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Published: December 22nd 2017
Today started bloody hot, the not-so-perfect weather for a hike. The beach shuttle was cancelled, meaning the tour was huge, 25 or so of us. A bus took us sort of up a hill, though could've gone further to please my lazy ass. We were told to buy some snacks for the journey, so one old Asian guy comes out with a 1L tub of ice-cream… I don't think that's quite what he meant, but anyway. I'd heard the hikes were pretty intense so I was reassured by the amount of solidly built
people on the tour. It was pretty amazing how close houses were to the sign though. We were walking up - a very steep - pedestrian street with the Hollywood sign right above us, almost touching distance. Traditionally there are four hikes to the sign that people do, but ours wasn’t any of them, meaning that there was almost no one around. After getting to a gravel trail we noticed the LAPD helicopter literally doing circles above us and the entire sign - you’d think they’d have something better to do with their time and money but apparently not! This supposedly stops graffiti and trespassing... just not people
turning the sign into ‘Hollyweed’. A million photos and selfies later the game
ones of us headed up a tiny, steep dirt path up a hill, past the “no trespassing sign”. Going up, totally fine, coming down was on my ass sliding so that I didn’t fall from standing level and make a total dick of myself. But the view was worth it; probably. Our last stop offered views of both the city and the Hollywood sign.
From there we (Dutch, English, American, German & Kosovian) took the “one hour” (hahaha) walk to the Griffith Observatory. Here you could really see the canyon (maybe not, idk) and all of the untouched mountains as they blended into the city and as the path wrapped around the mountains the view was ever changing. When Googling things last night I worked out that it was 17 miles from one to the other, so 8.8km, so spent the time trying to convert that into the amount the signs indicated that we had to go. Probably should’ve just checked how many meters is in a mile, but I’m not that smart (clearly). 45 minutes in we still had over 3km to go (if my
calculations were correct) so I don’t know if American’s have a different definition of “hour” to us but our guide completely led us astray. 2 hours later we were finally approaching the Observatory when a group of African Americans asked Koen if he could take their photo. The next thing we hear is Koen saying “sorry, you look a bit black because the suns in the background” - we didn’t wait any longer after that!!!
The Observatory (with free toilets - yay America!!!) is a really cool white building with white domes where the telescopes pop out and sits on the edge of the hill overlooking all of Los Angeles on a good day. The roof features a massive viewing deck that even still was completely overrun with tourists (weird considering that the trail was us and a few local joggers). Oh, and I forgot to mention, 3/4 of the way through the trail it suddenly drops down 1m onto a busy tollway, no warnings, no paths, nothing, then begins again as if nothing ever happened. Inside was a planetarium minus the actual planetarium, a museum I guess which was very interactive, very crowded, fairly damaged and although my
knowledge of space is very limited I learnt nothing new. We did get there in time for a demonstration of the Tesla coil which was amazing seeing how it can so suddenly just shoot electricity from it. Apparently, Tesla invented it with the intention of giving free electricity to people, though Commercialism obviously wasn’t a big fan of this, so it never took off (another factor is that it’s pretty loud, though I'm sure a bit of tweaking could fix this no worries).
Outside, down some stairs and through a disgusting smelling cafe was another part of the Observatory focusing on planets, with model planets in their correct sizes (to scale) AND THE BEST BIT?! THEY INCLUDED PLUTO. Under each planet was an information section and then some scales so you could see how much you weigh on each planet, cool but knowing that I weigh however many pounds on Mars means nothing to me. Bloody imperial system. Earth was in its own room and featured a Seismograph There was a section where you could see recent tremors/quakes in America, California and in the room (jump hard enough and it makes a tremor).
We finished the day by
viewing the sunset in the absolute freezing cold and it didn’t help that I didn’t bring a jacket, making it the most miserable sunset of my life. It was also super cloudy and foggy but with imagination you could see how amazing it would be on a clear day since the colours were so vivid in the little sections that we got to see.
Dinner was at Sharkey’s a Mexican joint for a chicken burrito, just us and about 50 cops. The hostel was having free drinks in the lounge so we all joined in there for some sangria then headed out to see Hollywood Boulevard at night, ending up at another Mexican joint with the biggest Margarita I’ve ever seen (shared between the three of us of course).
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