Back to California: we left our heroes somewhere along Malibu, right before they made it to Los Angeles! I wasn't exactly sure what to expect from Los Angeles, to be honest. Every time I heard someone talk about that city, I received very different comments, ranging from "It's awesome, you've got to go and see these Hollywood things, it's so cool" to "It's awful, such a terrible urban sprawl, I hated it". So I decided to try and keep a neutral mind about it and just go with the flow.
I also have to stress at this point that after a quick consultation ("You're interested in seeing that Hollywood shit?" "Nope. You?" "Neither.") and unanimously reaching consensus among the two of us, we took the decision to skip the Hollywood-touristy part and focus on the Downtown-historical part. We had hardly more than one day to spend in Los Angeles so a choice had to be made...
So I have no idea what the rest of the city looks like but I was very pleasantly surprised by Downtown LA, which I found much more diverse, interesting and lively than I would have expected. It is quite an intriguing neighbourhood, full of contrasts. Just walk through El Pueblo, a testimony of the city's Spanish origins, or Chinatown; admire early 20th-century architecture or skyscrapers in the financial district, and you'll get what I mean. Some parts of Downtown look a bit dodgy but walk two streets and you'll come across a really nice square with beautiful buildings. The Walt Disney Concert Hall is quite a spectacular building, while the Bradbury building remains one of LA's architectural landmarks. And this is how we made our own Hollywood tour: the Bradbury building is where some scenes of "Blade Runner" were shot (among other films). And by the end of the first day we spent in LA, we took a ride up and down Mulholland Drive to see the sun set over the city. And my, you do have impressive views over the city from Mulholland Drive (photos to be seen in my next article)!
On the second day, reduced to one morning, we took another walk in Downtown and spent some time in one of the coolest bookshops I had ever seen: The Last Bookstore. Honestly, I think we could have spent the whole afternoon in there!
To sum up, I had a really good impression of LA, even though I'm aware I only saw a very small part of the city. I'm also aware that I would be scared to death to drive there, which would make my survival a bit tricky! Of course, I also forgot to mention that it was early January and that we were walking outside in short sleeves and sunglasses... Doesn't ruin anything! Hope these few photos -and the ones to be published soon- match my description and show the enthusiastic new eye I had on the "city of angels".