Arriving to L.A.

We spent several hours last night researching for a hotel and for the best neighborhood to stay in.

Downtown was out of the question, Some people wrote online that it’s not so safe and I don’t think we’ll be visiting the Chinatown and the Financial District since we don’t have so much time and we saw all that in San Francisco anyhow. We are more inclined to stay near the beach, although we probably won’t have much time to enjoy the beach anyway.

The Portofino Hotel & Marina on Redondo Beach looked mighty nice but we quickly changed our minds when we saw the prices.

The two choices we narrowed it down to eventually were The Inn at Marina del Rey: the reviews on tripadvisor were good, the pictures looked great and the hotel is across the beach. It is really far from all the sights we would like to visit though.

Our second option was The Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica because of the good reviews on tripadvisor (although there were some pretty bad ones too) and because Santa Monica is one of the nicest places to stay in LA without having to pay a fortune for the hotel (although most of the hotels here do cost a fortune). The hotel is not exactly on the beach, it’s about 2 km distance but nevertheless the reviews and staying in Santa Monica convinced us in the end to pick this one.

The drive from Morro Bay had some adventures as well. Our navigation system decided to take us off the 101 and on to the 227 through the Village of Arroyo Grande. We didn’t mind so much seeing this nice little village but it did get stressful when the navigation system was taking us in circles. Eventually we had to take the map out to find our way back to 101 and we also set up the navigation system to use the fastest route instead of the shortest one.

About 35 km before LA we had the bad luck to run into a traffic jam. It’s not fun, let me tell you. So many cars on 6 lanes in a traffic jam. It wasn’t a surprise that a woman almost drove into us while switching lanes. That was scary!

Finding the hotel turned out to be also complicated. We drove by because we missed the sign. Luckily we checked the address again and turned back to find it there where we have passed already. It all seemed so obvious once we found it but not while searching for it.

Checking into the hotel went smoothly, although a new girl checked us in with the help of a colleague and it was a bit chaotic. The room is nice, some furniture looks pretty ancient but as long as it’s clean and the bed is comfortable to sleep in, I am happy.

My Fitbit shows only 1200 steps and not even 1 km so I have a lot of catching up to do. I think a walk down to the Santa Monica Pier might help achieve my daily goals.

My plan to work out in the hotel fitness center and to go jogging is not going as well as I hoped. The fitness centers at the other hotels looked pretty bad and, since I don’t know the area, I don’t dare to just go out running anywhere. Plus it’s hard to find time as well because we’re on the road so much and we spend so little time at each stop that I would rather use that time to visit places. I guess the only way to get my fitness in is to walk a lot and at least reach my Fitbit goals.

My diet is not going so well either. I just munched down on a bag of potato chips because I got so hungry and it’s going to take some time till we go out to dinner. Skipping lunch is probably also a bad idea, 2 meals per day is not enough and my dinners are very calorie-dense. I had lots of burgers, clam chowder and also salad a few times, although the dressing didn’t look so light.

When I’ll go back, I will have to do some serious dieting and sports.

Where to stay:

The Ambrose Hotel
1255 20th St, Santa Monica

– it’s in Santa Monica
– bathrobes
– coffee machine with Starbucks capsules and even Starbucks paper cups in the room
– great breakfast

– St. John’s Health Center and Funeral Directors are right across the street, luckily our room is not facing towards the hospital
– the rooms facing the street are loud due to traffic
– thin walls between the rooms

Where to eat:

Loteria Grill
1251 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica

What to visit:

– 3rd Street Promenade, Santa Monica
– Santa Monica beach
– Santa Monica Pier