Today was our ‘beach day’ in LA, and we went to explore the famous Santa Monica and Venice beaches. We set off at midday again and it only took around half an hour to get to Santa Monica. The weather was very overcast so we decided to explore the shopping area first. We parked at the brand new high-end mall at the bottom of 3rd street, which was home to lots of designer shops. Unable to afford anything, we quickly moved on to the main high street and had a walk around. It was really nicely done and there were street performers which reminded us a bit of Covent Garden.
We had a look around at the local cafes for lunch but decided to settle on Panera since we know it so well. By the time we had finished the weather still hadn’t picked so we decided to leave Santa Monica pier until a day when the sun is shining. Instead we drove straight to the district of Venice. Its about 2 miles down the coast from Santa Monica and is known for its quirky ocean-front street of shops and stalls. At first we couldn’t find the way to the beach front (sounds ridiculous I know), so we drove around the town. The area is called Venice because there are a number of canals modelled on those of Venice, Italy. Each is crossed by a number of bridges and as we drove around we saw lots of nice houses right on the canals.
After texting Lindsey for advice on where to park, we eventually ended up in one of the rather handy carparks right on the beach. We had a walk up the promenade and it reminded us a lot of Camden Town. The whole area was quite quiet because it was a weekday and overcast, but we still saw some street performers and a few psychic readers. Probably the main thing which stood out were the stalls selling ‘medicinal marijuana’. Apparently in California you can get it prescribed for something as simple as a headache. As a result anyone can go to one of the backstreet doctors for a certificate and then buy it on the beachfront.
We then took a long walk along the beach where we saw people fishing in the ocean and surfing on the big waves. After the walk we decided to head back, but because of rush hour we took the scenic route through Topanga Canyon instead of battling through traffic on the freeways. It was a nice route to take since it was interesting to see mountain scenery right next to a large city! This evening we all went out for a great Mexican meal, where we both enjoyed delicious chicken/steak fajitas.
Photo of the day: an interesting hedge dinosaur on 3rd Street