Hola gypsies! My most recent travels include visiting my brother in LA. He's been spending the summer there interning with the LA Dodgers, so given that I'll take any excuse to travel (and so should you), on to LA I went.
It was going to be a quick trip: Friday night - Monday afternoon, but I'll sleep when I'm dead right? I planned on packing in as much as physically possible into those 67 hours. We began the night with a quick stop at In-and-Out..... they so conveniently placed one right by LAX. Now there's a TON of hype around this west coast burger joint; is it drop dead outstanding? No. Is it a a damn good cheap burger and fries? Yes. Order the animal style- you can't go wrong.
With full bellies we made our way to the art district where our Airbnb was located (I'll get in to why I adore Airbnb another time). The studio flat was the epitome of the type of apartment I aspire to have. It had a very bohemian vibe with worn metal and wood furniture, tapestries, and knick knacks from her Thailand travels. Combine this with her excellent DVD collection and the bomb KEGERATOR AND HOME BAR in the corner, I wanted to meet this girl and be best friends. We made some cocktails and hung out in our new place for the night as the next morning was going to be and early one.
Nice and early Saturday morning we wandered down the street to the District Market, a large warehouse in the arts district that was filled with ethnic food and drink establishments as well as a local market. After a few laps we settled on iced coffee and tacos (the most logical combination) and took off for our next destination- Wildwood Canyon.
I wanted to take a desert mountain hike while in the area but wanted to avoid Runyon Canyon simply due to the amount of traffic it gets. Wildwood Canyon topped the list for an "out there" hike, but also wouldn't take 7 hours to complete. It was quite hot and I could literally feel the heat radiating from the rocks and dirt around us as we made our way up the desert, taking momentary breaks in the shade from an occasional tree or cactus. Thank GOD I grabbed a few giant SmartWater bottles at the market that morning or we would never have made it. It was a hard workout but the view was worth it and the rooftop poolside drinks after the hike were our prize.
That night we headed to Santa Monica pier for Mexican dinner, drinks, and some interesting people watching. The margaritas were strong and I could see the ocean all around me, what more could a girl ask for?
Now to my favorite part of the trip... Laguna Beach and Dana Point. An hour south of LA are these upscale towns with gorgeous beaches, boutiques, and restaurants with views to make your jaw drop. We started the day with a boat ride we found on Airbnb Experiences - a 3 hour trip around Dana Point to find dolphins, whales, and sea lions. Captain Will took 6 of us about 5 miles off shore and that morning was particularly windy so the waves were super choppy. Within 0.5 seconds of the ride we were all completely soaked. He asked if we wanted to turn back, but would that be a gypsy move? Absolutely not. So onward we went and all of the sudden we were SURROUNDED by a dolphin pod. There were literally hundreds of dolphins swimming, jumping, and showing off their trick skills all around the boat. I was in awe and thought my heart was going to swell out of my chest. Seeing so many of these playful creatures in their natural habitat was beyond anything I've ever experienced and just made you feel so connected to nature. They swam with us for the next hour and a half and when we were done my cheeks were sore from the smile that I could not wipe from my face the entire time. While we didn't see any whales, we did get up close and personal with some sea lions, though the dolphins would have been more than enough to blow me away.
We finished the day with boutique shopping in Laguna Beach, jumping waves at 1,000 Steps Beach (by the way, despite what you may have heard about the tide pools at this beach, they are all blocked off and the lifeguards are VERY strict about watching to make sure visitors don't wander past the blockades) and a seafood dinner at a cliffside restaurant overlooking the harbor. We concluded the day by sippin' a bottle of wine and crashing on a beautiful sailboat in Mariana Del Ray.
Monday morning came all too soon and before getting whisked away to LAX we rented cruiser bikes and rode from Venice Beach to Santa Monica, pausing to gawk at the pieces of meat at muscle beach and grabbing a quick corn dog on the strip.
It was a hard and fast trip but so worth every minute and every dollar. Always say "Hell Yes!" to long weekends in a new place because collecting memories is far more meaningful than binge watching Breaking Bad for the third time on your couch. It's amazing what you can do and see in just a few short day so get out there!