Since our purpose in going to Los Angeles was to visit the La Brea tar pits, J and I didn’t really plan on doing much sight seeing. That was for another day, another trip.
However… The two hour drive TO La Brea was over three hours BACK to San Diego (as we’d stayed at the museum until closing, and therefore rush hour in L.A.) so we decided to hang out for a while, driving down some famous roads and generally seeing what could be seen from the car.
Our first spot? The Hollywood sign, in the distance. A quick search on a phone gave us a route to a place called Griffith Observatory where you could see the sign sort of closer (but still not very close), and we had nothing else to do, so off we went!
The sun was setting as we crossed Sunset and then Hollywood on the way up the mountain. We watched the sunset from the road on the way to the top, stopping to get a couple of photos.
Then we reached the observatory.
As it happens, the place is a huge and famous observatory with a planetarium inside, is free (except for the planetarium shows) and is open until 9pm! Winner!
We saw a lot of exhibits about planets and the cause of seasons, tides, eclipses, etc, but the most fascinating portion was where they showed videos from the surface of the sun, and how clear our photography of our little star has become. Really spectacular. One of the demonstrations talked about heat signatures, so we took a photo. together…
We also saw a real Tesla coil!
It was drizzling most of the day in L.A. so when we got to the observatory we had to duck inside… but then it cleared up and we could see the whole valley below, clear in the rain-washed air, glittering.
We stayed for a planetarium show about the history of astronomy, then drove back down the mountain. As we started to head toward home, it occurred to us that we’d crossed Hollywood Boulevard but not actually driven it… So we found ourselves cruising down the famous road.
Honestly, the whole experience was surreal. These places all seem like they only exist in the movies, and yet there they were, in front of us. And yet somehow still unreal. They were squeezed into their spaces, surrounded and hemmed in by all of the modern chaos that is Los Angeles, and if we hadn’t known to look, I’m not sure we’d have noticed some of it. I’d like to go back in the daylight and take a guided tour so I know what everything is.
PS: This is for my sister. I stood where Tony Stark stood.