Destination Hollywood. A drive along the concrete mass of a freeway takes me to the Griffith Observatory where I park ready for the hike to the Hollywood sign. A mile and a half uphill on a winding path with drops not for the faint hearted leads me to a great view of the sign, the Griffith Observatory and views over Los Angeles.
The walk down seems much quicker and it’s only a short walk to The Griffith Observatory which has a monument to James Dean in recognition of the filming in 1955 of Rebel Without a Cause. A few days later I discover the area features in the recently released La La Land. The Observatory is free to visit with paid exhibitions and provides great viewing points over Los Angeles.
The next day allows the Hollywood theme to continue. I walk along Hollywood Boulevard to see the Walk of Fame. I’m surprised to see more than one star for Mickey Rooney and have discovered that there are five categories in which stars can be achieved, Mickey Rooney has four. The area around Hollywood Boulevard isn’t as I thought it would be, looking a little rundown and disheveled. I walk further and see gazebos and a crowd of people. The announcer speaks and introduces Dwayne Johnson who speaks to the crowd whilst receiving his place on the Walk of Fame.
A little further down and Hollywood becomes busier still. Areas are closed off in preparation of the premiere of xXx: Return of Xander Cage at the TCL Chinese Theatre. The Chinese Theatre an imposing building at the front of which are concrete slabs. These are signed and dated by celebrities past and present. Today this area is closed off however it is usually accessible to the public. There are a few historical buildings, Max Factor, Capitol Records and the Dolby building to name a few.
As I walk along I am struck how the area doesn’t live up to its infamous reputation. There are so many homeless people sitting on the streets which is a great contrast to the named stars they are next to as well as people waiting for their big break by giving passers by CDs and DVDs.
Sunset Boulevard leads to a more affluent area of row upon row of immaculately laid lawns leading to impressive houses. Nearby in Beverley Hills is Rodeo Drive with high end shops in beautiful buildings.