Travelling via The States

Old Mar 31st 2013, 2:29 am
  #1  
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Default Travelling via The States

Ah, now you've gone and opened a whole can of worms as I could write reams on the West Coast stopover.

We have done it numerous times in the last 9 years. The first time being when we actually emigrated, as you say, it's a good opportunity to get in a holiday.

Whenever we have flown into or out of LA we have gone with AirNZ and always find them very good, if not the cheapest. When we have gone via San Francisco we have gone with Virgin for the SF/LDN/SF part and AirNZ for AUK/SF/AUK.

There is so much more to do in LA over and above the obvious theme parks. We have done Disney a couple of times (but my wife hates it there) and also Universal which we all like. Last January though we decided to do stuff we had not done before.
First of those was to hire a car. Having driven in the Middle East I was no longer worried about driving on unfamiliar roads on the 'wrong' side.
Having a car in LA was excellent and meant we were able to do a lot more exploring.
Here, in no particular order, are some of our LA highlights:
LA Science Museum - they have the Space Shuttle there plus it is a very good museum with loads for the kids;
The Farmers' Market - great food;
Griffith Observatory & Park - fantastic place to go for a hike in the hills, especially in the morning, great views of the city and sunset later in the day;
Santa Monica - excellent shopping;
Santa Monica Pier - great for watching the sunset;
Santa Monica to Venice boardwalk - hire a criuser bike and cycle the boardwalk - Fantastic!;
Malibu - drive up the coast and find some deserted beaches to spend a few hours on;
Queen Mary - down in Long Beach, sadly the Spruce Goose is long gone but the Queen Mary, now a hotel, is well worth a visit to experience the glory days of sea travel;
The Disney Concert Theatre - designed by Frank Gehry it is an incredible piece of architecture;
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel - ride the glass elevators (appeared in numerous films);
The Getty Museum - up in the hills it's a great place to chill out, look at art, walk in the gardens;
Olvera Street - the 'old' part of LA, quite touristy but still fun;
Union Station - awesome old building across from Olvera Street (used in Bladerunner if my memory serves).

There are other places too, but those would be most of the main ones so far.

We are planning another trip at the end of the year but I'm thinking we will drive to Lake Havasu (to see London Bridge) then onto the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We've done them before but not driven there. We are also thinking maybe up Pacific Coast Highway 1 or down to San Diego. Not decided yet, pick from those 3!

We swear by a hotel called 'The Sportsmen's Lodge' (Temuera Morrison has stayed there). Great pool, big rooms, quiet area and reasonably priced. The breakfasts there are massive and the waitress always remembers us! I like the fact that I can go for good runs in the area, including up some very flash streets into the hills.

San Francisco is a whole other posting if you want it!

Basically we just don't do the trip without a stopover (unless it's an emergency) to get in a holiday and help with the jetlag.

I spent 6 months in LA as a student and still love the West Coast, if you have any other questions I am happy to share.

As for the SkyCouch, there was an article on FairGo (like the UK's Watchdog) a few weeks ago with people complaining about how crap it is. The photos on the website don't show for example that when the people in front put their seats back you have bugger all room, even with the couch. Personally I wouldn't bother, save the money for the hol's.

I asked a family friend who is a GP to prescribe both the Zopiclone and the Melatonin. I swear by both now (and I generally hate to take any sort of drugs if I can avoid it).
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Old Mar 31st 2013, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Travelling via The States

Thanks AndyEvs. Your comments about the skycouch seem obvious in retrospect, so thanks for the heads up. Now if I can just convince my OH that a holiday on the way out makes perfect sense, I will definitely make use of all your good information.
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