The ringing of the alarm at 4.30am was so loud, why on earth I booked our flights at such early times I began to wonder to myself but it was obviously a good idea at the time. We had to leave the hotel at 5am so it was a race against the clock to get ready to leave. We checked out at reception and caught a taxi from outside the hotel at 5.05am yes I was up and out in 35 minutes, well done me. The taxi guy wasn’t really that friendly I don’t think he said one word to us until he wanted us to pay. This would normally bother me but at that time of the morning I didn’t really want to talk either so I could hardly blame him.
We arrived at the airport and checked in with Virgin America, easy peasy, we went for breakfast at a bar/restaurant place and just had a bagel with cream cheese and a tea. Still half asleep we sat at the gate and waited to board the flight. This is when I started watching Doctor Foster on the Ipad, I was glued, great TV series definitely find it somewhere if you haven’t watched it. Anyway flight left on time and we were right at the front of the plane in row 4 happy days and we also had a row of three to the two of us, even better. The flight left on time at 8.05am and I had just enough time to get another episode of Doctor Foster in before we landed in LA.
We took a cab, or should I say minibus the cab was that big from the airport to the hotel in Santa Monica, it cost around $50. We were staying at the Lowes Santa Monica Beach Hotel and it was lovely. We checked in quick and at 10am they already have a lovely beachfront view room ready for us on the 2nd floor. It was a little strange going down in the lift to your room normally its always up but there we go. Room was lovely, nice and big, we opened the curtains and there it was Santa Monica beach and pier. We were only here 2 nights so no time wasting, we got changed and went out to explore.
Of course the first stop was Santa Monica pier, we walked all the way to the end stopping along the way and then sat on a bench and watched the world go by for a while. We decided to go and find Third Street Promenade and maybe have some lunch. We got a tad side tracked when we seen the 40% off everything sign outside Abercrombie, oops. Back to what we went looking for, food, a couple of doors up from Abercrombie was Barneys Beanery, it had an outside seating area with umbrella’s up so we went for here as it was convenient and we could sit outside. Food was really good here large portions too; I had a BBQ chicken sandwich with salad, it was amazing. After lunch we carried on walking down third street promenade and started to head back in the direction of our hotel. It was when we finally got back to the hotel room that Sam realised he left our credit card at the restaurant L I started to panic a bit but luckily I had put the name of the restaurant in my notes on my phone so we called the restaurant and they still had the card behind the bar, phew. So, back to Third Street Promenade we went to collect the card.
Card back in the wallet and safe we walked back down to the Santa Monica Pier. I was determined to hire some bikes and cycle along the beachfront, however, after all my moaning when we hired bikes in San Francisco, Sam wasn’t convinced on hiring bikes again. I promised I wouldn’t moan about cycling as long as we didn’t have to go up any hills. We hired bikes from Sea Mist just below the Santa Monica Pier. They charge $7 an hour for bike hire which was the cheapest we could find around the area, however, they do only accept cash on return of the bikes, and you just leave your passport or driving licence as a deposit. We cycled along the beach cycle path, all the way to Venice beach. We stopped at the skate park and watched the guys skateboarding, they are brilliant and so determined when they fall, they get up brush themselves down and try again. We also had a look around the muscle beach outside gym, I just wanted to should out oooosh as the guys were lifting weights the faces they were pulling did make me giggle. Venice is a great place for people watching there really is lots of different characters down there. Part of me wished we skipped lunch at Third Street Promenade and came for lunch at one of the little cafes on Venice Beach, never mind, maybe next time. We then turned round and started to head back towards Santa Monica along the bike path. The views are beautiful and there is so many people out, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding, and running they place had such a nice relaxed feel about it.
After our bike ride along the front, we walked back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We had no idea where to go as I had failed to research Santa Monica while doing research for the holiday as we were only here for 2 days. Anyway I really had a craving for fajitas, so I had a bit of a Google and it turns out there was a Mexican restaurant literally a 3 minute walk from the hotel along Ocean Drive. The restaurant was called Casa Martin, it definitely didn’t look anything special from the outside but, the food and service was top notch. On the way to the restaurant we came across the Hotel California, obviously this song was then stuck in my head for the rest of the night much to Sam’s delight. Back to the restaurant, I had fajitas that were amazing and definitely killed the craving, it was also great value for money. After dinner we took a walk along the front and down to Third Street Promenade so Sam could grab some shoes as he needed some new shoes, all the walking had killed his shoes. We then took a slow walk along the pier where we watched some locals playing tag rugby down on the sand and just generally people watching for a while.
We then walked back to the hotel where we sat on the terrace bar which looked out onto Santa Monica Pier, they also had a live band which was nice so we sat here for the rest of the evening, enjoying a few drinks. Tomorrow we had the Day in LA tour which I was so excited for.