Leaving my friend’s apartment in Melbourne during the dead of night to continue my journey truly alone felt like a huge step. This would be the first time I have travelled somewhere new alone and instead of being terrified and nervous as I thought I was going to be, I felt empowered and excited for what the future would bring!
However I did have a long and tiresome journey ahead of me so I had to suppress my excitement, for now at least! After a short layover in Brisbane, just to prolong the heartache of saying goodbye to this country I have come to love so much, I had a long-haul flight to LA. I touched down in LA at 5:50am on the 6th January, which was pretty extraordinary given that I left Melbourne at 6am on the 6th January! Just call me The Doctor!!
I did try to pre-empt the jet-lag and overcome it by setting myself up for LA time at least a day before. So when I finally arrived I felt refreshed and ready for a day of exploring! Luckily enough as I had an 18 hour layover before my next 2 flights!
I did initially plan to do a fleeting tour of the city solo by catching the Flyaway shuttle to Hollywood and then doing to hop-on hop-off tour bus. However upon arrival LA was cold, wet and windy; not at all what I had envisioned. I really didn’t fancy a full day of wandering around not knowing where to go with the all real possibility of jet-lag hitting me full in the face at some point! Therefore I decided to do an organized shuttle tour by hopping on the Hilton LAX hotel shuttle and booking through the concierge. They even held my bags for my while I went on the tour which made it a lot easier!
I’m sure I didn’t see half of what LA has to offer but it would have been a real shame to see nothing at all! The tour did whistle-stops at various places such as Venice (Muscle) Beach, Hollywood Bvd for the famous Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame and also the Farmers Market where we stopped for lunch. We also drove through part of Beverley Hills and up to Universal Studios. I decided at that point that I couldn’t drive past Universal without going in as this is the only one in the world I hadn’t yet visited, plus I had quite a few hours left before my flight and I really didn’t want to spend any longer than necessary in the airport!
Due to the rain of course Universal was pretty quiet which was great for me as I managed to get round all of the rides and attractions quickly and even fit in a few repeat rides especially on The Mummy and Simpsons rides. I was initially a little disappointed with what Universal Hollywood had to offer; as I said before I have visited all of the other ones internationally and I thought this one was lacking in both rides and attractions. That was until I went on the studio tour towards the end of the day and realised that this is the main attraction as it’s what sets it apart from the other parks. To see parts of real working studios and full sets was pretty incredible. I felt transported on the studio tour to a little suburban street named Wisteria Lane, I half expected at any moment to see Brie or Gabriella stride out of their houses. Even though I had never been there before it was nice to feel that little bit of nostalgia and familiarity of a place that you recognize.
That’s what a lot of people come to Hollywood for I guess, simply to see the places that we have only previously seen on television or in magazines. The recognizable Chinese Theatre where so many movies have premiered and the Kodak Theatre that we recognize from the Golden Globes. It certainly felt a little surreal walking down Hollywood Boulevard on the Walk of Fame and seeing the hand and footprints of so many screen legends knowing that at some point they were here too.