United States

United States

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  • Day4

    We have had an amazing day.....so hot!! We are just not used to so much sunshine!

    The girls faces when we walked up Main Street and saw the castle it brought a tear to my eye!!

    Now back at hotel and off for a swim!

  • Day45

    We left Vancouver Tuesday October 10th. We spent 4 days meandering along the West Coast of Washington and Oregon. We were amazed by the variety of rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, scrubby beach grass, and always the sea, the waves, the crashing breakers and hissing surf. Along the Oregon coast we hiked among huge sand dunes like the Sahara desert. The spectacular sunsets over the sea were amazing. It was a beautiful drive. We have avoided cities and freeways -- we took a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula, then turned south on the 101. We drove west of Seattle and Portland. We stayed in a smelly el cheapo roadside motel and a fancy luxury upscale chalet with a jacuzzi and a fireplace and a wonderful ocean view. We ate great steamed local fresh fish, and Denny's grilled cheese.

    We hiked each day -- not really far -- (5 - 13 km) but enough. It sometimes rained, mostly at night. It has been unexpectedly exciting to see so much change in coastline as we move South.

    In Port Townsend, I swam in the local swimming pool one morning. The town is a pretty little place with a long maritime history, including a visit from Captain Cook. The pool was great but seemed a little shorter than I expected. I asked the life guard and he explained that it was short because the pool was built by pirates. "You see," he explained, " The pirates didn't use meters --- they use YARRRDS!"

    Now we are off to California and will be dodging the 2017 Wildfires.
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  • Day8

    Lots of walking today! According to my phone I have walked 32,000 steps and almost 20 km! Not a bad workout for one day. Some of the places I visited on my long journey around Manhattan:

    - Battery Park. Amazing views of the skyline and The Statue of Liberty in the distance. I also returned shortly after sunset where it looked even better.

    - Tribeca, Greenwich Village, Lower Manhattan. Really nice part of the city and good for just walking around and exploring. I stopped by the famous Katz’s Delicatessen, but a bit too crowded and stressful to stay for lunch! I did end up having a burger at a fancy steak house by Chelsea Market. It was a rather ... minimalist variant: a bun and a beef patty. That’s it. Nice beef though! I also visited john varvatos, a store where rock club CBGB’s used to be.

    - Highline. I finally got to walk the length of the lovely Highline park. Very nice - almost too hot though! It was sunny, no clouds and 27 degrees C today. Pretty amazing for late October in this city. Ironically it might be warmer here than California where I’m going next.

    - Times Square. Total tourist trap and super crowded, but fun to visit. I visited Planet Hollywood to see some movie props and their Halloween display.

    - Midtown. I stopped by a few locations like the Chrysler building, Grand Central station and the New York Public Library. I had to see the Rose reading room where they shot the opening scene of Ghostbusters! Yesterday I also visited some other central locations from what will always be a fav movie of mine: Tavern on the Green and the building where Dana and Luis Tully live!

    - Central Park. I was there yesterday too, but it’s always such a lovely place to visit, and you never run out of corners to go for a walk or admire the beautiful views.

    - Brooklyn. After getting back to the Conrad to pick up my bag (and see the Ghostbusters firehouse in the area!), I got an Uber to drive to Brooklyn for my final NYC hotel. I usually stay in Manhattan so this is a first. I had dinner at a local BBQ place which was cool. They provided two small cupcakes with the check. Cute!
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  • Day9

    I’m flying to Los Angeles tomorrow, so this is my last full day in the Big Apple. This morning I started off with a tour, simply named The Tour. It concentrated mostly on the Midtown area, where I’ve already been walking around a lot. The bus itself was pretty cool though. ‘Stadium-style’ seating, many screens and a good vantage point to see the street go by. The guide told some interesting stories and facts along the way, but otherwise the tour didn’t offer much new.

    I then went downtown for another tour by the same company, The Downtown Experience. It was the same type of bus, but a little different since they provided a Virtual Reality component. It was basically a fancy set of goggles playing 360 degree videos along the way. Cool way to make a bus tour slightly different. This tour, of course, stayed mostly in the Downtown area and passed by places like the financial district (where I went for a walk afterwards), and Battery Park. Lots of interesting history there.

    After some more walking around Manhattan I had soup from the amazing “Original Soup Man” - or the soup nazi as portrayed in probably the most well-known episode of Seinfeld!

