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  • Day12

    City of Angels

    June 2 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Up early to catch the Surfliner Train down the Californian coast to Los Angeles. I would have posted a photo but it was a bit cloudy and overcast and it looked a bit like Saltcoats at the Glasgow Fair. The train called in at Santa Barbara but there was no sign of Aunty Babs. Maybe she was out entertaining the old folks!

    As I arrived at the 1939 art deco Union Station, Los Angeles, I felt I should be carrying a small dog like so many wannabe stars of yesteryear looking for fame and fortune in Tinseltown. As I only have one day in LA, I decided to make the most of it. Took the Metro then bus to Melrose Avenue and caught the last tour of the day at the legendary Paramount Film Studios. We were a small group of 6 and had an excellent guide - Jackson, an aspiring writer - who gave us a 2 hour tour of the back lot in a buggy. It was quite a thrill walking through the famous Bronson Gate as so many stars have done in the past (Aileen you would love it à la Norma Desmond). I particularly loved the older part which was originally RKO Studios (where King Kong was made), before being bought by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Jr who turned into Desilu Studios and created shows like I Love Lucy and the original Star Trek. As we stood in Sound Stage 29, we were told that this was the very spot where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had created their movie magic - unbelievable!

    The back lot too was impressive, with mock ups of New York streets etc where the Godfather was made. Altogether a great visit and a place to be recommended if you are interested in old Hollywood.

    Three buses later and I arrive at the Griffith Observatory high in the Hollywood Hills, near the famous sign. The beautiful deco building featured heavily in the 1955 movie Rebel Without A Cause starting James Dean. It is free to enter and a very popular place to visit especially at sunset, with fabulous views over Los Angeles.

    Lastly a quick visit by Metro to Hollywood proper, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and the footprints of the stars. Still can’t see mine there - it must be an oversight.

    Back to Union Station to enjoy the hospitality of the Metropolitan Lounge before boarding the 10pm Amtrak Sunset Limited Service, and my sleeper for the two nights Zzzz...
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