Sightseeing in Los Angeles, Hollywood and Santa Monica
12.12.2012 - 12.12.2012 19 °C
Again I will skip to the end. Well we made it home in one piece and it was a crappy day of sightseeing and very disappointing given that we were celebrating my mothers birthday.
Last time we were here we did a great day tour around LA, Long Beach, Santa Monica and Hollywood. That tour no longer operates and has been replaced by both of the big companies with a double decker bus hop on, hop off itinerary. We used Starline Tours for this trip and had a 24hr pass for the hop on, hop off. Long Beach to visit the Queen Mary is no longer serviced, but is covered in a totally separate tour altogether. The locations of Hollywood, Santa Monica, and Downtown LA are called the red, yellow and purple lines respectfully. Each line is advertised online as taking 2 hours to circumnavigate.
We arrived in LA and started the tour on Hollywood Boulevard. The plan for the day was to cover two zones. The red of Hollywood and the yellow line down to Santa Monica. Lunch on the pier and enjoying the pacific beach views was something we were looking forward to. We left on the red line at after 10 am and reached Santa Monica after Noon.
After lunch on the historic pier we missed the 2pm bus by a few minutes so we waited for the next which was due 30 minutes later. This is when everything went pear shaped.
The bus came 10 minutes late and we arrived at the change point of the yellow and red bus lines at 3.30pm. As these route run in an anti-clockwise direction, we still had more than half of the red line to travel to reach the start point where our transfer bus to Anaheim was expecting us and due to depart for home at 5pm. Holy crap we were in strife. At the changeover point we spoke to the company representative. This all takes place on a sidewalk of a backstreet behind the Beverly Hills City Council Building. It's the middle of no where!
Thankfully the staff of Starline were tremendously helpful and went out of their way to ensure weren't left behind. Our transfer driver met up with us at Farmers Market so we were on the right bus to get home. I was very relieved and felt a generous tip to our driver was in order. As we didn't get to do any shopping, coming up with the tip wasn't a problem. Along with us was one other Aussie Family who had the same plans as us and came unstuck time wise. Our biggest disappointment was we didn't get to do any sightseeing other than 5 minutes along the Walk of Fame and Grauman's Chinese Theater. While Paul and I had seen it before, Mum and the boys hadn't. We were really peeved off!
After talking to the other Aussie Family we concluded that we had 7 hours to travel the distance what is advertised as 4 hours. The actuality is it is more like 5½ hours of travel. The map and details that Starline provide, say that you should not attempt to cover more than 2 sectors per day. Well I advise you do one. If you are staying outside of LA, definitely only one. Even if you sat on the buses and never got off, we would never have made it to the start point in time (doing the yellow and red lines together). The hopping on and off and changing buses is a time waster that works against you especially when you don't get to start until after 10pm and need to be on the shuttle back home again by 5pm.
The rushing, the being scared of being stuck in LA with no way of getting back (we have since heard that it would cost @$200 to get a taxi back to Anaheim) ruined the day. It sucked. I want a sit down and drive me around tour that says you got 5 minutes to look around before we move to the next sight. No time wasting and no waiting for a late bus or missing a bus that came early. This new system only works for those staying in LA.
What I saw I enjoyed and what I missed seeing just makes me peeved. Looking forward to a more structured day tomorrow and a stroll around Universal Studio's.