Several months ago I was confident that I would spend some time in California this year, but then the coronavirus came and changed the plans and lives of many…
But, hey, I actually still have some pictures which I took during my last visit to the state in June last year! Similarly to my last visit to Spain, I was there on a business trip, attending an amazing conference. The conference lasted only five days and was full of interesting events, so, again, I did not have much free time for sightseeing. It would have been nice to extend my stay for a couple of more days, but my traveling schedule was extremely busy that month.
The conference was taking place in Long Beach, a coastal city and port located within the Los Angeles metropolitan area. When I started looking for hotels, it turned out that all decent options in the city were already taken, and I had to look further. I ended up booking a suite in Anaheim in Orange County, the city popular for being home for the Disneyland Resort.
With no traffic it would have been just a 25 min long drive to the conference center, but in the very first conference day I have learned that during busy hours this time could literally quadruple.
To minimise my time in traffic, I would normally leave the hotel very early in the mornings (which was not that hard due to the worst ever jet lag I had). In the evenings after the conference, I would stay in the area until later. Luckily, there was always something to do: having dinners with colleagues, going for shopping or simply strolling along the shoreline and enjoying the nice weather.
Long Beach waterfront
After the first conference day I met with the colleagues from the same company I was working for, who also came from different countries to attend the conference. The colleagues chose the restaurant called Parkers’ Lighthouse, which coincidentally was recommended me earlier on the same day by an Uber driver. Their menu offered a great selection of fresh seafood meals as well as a long list of local craft beers. All was indeed very tasty!
After the dinner I checked the traffic situation — it was bad. Instead of spending two hours in a taxi, I decided to walk around the area. The weather was just perfect! It was sunny, but not hot.
At least two of my friends and a bunch of Uber drivers told me that visiting the Griffith Observatory absolutely worth it. I wouldn’t have time to go inside, but I was told that just walking around is already interesting enough. The observatory is located on top of a hill and one can see a beautiful panorama from there, including the views of the Los Angeles skyline and the famous Hollywood sign.
I indeed enjoyed being there. The view was quite spectacular! I hope to come back to that place someday to hike in these hills.
Downtown Long Beach
During one of the lunch breaks at the conference I felt like walking alone in the area. Having had enough of bad conference coffee (why is it often the case?), I felt determined to find a good coffee shop.
On the map I discovered the Long Beach Coffee and Tea. To get there I just walked from the conference center along the Pine Ave, straight through the downtown.
To my surprise, the city felt rather provincial and even a bit worn out.
The Hollywood Boulevard is probably the most popular landmark in Los Angeles. We went there with a couple of colleagues on the very last evening after the conference. The place was noisy and full of people. We visited some souvenir shops and I bought two pins in the Hard Rock Cafe.
The colleagues who’ve been there before brought me to the spot at the Hollywood & Highland Center, from where the Hollywood sigh can be seen. However, it was already dark and we could not see anything.
It was fun discovering familiar names on the starts at the Walk of Fame. I even found Godzilla.
We took a long stroll along the boulevard. It was fun and disturbing at the same time. I would compare it with seeing the downtown of Amsterdam at night for the first time. Although, Amsterdam is much cleaner and there are less beggars and shady people trying to sell you stuff. I was glad that I went there with colleagues. I would feel uncomfortable being there on my own. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting place and definitely worth visiting.
I hope to visit that place during the daytime someday. It also would be nice to visit its famous theatres and museums.
Photos taken in June 2019