Today we discovered Hollywood and Beverley Hills.

BH signFor some reason the Residents of Beverley Hills are very proud that their sign is copyrighted

We had our hop on/hop off bus tickets but the stop was about 3kms (1.5mi) away. A bit too far to walk and we discovered that the Metro bus went in the other direction. Fortunately the hotel had a Courtesy Car which would take guests up to a 4.5km (3mi) radius of the hotel. Great for today but we would have to get a taxi to the airport tomorrow!

The bus took us through Bel Air, Hollywood and Beverley Hills. Our first stop was at the Beverley Centre, an enormous Mall in Beverley Hills, the main shop of which was Maceys. To reach any other part of the Mall one had to go via Maceys at the back of which were the lifts to the other floors and shops. We went up a couple of floors and on one of them we discovered the Ferrari Shop. In one corner was one of Michael Schumacher’s race cars but we couldn’t even touch it let alone sit in it. Just a photograph. There were lots of lovely things to look at but at very unlovely prices. I would have loved to buy Trevor a Ferrari cap to replace his Royal Caribbean but at $75 (R1100) my head had to rule my heart.

Inside Ferrari shopInside the Ferrari Shop

Schumachers FerrariOne of Schumacher’s race cars

We continued down Sunset Boulevard admiring the gorgeous homes and shops, including passing the block of apartments in which both Oprah Winfrey and Judge Judy Scheindlin reside. We passed the Capitol Records Building which is built to look like a layer of vinyl records.

Capital RecordsCapitol Records Building

On the tour is the Wilshire Boulevard in the area known as Miracle Mile which includes the Museum Row. There are dozens of museums in this area – art, music and even the Petersen’s Auto Museum. We got off at the stop where the music and car museums are located. We admired the car museum building which is truly striking and different but didn’t go in as we have been to a few of these.

Car MuseumExterior of the Petersen Auto Museum

We went to what should have been the music museum only to find it that it was being refurbished. As some of twe walked away a security guard (they always have the information) told us that the instruments were still on display in a specially set up area at the rear of the building. We had to walk down a long ramp and were absolutely amazed at the rows of guitars from their very beginning. There were also dozens of sets of drums and other band instruments. What a treat.s

Guitar shop 2One of the many rows of guitars

We made our next stop at a lovely, fairly new Mall with viewing balconies giving beautiful views of the Mountains ‘behind’ Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood sign. This sign was first lit up in 1923 was left for years and gradually deteriorated. When it was to be removed in the 1970s, Hollywood, the movie place, had developed to such a degree that it was agreed to restore it but just as Hollywood.

Decorative walls 2A section of the walls of the Mall

View from balconyView of the mountains with the Hollywood sign in the distance

Back on the bus to the Hollywood Stars Walk of Fame. As so often happens with a local population they walk past and over something like this. It is just there, every day. For tourists like ourselves it was fun and fascinating. It was much longer than we expected and it would be impossible to read every one of them. The flowers and tributes to Aretha Franklin were still there and being added to all the time.

Hollywood StarsHollywood Stars Walk of Fame

Nearby was the Plantages Theatre which was designed as in the 1940s and the ceiling was just beautiful.

Hollywood Pantages Theatre ceilingCeiling of the Plantages Theatre

Having seen what we could of Hollywood we took the bus to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and this was the highlight of the day for us. We had never heard of it but learnt so much from our visit. We discovered that it was located on Museum Row as well but on the other side from the other museums. There were lots of sculptures of elephants, mountain lions and a bear, all animals which had lived in the area thousands of years ago before man destroyed them. Archeologists have found thousands of bones of these animals. Tar Pits are formed when crude oil seeps to the surface. They were worked for a long time first for thousands of years by local native Americans, as a glue and as waterproof caulking for baskets and canoes. After the arrival of Westerners, the tar from these pits was mined and used for roofing by the inhabitants of the nearby town of Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Angeles. Although there are still some pits seeping and bubbling at the surface they are closed.

Tar PitsEntrance to the park

Elephant stepping into tar pitSculpture of elephant stepping into a pit

Lion statue 2Statue of Mountain Lions

At the far end of the Park in which the Pits and Museum are located is another museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the Art of Americas Building. It houses art forms all across the Americas. At the point where we entered the building was a cafeteria on one side and an upper floor entrance to the building. We wandered around quite freely admiring the sculptures in this section and went to continue upstairs. There were no signs about entry fees or even where to go to the main entrance. Suddenly, a security guard approached us and told us in no uncertain terms that we were not to go that way as we didn’t have tickets!

Art of the Americas outside sculptureA sculpture in the cafeteria section of the America Arts Building

Art of the Americas inside hanging sculpture 2A hanging sculpture in the lobby of the Museum (taken from above)

As we left the building we discovered a path lined with sculptures by Rodin, including The Thinker. What a great surprise that was.

Rodin sculpturesPath with Rodin Sculptures

We decided not to take the hop on/hop off bus back to our original stop and then call for the Courtesy Car as a kind local lady told us which bus to catch into town and then take the Metro bus back to the hotel. As it was quite late we went with this option.

John wayne 2Statue of John Wayne. The sculptor wanted it yellow but it was not permitted