None of us had a great sleep, but we all had enough to be ready for another day of LA adventures. Karen and Peter’s son is a pretty serious gymnast and Karen was out of town at a gym meet with him. Peter had very kindly offered to be our tour guide for the day, and picked us up from the hotel in the van with bikes loaded on the back. I haven’t seen Peter for a long time, so it was really great to catch up with him.

First stop was Santa Monica Pier. It’s such an iconic American place with its roller coaster and Ferris wheel. The amusement park was closed for a private birthday party, so we just had a wander around. It reminded me of Brighton Pier meets Pier 39, although the big difference to Pier 39 was we saw one seal not hundreds, so it didn’t stink!

Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Beach

We biked south along the beach boardwalk to Venice Beach. There are interesting people all over LA, but there are way more of them at Venice and Muscle beaches. There are also smells we are not used to smelling at home! It was a fabulous place for people watching and very entertaining. There’s all sorts of sports going on and some pretty impressive skateboarding.

Biking the Boardwalk
Painting in Progress

Peter picked us up from Venice Beach and then it was time for lunch. We all had particular things we wanted to see in LA, and Matt had requested a visit to K-Town for a Korean BBQ lunch. Peter travels to Asia for work regularly, so he knows what authentic Asian food tastes like. He took us to his favourite Korean BBQ restaurant, with the mesquite coal BBQ in the middle of the table. It was absolutely delicious and such a welcome break from fried American food. Anna had fun cutting the meat into tiny pieces with scissors which meant she could eat something other than chicken!

Next stop was downtown LA. We had a wander through Grand Central Markets (amazing food but we were too full of BBQ) then checked out some of the architecture and an amazing bookstore. The last downtown stop was a flying visit to Olivera Street, a historic Spanish Street where the original Spanish settlers lived. Peter had an amazing ability to drop us off somewhere and then find us again, even in the madness of LA traffic.

Grand Central Markets
Book Tunnel in The Last Bookstore
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Bradbury Building
Olivera Street

Our last, and very unexpected tourist stop for the day was Universal Studios City Walk. It’s the dining and entertainment area adjoining Universal Studios. You get all the vibe of Universal without having to buy a ticket! It was fun for a wander and gave me the chance to introduce Anna to Cinnabons. Matt hates cinnamon so he had a Wetzel Pretzel instead.

Universal Studios City Walk

Peter and Karen live in Burbank, not too far from Universal Studios, and we went there for dinner. It’s always so good to visit normal homes when overseas, and it was really special to spend the evening with the family. Unfortunately we missed Tia (their oldest daughter) who was working a long day directing at Universal Studios, but it was great to see Amy, Rachael and David. We had the most delicious home cooked meal, real food tastes so good! It was lovely to see all the Christmas lights on the houses in their suburb. We are so grateful to Peter and Karen for their amazing hospitality and chauffeuring us all over LA. There is no way we could have seen so much of LA in such a short time without them.

A Delicious Home Cooked Meal
Karen called this “The House that Christmas Threw Up On”!

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