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The end of the road

California day fifteen

View California 1991 on ToonSarah's travel map.

Departure day

Our last morning, and as on the day before we had breakfast in our room. Because we were planning to drive into the central downtown area we listened to the radio to hear the traffic news broadcasts. Thus we learned that the water we could see on the path outside was, implausible as it had seemed in LA, rain – there had been just a few drops in the night, the first for several months, but not enough to help end their drought nor to spoil our last day. We also learned that we had possibly slept through an earthquake, which we were sorry to have missed, although there seemed some debate as to its authenticity.

Downtown LA

LA skyscrapers

We checked out and headed for the freeways, which were busy but kept moving (just) by a system of traffic lights at all the slip roads, which cleverly gave priority to cars with more than one occupant. We reached the city centre in one piece and found the multi-storey car-park, from which we were to start our ‘self-guided tour’, without much difficulty.

Exploring Downtown LA

Emerging on to the roof of the car-park, we found ourselves in the centre of a relatively small area of assorted skyscrapers, the most striking of which was the Westin Bonaventure Hotel (used in the film set of ‘Blade Runner’ and looking suitably 21st century).

2017 comment: this was, of course, still the 20th century!

Compared to New York however, the skyline was tame, and the early morning gloom added nothing to the scene, so after just a few photos we set off on our walk.

Our route took us past the City Hall area and acres of car parks, each with several men outside attempting to flag down passers-by and entice them into their ‘lot’. We arrived in Little Tokyo which apart from a pretty rooftop Japanese garden (with good views back to the financial district) was disappointingly lacking in character.

So after a quick cup of coffee (in a Japanese restaurant) we walked back towards City Hall and turned north instead.

El Pueblo do Los Angeles

Scan of leaflet

Postcard scan

This took us to the oldest part of the city – El Pueblo do Los Angeles and Olvera Street. This is the site of the first, Spanish, settlement of the area, with many restored buildings, and, in Olvera Street itself, a reconstruction of a Mexican market place. It was very touristy but much more lively than Little Tokyo, and made an interesting contrast to the rest of the city centre.

We bought a few postcards, visited one of the old Spanish-style houses (the Avila Adobe, complete with period furnishings), and had lunch in a Mexican restaurant, El Paseo Inn (good food, shame about the musicians!)

Financial District

After lunch we crossed the road to see the famous Union Street Station before catching the DASH shuttle (only 25 cents) back to the Financial District. By this time the sun had come out, so we were able to take some better photos of the skyscrapers. We also went into the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, whose interior proved equally futuristic, and took the lift (up the outside of the building) for a great view from the top floor.


Downtown views

In the Westin Bonaventure Hotel

Going up in the Westin Bonaventure lift

Eventually, however, it was time to return to the car and make our somewhat reluctant way to the Alamo office near the airport (after a nasty shock at the charge made for the car-park!) Our last short drive on the freeways passed uneventfully, and we arrived at Alamo in good time. We bid a fond farewell to our faithful car, no longer quite as white as when we saw it two weeks before, and changed into clothes more suited for the English climate, before catching the courtesy bus to the airport on the first stage of our long journey home.

One thing was very certain – we would be back!

Our plane at LAX

Total miles for day: 29
Total miles for fortnight: 2049

Posted by ToonSarah 03:36 Tagged buildings architecture road_trip history california city

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quite an adventure and up to more to come!

by Ils1976

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