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Published: September 20th 2016
We finally got out of San Francisco and started our journey towards LA. We had left it quite late to leave San Fran, so it was getting dark and we missed most of the views of the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway. Then it started to rain. We were a little disappointed, but carried on anyhow, taking a stop in Monterrey for a bite to eat. We had hoped to have a stroll around the town but the weather was so bad we just ran from the car to the diner and back again! We stuffed ourselves with burgers and of course mac and cheese. Back in the car, we continued to drive until we got to our motel in Pasa Robles. We were hoping to get out for a drink, but driving in, we noticed it was quite a sleepy town... so we decided to get an early night.
The next morning we got up to beautiful sunny weather, and had a full pancake breakfast in the motel restaurant. It was really lovely. Up in the sky we could see so many vultures circling around. We took a walk around the town, which didn't take very long, so
We took a stroll around the gardens of the motel
we got into the car and continued on our journey. We stopped off Lompoc for a pit stop, and paid a visit to the local "museum" which was basically a hall filled with loads of stuff. It was actually quite interesting, and told us a lot about the history of the place. We got to Santa Barbara and checked into our motel "The Inn by the Harbour". It was really beautiful, and when we arrived they had complimentary wine and cheese for the guests in the lobby. We headed up to the room and were greeted with a lovely bottle of champagne and a note of congratulations. We could really get used to this! We chilled out for a while, sipping champagne, then got ready to head out for some grub. We walked down towards the harbour and stopped off in a fish n chip restaurant called Brophy Brothers. It was amazing. We ate all we could and had some wine and beer before taking a stroll around the harbour. We walked into the town and found a bar to have a couple of drinks before heading back to the motel.
The next morning, we took another walk up
to the town to have a look around. We found our way to one of the many wine tasting rooms, Lafond Winery. We've only done wine tasting a couple of times before, and we were still none the wiser about what wine was supposed to taste like, but we went for the tasting menu anyhow. We both had 6 generous helpings of different kinds of wine, picked our favourite, and bought a bottle for our friends Deborah and Robert, who we were planning on visiting in LA. We bought a few nice things in the gift shop (after a few scoops everything seems great). We toddled out of the tasting room and decided a good meal and a walk would be good before either of us attempted to drive. We stopped by an Indian restaurant and had some lunch before packing up the car and hitting the road to LA.
We arrived at the Sportsman's Inn in Studio City around 6pm. Deborah had advised us to leave Santa Barbara no later than 3pm because the traffic in LA is pretty bad, especially at rush hour. Luckily we took her advice! We got checked in and sorted, and hopped back
in the car to go visit Deborah, Robert, Tara and Sean. We found their house easily enough, thank goodness for sat nav! When we got there, Deborah had spaghetti bolognese ready for us, we milled into it. Tara and Sean gave us lovely performances on the piano and guitar. We spent the rest of the evening catching up and talking about old times, and before we knew it, it was midnight. We said our goodbyes, hit the road and headed straight to bed. We had a busy day the following day, as we were to get a shuttle bus at 10am the next morning to go to Universal Studios.
The next morning we got a hefty breakfast in the hotel before heading off to Universal Studios on the shuttle bus. We joined the queue, got our tickets and headed inside. The park was pretty quiet as we had gotten there pretty early. First thing we noticed was they are planning on opening a Harry Potter park in 2016. Just in the gate was one of the Ford Anglia's used in the movies. We decided to go on the studio tour first, after passing through Springfield. We couldn't resist going
on the Simpson's ride, even though we had already been on in in Universal Orlando in 2010. The Springfield here in Hollywood was much better than Orlando. We even had a pint of Duff!
We queued for the Studio Tour for about an hour, but it was worth it. The tour took us all around the movie lots, where they have loads of sets built. I remembered some of it from when I was there in 2000, but a lot of it has changed. We had 3D glasses, and the train took us into different warehouses; one was a Fast and Furious 3D movie and one was King Kong. There was a 3D screen all around the train and you felt like you were in the movie. In King Kong, the big T-Rex picked up our train and tried to eat it. We saw a New York City set where they were filming a Michael Bublé video, but we did see the man himself. We also saw a town which floods instantly and then un-floods. They used it in Big Fat Liar. We saw Wisteria Lane, Bate's Motel, Jurassic Park, Skull Island, Amity Beach and the plane crash from
War of the Worlds. We came back through Springfield and went on the Mummy rollercoaster. It was pitch black and full of scary drops, but brilliant. We really wanted to go on it again but we were worried we wouldn't see everything, so we set off again. We went on the Jurassic Park ride, and the Transformers ride (which was 3D). Afterwards we headed back down to the front gate to the Waterworld show, which was full of great stunts and lots of fire.
The park was closing, so we headed out to City Walk, which was full of bright lights, music, street entertainment and lots of fun. We grabbed a couple of beers first before getting dinner in Bubba Gumps (had to be done). We were running out of memorabilia to buy so we bought an apron and oven glove. They really need to get new merchandise! We had a couple of drinks after dinner and got a taxi home. We couldn't believe that the next day was our last day!
The next morning we work early and checked out. We were googling sports bars as Dave wanted to see the Ireland match, so we found one
and drove out to it. It was the dodgiest looking bar! We parked the car and headed in, and Dave had to ask the girl to put the match on. She put it on one of the screens in a booth, so we had our own screen. We had a couple of pints watching the match and then headed down to Hollywood Boulevard to see the sights before heading to the airport. We took a stroll along the Hollywood walk of fame and saw the Roosevelt Hotel, where I stayed 15 years ago. The Boulevard looked so much better than it did when I was there before, it was much more built up and not as tacky. We went to the Chinese Theatre and got a short tour. We saw Marilyn Monroe's dress from the Gentlemen Prefer Blondes premiere, Arnie's outfit from Terminator and Judy Garland's dress from the Wizard of Oz. We went into the actual theatre, and it was huge. The screen is one of the biggest in the world, and is IMAX. The place was beautifully decorated. We rushed out before the tour finished, as we needed to get on the road to get to LAX.
We drove up Sunset Boulevard on our way to the aiport, dropped the car and went to catch our flight to London. The flight was really pleasant, we watched movies and chilled out. When we landed in London, we got news of the terrible attacks in Paris. We couldn't believe it. It was a relief to get home.
We had such a great honeymoon, it couldn't have gone better. Although we were glad to get home and back to normality, we could have done with another few weeks away!
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