The jet lag of course meant for an early start, so at 5am I was up and ready to embark, it’s a shame there was a 4 hour wait until the group set off for the first destination: El Pueblo de Los Ángeles.
El Pueblo is where they first founded the city of Los Angeles so by nature it’s traditionally Spanish. The pale walled buildings, cobbled streets and a magnificent band stand in the center gave a massive sense of Mexican culture and it just felt so different to what I’m used to back home. A lot simpler. Getting the chance to wonder about I entered many of the market stalls and shops that ran parallel to the Olvera Street, all lined with heavily religious iconography (Incredibly life like models of the baby Jesus for example) and tacky key rings. This, along with an assortment of wrestling masks and brightly decorated skulls, all came together to make El Pueblo a cultural hub for tourists wanting to get a flavor of Mexico and with it also being host to Union Station, you’re also able to get a glimpse of some stunning architecture.
Next on the agenda was the a walking tour around the Los Angeles financial district. We took a coach to the Disney concert hall and then began walking, discovering various film locations and landmarks. We essentially walked in a massive loop going past the Bradbury Building, through Maguire Gardens eventually finishing up at Angels flight. The best part of this walk was to just admire the city, the long roads that seem to go on for miles were so aesthetically pleasing, the buildings too were a mixture of modern and classic. Big tall skyscrapers juxtaposed by brickwork apartment blocks made for a gorgeous surrounding to soak in the LA atmosphere and as it was getting to afternoon the temperature became just right to wonder the streets.
Late afternoon we were taken to the Grammy Museum, the hub of music, demonstrating all the winners of Grammy’s since the awards birth along side mini exhibitions of several genres and their progressions. The thing I was most excited for was the floor dedicated to Frank Sinatra (This changes frequently throughout the year, so don’t be put off if you’re not a fan). Being a lover of Sinatra it was astounding to see all his artwork, clothing and records all in one place so close to me, Gene Kelly’s and Dean Martin also made an appearance to the floor which just built on the starstruck feeling. Not only this, but Michael Jackson, The Supremes, Taylor Swift, Jimmy Hendrix and Daft Punk all have donated costumes and original lyric sheets to the museum and are dotted about the three floors available. It was just incredible to see all of these music legends items several inches from my face (Admittedly behind glass) and I became overwhelmed with it all, staring in awe at all this musical memorabilia.
After losing hours in the Grammy Museum it became apparent that I should stray into LA Live that’s right next door. Home to the Staples Center containing various sports teams venues which was all closed unfortunately, but outside it presented a handful of statues of famous players including Wayne Gretzky andMagic Johnson. To sit in the middle of LA Live, with a cool breeze rolling through, eating pizza and talking to close friends was one of the sweetest feelings. It was so relaxing for everyone involved, to just be in a different city so far from home is enough to please me, but being surrounded by close friends amplified the good feeling produced from the nice environment. At night this place is lit up like a christmas tree, it’s massive LCD screens blinding anyone who dared look up, but it was beautiful sight to behold.
The evening rounded off a good day, being overwhelmed by beauty and a warm climate for a change (February in England isn’t the nicest of times) meant that the start to the trip had set a high standard, and the hope was that it would just keep getting better.