Weekend In LA: Part One

No matter how long the journey or how brief the stay, travel never fails to rejuvenate my spirit. This long weekend I’ve enjoyed in L.A. has been a wonderful reminder of that.

Friday morning, I woke up and started the day with a dip in the outdoor hot tub here at the LAX Marriott. If there’s anything that says you’re on vacation, it’s this and the sight of palm trees.

The sun was shining as I made the short drive into Santa Monica, my favorite part of L.A. (by far). In keeping with tradition, I made a pitstop at Ye Olde King’s Head Shoppe, a charming British goods shop next to a pub of the same name. I was delighted to discover Vinto fruit soda, a good substitute for my beloved blackcurrant flavored Ribena Spark, which was recently discontinued.

With Vinto in hand, I walked over to Palisades Park to take in views of the beach and iconic Santa Monica Pier before heading to the Huntley Hotel’s Penthouse rooftop restaurant for lunch with my good friend Ross. I immediately thanked him for his excellent choice of venue. The Penthouse’s panoramic beach and L.A. views and interesting menu (lobster knuckle sandwich, anyone?) made the ideal place to catch up and savor being on the West Coast again.

Ross and me at the Huntley Hotel Penthouse

Over a delicious, leisurely lunch — including one of the best breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had — Ross filled me in on his adjustment to L.A. life since moving here last year with his wife. Also on the conversational menu, juggling day jobs with creative pursuits and Hurricane Sandy, I heard lots of concern from Angelenos about it. Of course, they know a thing or two about natural disasters here.

After parting company with Ross, I ambled along the Third Street Promenade before making my way back to the Pier. Getting in touch with my inner child, I treated myself to a ride on the roller coaster. It was pretty quiet at the amusement park, so I happily said yes when I was offered a second ride that marked a first: riding a coaster as the only person on it. Spooky and exhilarating all at once for sure.

Next up…the scoop on my experience at the Castle Fan Convention!

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