Steve to the Chinese Theatre which is honestly one of the most disappointing places I’ve ever been to. It’s not glamorous at all and it’s always rammed. It’s such a seedy area and a complete contrast to the glamorous, exciting image I had conjured up before my first visit. 

Anyway, although Phil and I despise that area, we felt that Steve needed to see it and took him along. We parked right nearby ($2.50 per 12 minutes!!!) and had a nose at the handprints, footprints and stars.

Another place that Steve had mentioned he would like to visit was the La Brea tar pits. Which are basically naturally occurring tar pits where asphalt has seeped through the ground. 

It was completely new to Phil and I and fascinating to see. They have been excavating fossils there for years and have found so many animals including a mammoth.

The animals would come close to the pits for drinking water without realising that they were filled with asphalt and get stuck in the tar. It’s really sad, but awesome that we can gather fossils. I would really recommend a visit. 

Have you visited any of these tourist hot spots?

L x

A day spent exploring West Wycombe…

There’s something about National Trust sites that simply grip me. I’m not sure if it’s the opulent stately homes or the lush grounds, but either way I am always somewhat entranced by a trip exploring a National Trust site. I love how simple, yet complex each visit is from a casual stroll around woodland to a tour of the grandest of homes. I love using our time exploring to switch off from everyday life and escape the harshness of modern times. It’s like taking a step back into a simpler way of life. We always have a jolly good walk around and I love breathing in the fresh air, my toes skimming the grass. We always learn something new and find something different. On this occasion we visited West Wycombe, which has a house as well as grounds to explore. We learnt lots about the Dashwoods and found a giant fungus in a tree, which whilst I am quite aware this doesn’t sound exciting (and perhaps even repulsive), it’s just so lovely to take note of our surroundings, nature and none of us had seen anything like this fungi before. It was as though it had emerged from Wonderland.

I find that each visit to a National Trust site bares similar constitutions to that of a fairytale. Charming, enchanting and full of escapism. That’s why I was so excited to see what West Wycombe had to offer us as new place to explore.

Although the sky was coloured grey, it was still rather pleasant and we had a wonderful walk around the grounds.

The grounds are simply overflowing in natural beauty with the clearest waters. I’ve genuinely only seen waters as clear as these in Iceland and could barely believe that this kind of purity can be found lurking in Buckinghamshire.

The house that sits on the hill at West Wycombe is open to visitors and I would say it is very distinct. It has a lot of Italian influences and has been used for filming on many occasions (including the latest Bridget Jones instalment!) It’s brilliant that you can walk around and absorb the history of past inhabitants and there are loads of information sheets to hand too. 

Overall we had a great day and will definitely be returning!

Have you visited any National Trust sites?

L x