When I woke up this morning, I didn’t know this day would be so exciting. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in Central Perk, the coffee place from friends. But let’s start at the beginning of the day.
I wake up around six o’clock when one of the guys goes outside for surfing. I grab my laptop and update my blog. Then I take a shower and drink a cup of coffee. The nice thing about being on a road trip is that you appreciate simple things like a shower much more. When I’ve packed my bag and said goodbye to me friends, I start driving downtown via highway 1. While this is beautiful road outside the city, inside L.A. it’s a challenging drive. I think I cross about a hundred traffic lights this morning.
Last night at the party I met a guy who used to work at the Warner Brothers studios and he knows someone who can give me a discount on the tour. I call him in the morning and we plan to meet at 10.30 at the entrance. I planned to drive to Hollywood in 2,5 hours. That’s an hour longer as the Google Maps says it is, so I think I have enough time, but it’s very busy here on the roads, even on Saturday morning. In the end I have to rush trough Los Angeles to get there. About twenty minutes late I arrive at the studios and there is a friendly guy waiting patiently for me. His name is Steve and he’s a friend of a friend of mine. That’s usually how these things go. I thank him a few times for waiting on me and then he helps me get a ticket for the tour with discount. I say goodbye to him again and start the tour. It begins with a movie and then we take golf carts over the enormous terrain of Warner Brothers studios. To give you an idea how big it is: it’s about the size of a small town and on a busy day there can be over 10.000 people around here. We drive via several filming places of famous movies like Batman and series like Friends, Gilmore Girls and The Big Bang theory. We also go inside to see actual film sets, but are not allowed to take pictures there, because those sets are still used for tv shows. It’s very interesting to see all.
The best is saved to the end. When we arrive at the end of the tour, there is Central Perk, the coffee place of Friends. They actually saved the original film set and it’s exactly as in the series. I am so excited and happy to finally be here. I’ve watched the whole series several times and am actually watching it again these days. At the film set I’m invited to be part of the filming of one scene and I can play my favorite character, Joey Tribbiani. After filming it, I hang around a bit longer and just enjoy being here. I sit at the couch and at the bar, order another cappuccino and write down this experience. The purpose of this journey is to visit many of the National Parks and to see America’s beautiful nature, but this visit to the film studios is also absolutely one of the highlights of this journey.
In the afternoon I drive to Hollywood Boulevard to see the walk of fame, the street with the stars of many famous actors and actresses, filmmakers and musicians. One of the first stars I see is of my sport hero Dwayne Johnson. It’s really cool to see so many familiar names here on the sidewalk. After walking around here for a while I drive uphill to Griffith Observatory which gives a nice view of the Hollywood sign and the skyline of Los Angeles. I wonder if I can get closer to the sign and continue driving through the hills of Hollywood.
With the map I find the closest place to the sign and a hiking path to get even closer. The hike is quite intense with this weather, but totally worth it. In a little less than an hour I’m standing behind the Hollywood letters. It’s so cool to see them from the other side with Los Angeles in the background. On the other side of the mountain I see Warner Brothers studios where I was this morning. This is a fantastic day. It was first my plan to continue driving North tonight, but now I like to stay in LA for another day. I’m not sure yet where I’ll stay tonight, maybe in a parking garage or something like that.
While driving back to the touristic area I think about how sleeping in a parking garage here might not be so healthy, so I search for a better place. Finding a good and safe place to park your car for the night in Los Angeles is very challenging. I end up driving back to the ocean, because I remember that there were campsites along the beach. I can’t find any tonight and drive out of the city. I drive much further than planned and have already passed by Malibu when something tells me to go back to the city. I don’t know why, but I’ve learned in the past that it’s always good to follow your heart, so I don’t give it much thought and turn around my car to go back to Los Angeles. I feel peace instantly even though I’m still facing the same challenge of finding a parking place. After about an hour I’m back in the city continue searching for a good place to stay for the night. Then I remember the street where I parked for the hike earlier this evening and so I drive back to North Hollywood. Already after midnight I arrive there and am happy to find that one car is just leaving as I enter the street, giving me a parking spot. Exactly the same place as where I was this afternoon. I’m tired of driving through Los Angeles for hours now and happily park my car. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do tomorrow, but I’m glad to have another day in the city and think I’ll do some more sightseeing tomorrow.