Los Angeles Day 2 – Hollywood sign / Griffith Observatory

Up and showered, comfy shoes on and camel back filled with water we headed out to meet some of the remaining members of the group for 10am. Today as plan… hike to the Hollywood sign.

The houses we passed on the way to Sunset ranch were incredible, the type you’d see on an episode of the The OC or The Hills. LA really is the town of the rich and famous.

As we approached Sunset Ranch the Hollywood sign started to appear in the distance at the top of the street. What a great view to have on your street I thought to myself.

Sunset Ranch – Hollywood Hike

Once we’d all arrived we started our hike. Now for those of you planning on doing this please bear in mind

  1. It HOT it was around 40 degrees when we did therefore it’s essential you have water to hydrate yourselves, comfy shoes and if possible dri-fit/light clothes as you will work up a sweat.
  2. You can do this hike on fit or by a horse ride. We opted for the on foot hike which if you’re planning on doing the same take the Path which breaks off to your right. Heading straight up the bank will take you to the horse stables.

The hike up to the Hollywood provided some great views of both LA and the Hollywood sign. The dirt/gravel path is all marked with signposts and distances making it impossible to get lost. The hike it total up to view the sign took us around 20/30 mins.

And one for jokes…

Cool Guy…

Once reaching the summit we decided to follow a hand written sign that read ‘cold drinks – this way’ .

The path led us to a house where a man sat in his open air garage displaying drinks on his cool box. “Come on in, you guys need a drink” he asked in a friendly tone.

We entered, purchased some drinks and spent some time sitting and chatting to ‘Guy' about how long he’d lived here, life in LA and the famous Holywood sign.

We learnt how he’d lived here all his life and how the sign was originally to promote the neighbourhood reading ‘Holywood Land’ residents then later decided to drop the ‘Land’.

When the sign started to look shoddy (letters falling apart and twisted) a group of local residents got together to repair the sign out of their own pockets after receiving no support from the government.

It wasn’t until much later the government took back control of the sign and turned it into a tourist attraction.

Guy himself had an air of an old hippy himself, very friendly, open and liberal in his views he seemed disgruntled at how the state was and is being run.

Hike to Griffith Observatory

From here we decided to rejoin the dirt path to follow signs for the Griffith Observatory. This would be a 3 mile hike passed our original starting destination (much longer than our original ascent) we completed this in around 45mins – 1 hour stopping off for water and shade from the blazing sun a number of times.

The observatory itself resembled a parliamentary type building similar to the White House. It stood proud at the top of a hill which offered panoramic views of Los Angeles below.

The observatory was dedicated to science, particularly planets and astrology with many exhibits explaining scientific laws such a gravity, how the earths rotation causes seasons and the elements within the periodic table. What’s more, entry is free of charge making it a great cheap day out for families.

It also paid tributes to various scientific pioneers over past years such as Newton and Gallileo. These pioneers stood proud on a pillar outside the observatory.

Farmers Market

Time to fill out bellies, from here we decided to head to the farmers market via another Lyft ride to get some lunch.

The farmers market was an open area / yet shaded canteen style approach with food offerings from all areas of the world. Asian, American, Mexican and more… I opted for the Chicken Terijaki with noodles, rice and a bottle of green tea for $10.

After taking in lunch it was time to grab a Lyft back to our hostel.

That evening

Arriving back at our hostel we packed our backpacks and rucksacks for the following day knowing we needed to check out for 10am before grabbing a shower.

We got ready to meet the rest of the group at Hollywood Boulevard. Whilst waiting for the others to arrive I took in the views form the street. This was a beautiful strip even at night you could tell this was an affluent/highlife neighbourhood.

Peering into the window of quite possibly the trendiest estate agents I’ve ever seen in my life I gazed at the house prices which ranged from $2.4 to $7.6 million with the average around the $4 million mark… If I won the lottery I would really consider living out here I thought to myself.

As the rest of the group arrived we collectively decided to eat at an American Diner. Therefore we picked Mels Diner from off the street and headed in to eat.

As we were in a group of 10 we headed for the booth at the back where we could all sit together. It was cold in here, really cold. We’d all dressed for the LA heat and most of us sat there with goosebumps.

We asked the waitress politely if she would mind turning the AC down she looked at us, laughed and said she would need to check with the manager (her tone throughout our time there very short).

We proceeded with our orders where she grew increasingly frustrated as some members swapped their orders and others deliberated on what to have.

Being a Mexican food fan I selected the Huevous Rancheros accompanied by a Milkshake. My food was extremely bland due to a lack of sauces and flavouring, the verdict from the rest of the group decidedly mixed.

One thing however we all did agree on… The milkshakes were fantastic! Absolutely delicious.

After leaving the restaurant we had a few low key drinks before heading home. Some of the group we’re off to Universal Sudios tomorrow whilst me and Ian would be leaving for New York.