We came to the city of angels directly from Saint Louis, from another conference Liat was attending. We had an early morning flight, so we left the Los Angeles Airport around 10:30 AM with a rented car, driving towards Hollywood Forever cemetery. I always knew that my first site in Los Angeles will be the fresh grave of Chris Cornell, my most beloved musician. Cornell was a great vocalist and guitar player, known for his solo albums and as the leader of Soundgarden, Audioslave, and Temple of the Dog.
After finding Cornell's tombstone at the Garden of Legends, we visited the two mausoleums on-site. Then, we drove right to Jerome C. Daniel Overlook Above The Hollywood Bowl on Mulholland Drive, considered the best view of the Hollywood sign. The sign looks really small from there, but it sure gives a great view of the city:
We tried to drive to the Hollywood sign itself. Unfortunately, it was Sunday, and it looks like many people participated in some events in Griffith Park. Hence, the police blocked some roads, and there was no parking place nearby. So we had to give it up and hurried to our next stop: a guided tour in Warner Bros. Studios. My wife Liat is an avid fan of "Gilmore Girls," so jumping between the places where the show was filmed was a big thing for her. We heard some stories about how specific scenes were filmed. We saw the studio ("stage" as they call it in the film industry) where some current TV show is being recorded. We ended the day early and headed directly to rest in our hotel.
On the 2nd day, Liat had to go to her conference, and I decided to check the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust. It was pretty disappointing: it looks like the visitors can't see the wood because of the trees. Lots of information without a straightforward narrative. At the same time, I was amazed by the exhibition of newspaper headlines. You could actually see how a growing murder of Jews in Europe takes such small headlines in the United States.
I decided to go to the Museum of Natural History – a great place to visit. I've been there for two and a half hours, and if they weren't closing, I could have been here for more.
After the museum, I picked up Liat and two of her colleagues. We went to the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame to see the stars on the sidewalks, and the handprints and footprints of the biggest movie stars in front of the Chinese Theater.
I've started the 3rd day by visiting two museums just across the street from my hotel: the California African-American Museum and the Science Center. The first is a unique and essential museum. The second looks old-fashioned, although there are some fascinating exhibitions, and I saw many school students having a lot of fun there.
Although I'm not an art fan, I felt I must visit the Getty Museum because I heard some good things about it. Well, I'm glad I did it – it was a great experience to see this incredible place. I was amazed by the museum buildings more than the art itself, although it includes paintings of Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Bruegel, Gauguin, etc.
After getting back from the Getty, I picked up Liat, and we went to Venice Beach. Liat was very excited to be in a place where so many scenes were filmed. I do not understand much about the cinema. I enjoy a good movie, but I have no formal education in the field, and I really do not remember what was filmed and where. So, for me, it's a perfectly ordinary beach. In Israel, we got beautiful beaches as well. Maybe even prettier. But then, Liat showed me a video clip of the Red Hot Chili Peppers taken right here. Cool song.
We walked the boardwalk to Santa Monica Pier – approximately one hour walk. At the same time, dozens of locals and tourists made the same way by bicycle. Santa Monica Pier gets into the Ocean, making you feel like you are standing at the end of the world. Oh, it reminds me of "Preaching to the end of the world," a song by Chris Cornell:
We didn't have much time on the pier because we were in a hurry to have dinner with a local friend in a lovely restaurant in The Grove, overlooking the dancing fountain.
When I woke up on our last day in Los Angeles, I felt like I have a museums overdose. So, I looked for places where I can walk in the fresh air. I thought about exploring Griffith park, but I was afraid I don't have enough time for it– Liat was lecturing at noon. I wanted to hear her, and our flight back home was right after that. So, I decided to go to a botanical garden. I searched online and found an impressive one 30 minutes' drive from our hotel: Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. What a great choice. It was so relaxing and charming – a beautiful ending for those full days in the city of angels.
I know I explored only a fraction of this great city in my three and a half days here. So, I guess I'll have to come back sometime.