    Now I’m waiting for the evening entertainment to begin: Guns N’ Roses live at Madison Square Garden. There is no opening band so it looks like it will be more than 3 hours of Guns N’ Roses at the world’s most famous arena. Not bad for a Wednesday in October!
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  • Day9

    Pretty amazing concert at the famous Madison Square Garden. I was super lucky to get a ticket in the pit - a small area closest to the stage. There were probably only 30 other people there, so very intimate!

    The band played for over 3 hours and delivered a really good performance 🤘

  • Day11

    Relaxing day! I started this morning with a walk around the Toluca Lake area which I’ve gotten to know a bit now that I’ve been there so many times. I visited a couple of cool stores, and grabbed some lunch close to the hotel.

    I then made my way to the famous beaches of Santa Monica where I checked into the luxurious Loews, where I have a really nice ocean view room. I can only afford one night here but it’s been great to try it out even for a short time!

    The afternoon was not too eventful - just a walk on the beach, including the Venice boardwalk, and ultimately I saw the beautiful sunset over the ocean. Later I had a nice dinner at my hotel :)
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  • Day12

    Another day with a lot of walking around!

    After checking out of the amazing Loews in Santa Monica, I went to the nearby Marina del Rey. After some lunch and relaxation by the pool, I went out for a long walk around the marina area, and eventually I ended up in Venice. I checked out a few locations from tv shows I like, and watched another beautiful California sunset :)

  • Day13

    Today is Hollywood Day! This morning I switched from my hotel in Marina del Rey to The Magic Castle hotel in Hollywood - usually rated #1 or #2 in all of Los Angeles. I have stayed here several times before and it is indeed a very good hotel. The service is just great, and they have all these extra touches like an ice cream machine and free soda. As much as you want! It’s also located very centrally in the touristy section of Hollywood.

    After checking in I went for a walk in that very area - the Walk of Fame is indeed the only place in Los Angeles where people actually walk. I then tried the half hour tour of the famous Chinese Theatre, which was actually very interesting. I also browsed the Hollywood & Highland center, where you can see the Hollywood Sign from a distance. I’ve been here 8 times now so I kind of know the sights very well but still a fun place to visit.

    It was 35 degrees C today - very hot! - so I spent a bit of time by the nice pool at the hotel. After some dinner I eventually made my way to The Greek, a legendary venue where I saw Evanescence live. They were playing with a symphony orchestra as part of a new production and tour that launched just yesterday. It’s a bit of a contrast from their usual rock shows, but great performance from Amy Lee and a lot of beautiful songs.
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  • Day14

    After hanging out some more at The Magic Castle hotel this morning - one of my absolute fav places - I went back to the touristy Hollywood Blvd. This time to visit the Dolby Theatre for a tour. It was a fairly short tour, but interesting to get a little glimpse of the place that is the permanent host of the Oscars. And we saw an actual Oscar, of course :)

    A little later I went on a Starline “Movie Stars Homes Tour” - an event that is almost mandatory if you’re a tourist in Hollywood! I’ve done it before, but the tour guide is usually fun, and you get on a nice drive up the Hollywood Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip. I don’t think we actually saw that many celeb homes, although we did drive by a few homes that are on the market in the 150-200 million dollar range. It was sad to drive past the last home that Michael Jackson lived in - coincidentally across a home once occupied by another king; Elvis!

    Speaking of Beverly Hills, after the tour I checked into the ultra luxurious Waldorf Astoria. It only opened in June so everything still looks brand new and sparkly! They have a very sleek rooftop bar and pool with amazing views. It took a while longer than normal for my room to be ready, so they treated me to a free lunch with drinks! Not bad.

    After lunch and a quick walk on Rodeo Drive, I went back to Hollywood to attend a bona fide red carpet premiere at the Chinese Theatre that I toured just the day earlier. It was the US galla premiere of the movie Geostorm starring Andy Garcia, Ed Harris and Gerard Butler as the lead. Turns out I was sitting relatively close to him in the theater, so I ended up walking behind him when we were leaving. Pretty surreal to leave a first screening of a big Hollywood movie with the guy who stars in it. The movie was a bit nuts, but pretty entertaining.

    Now it’s time for a night in one of the most fancy and luxurious of the many hotel rooms I’ve tried in this country!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

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