Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 17 April 2017

St James's Palace

As you can imagine security is tighter than ever in London at the moment but it doesn't stop ceremonial life of the city. 

This is outside St James's Palace, the London residence of the Prince of Wales as well  as some other members of the Royal family.I just happened to be passing as the Changing of the Guard was taking place. 

Today it was the turn of the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards accompanied by the band of the Grenadier Guards and the Irish Guards Corps of Drums.

The Guard leaves the Palace on its way back to Wellington Barracks.

The regimental mascot accompanies the Guard. I think it's an Irish wolfhound but I'm not sure.

Marching down the Mall.

The parks are beautiful with signs of Spring everywhere.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Final day in Los Angeles.

Today was my last day in Los Angeles. In fact I only had a couple of hours in the morning before I had to leave for the airport so I decided to walk down Hollywood Boulevard. Passed this very decorative Chase bank.

                     A walk along the Hall of Fame

Hollywood First National Bank.  Empty since the recession in 2008, I wonder what will happen to it now or is it just going to be left unoccupied.

The entrance to El Capitan movie theatre. This theatre opened in May 1926 as 'Hollywood's first home of spoken drama'. It has now been fully restored to its original elegamce.

You can always find a superhero around here.

It was very busy outside the Chinese theatre as they were getting ready for the premiere of Chips.

Rolling out the blue carpet. I wonder why it was blue?

I decided to walk back to the hotel along Sunset Boulevard and came across Crossroads of the World.

The central building resembles an ocean liner and is surrounded by a small village of cottage style bungalows. It was designed by Robert Derrah and built in 1936. Once a shopping centre it is now home to a variety of music publishers, television and film script writers, film and recording companies and many others associated with the entertainment business.

As I was taking a few photos a guy called Chris  came over for a chat. He was a musician, originally from England but needed to be in Hollywood for work. He was interested in my opinion of Los Angeles so I didn't hold back. Looking back on last year's trip to New York, Washington, Boston and other parts of Eastern USA and this year's trip, I would have to say that Los Angeles is my least favourite city. Its different districts don't seem to gel as communities or have  the warmth and friendliness I have experience elsewhere in the US. Nor does the city seem to have pride in its heritage allowing a number of its buildings to become derelict.  As a visitor it is very difficult to get around without a car, not impossible just difficult. Of course, I have only been here a few days and just have a snap shot of the city. Chris lives in the complex and  he did say it took a long time to settle in LA but he is enjoying life a lot more now he lives here where there is more of a community. It was lovely to chat to him but I did have a plane to catch so it was back to the hotel and a taxi to the airport and home. Farewell LA and what has been a great trip to Western USA.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Day 12

Today was the Los Angeles Marathon. Had I known they were running just a couple of blocks away from the hotel I would have got up earlier to watch. By the time I got to the Metro at 10am the vast majority of runners had already finished.
I was on my way to look at Rodeo Drive and the Beverley Hills part of LA . The Marathon was also going down Rodeo Drive today but that was to my advantage as the roads were closed to traffic. However it did take me longer than I anticipated to get there as I had to get the Metro and a bus which was on a detour due to the Marathon.

Rodeo Drive, one of the world's most famous and expensive shopping streets.

Look how empty it looks. It was a Sunday morning and many of the shops were not yet open.

I walked down Rodeo Drive and Beverley Drive, a very different area to where I'm staying.

City Hall Beverley Hills

Next to the City Hall is the Civic Centre. It looks more like a luxury hotel with its palm lined walkways and colonnades. Built in 1932 in the Spanish Renaissance style it is a beautiful building housing a library as well as the police and fire departments.

This modern art deco building is the Crescent Garage. It is a 3 level subterranean parking garage for the Beverley Hills and Wallis Annenbert Centre for Performing Arts which is across the road.

Even the local gas station has style.

Numerous flash cars

Flash houses

                                                 Lush, green parks

I walked the length of Beverley Drive to The Beverley Hills Hotel or the 'Pink Palace'. This is probably the most famous of LA's hotels. Built in 1912 it is where the most famous of the stars would stay from Douglas Fairbanks Snr, Howard Hughes, JFK, Marilyn Monroe and more recently Elton John and so on. With starting price of $900 a night I decided to stay in my  non opulent but functional hotel room. One thing my hotel did have in common with this one is that they are both on Sunset Boulevard. ( Maybe I should point out that Sunset Boulevard is approx 22 miles in length.)

I walked down  Sunset Boulevard for quite some distance to have a look at Sunset Strip with its numerous bars and clubs.

Whisky a go-go nightclub on Sunset Strip. This was the place to be for rock 'n' roll in the 1960s.

The Viper Room. This nightclub was opened in 1993. Once owned by Johnny Depp it hosts many celebrity musicians including Bruce Springsteen. It is also known as the site where actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose in 1993 and Jason Donovan survived a drug induced seizure at the club in 1995.

I am old enough to remember the TV series 77 Sunset Strip.

On the sidewalk in front of this building is a plaque dedicated to the series 77 Sunset Strip which was filmed here. Anyone else remember the show?

The Comedy Store

Sunset Tower Hotel is a very elegant looking art deco styled building. It boasts an impressive list of former residents including Frank Sinatra, Errol Flynn, Elizabeth Taylor amongst them. This was one of my favourite buildings along the Strip.

Saddle Ranch Chop House with its mannequins adorning the balconies.

Amother interesting looking place to eat was Carney's hamburger railcar. As I walked further along the Strip it was becoming increasingly less attractive and more sleazy. I decided to get on a bus which surprisingly took me all the way back to the hotel. Getting around LA by public transport is not that easy as the Metro is not extensive enough for a city so spread out. Buses are OK but I couldn't find a map of bus routes so it was very difficult to plan how to get from one place to another. This is definitely not my favourite city for getting around.

In the evening I met up with Maud and Maria from the trip and we went to see Beauty and the Beast at the Regal Cinema, downtown. Really enjoyed the film and the company. It was a final farewell to my travelling companions as we were all leaving LA the next day.