Last Monday (Memorial Day), we went to Santa Monica. As you can imagine, I didn’t want to stay home but I didn’t want to drive far and end up dead tired for work the next day. So, we decided for Santa Monica which is about 12 miles from home (I know, I know, I am so close).
Our selection was not a poor one. Let me tell you Santa Monica (and its pier) is world famous. First, the place is recognized worldwide. Then, it has been officially declared the end of renowned Route 66. Sometimes, I forget how famous Santa Monica is. It hits you when you are actually there and you hear like 10 different languages in one minute. Then, you realize you are not in a “regular” place.
We went for the walking and people watching opportunities (or dog watching, even iguana watching). Plus, I wanted to take a look at the recently open Santa Monica Place which includes The Market, a space dedicated to organic and artisanal food products. Getting into the beach itself was out of the question. The temperature was less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Not even my beautiful toes were up to the challenge of touching that water. Big no, no.
We parked next to the pier. Our first sight was this.
Some wanted to make sure all the visitors had in mind the occasion the whole nation was celebrating that day. On Monday, we remembered those that never came alive from war. A replica of the Arlington Cemetery on Virginia was prepared. There was one cross for each of the soldiers who have died on the Iraqi war. There was also an area commemorating the thousands of civilians who have died since the beginning of the war. I think the replica fulfilled its purpose. It made us think about those who never returned home.
At that time of the day, my stomach was already growling. We did the short walk to the Santa Monica Place and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found. The old Place was the typical mall where walls enclose a big space. The new Place is an open air shopping complex full of chic touches and modern features. Now, it does look like a page of a glamorous Santa Monica book.
The Market comprises a small area with about 13 sellers. I say this because I have visited more complete specialty markets (like the market at Granville Island in Vancouver) and the difference in size and offerings is noticeable. The emphasis in here is on artisanal food. On the other hand, everything looked delicious. I had a cup of the Cherry Chip gelato from N’ice Cream. It tasted like heaven (so creamy and fluffy, wow). I was dying to try the cheese and salumi sampler from Norcino Salumeria Cheese Bar or one of the entries at The Curious Palate but I was already stuffed from lunch. The Market also offers cookies, chocolate, pastries, pastas and coffee. I will be back soon.
The Santa Monica Place connects to the Third Street Promenade. We walked around in order to get caught in the scene. I mean, I know tons of people who have bumped into Hollywood actors/actresses in here.
The lovely dinosaurs were waiting for me.
We returned to the pier thru Ocean Drive. The walk had impressive ocean views at every turn.
Once at the pier, we were able to observe how full the beach was. I think it is the first time I see a California beach so full. A Baywatch scene came to my mind immediately. For what I saw, not everybody sees the water as frigid as I do.
The pier was also shocking full of people of all ages and dogs of all breeds (somebody was even walking by with an iguana). The pier is the one of the most iconic sights of the city. It is quite long and expansive. It holds the Pacific Park with thrilling rides. Additionally, it is full of performers and artists (painters, caricaturists, sculptors). At the end of the pier, you find the fishing zone. You can sit and watch the surroundings.
It was great to see all the sailing boats on the coast.
We ended the day by renting bicycles and pedaling to from pier to pier. I mean, from the Santa Monica pier to the Venice Beach Pier. The scene on the Venice side was also lively and intense. People were having fun everywhere.
In summary, a perfect way to spend a holiday.
By the way, I met some creatures while there. Take a look at them.
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