Getty Villa, Malibu and Getty Museum, Hollywood

Trip Start Jun 13, 2013
Trip End Jul 10, 2013

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday and Tuesday 17th and 18th June 2013

With only two days left in LA, we thought it was time for a bit of real culture so booked into the Getty Villa. The Villa is an awesome place commissioned by J.P.Getty, rich oil magnate from mid 20th century. It is based on a villa from around Naples that was buried by Mt Vesuvius way back when and is filled with Roman and Greek artifacts, and lots of them. The gardens replicate what would have been, the exquisite marble used throughout is extensive in its patterns. We spent nearly 5 hours there taking in the luxury, history and sheer beauty of it all. No expense was spared in replicating the Villa, a place where Mr Getty himself did not actually see before he died. In his later years he lived in England and didn't like to fly. After about nine years of construction it was finished about 2 years before he died but he didn't visit.

We then thought we would continue along the Coast to Malibu, which was a short drive north. It's a sort of a strange journey along the coastline with sea on one side and mountains on the right. Unlike the Victorian coastline, of, say, the Great Ocean Road, where you see houses in the hillside hiding in lush green vegetation, most of the hilly area that housed rather large houses was baron. Often the houses were few and far between and the space in between was brown dirt, making the scenery quite dull. It's an area and mudslides and fire but apparently people still build there.

On the other side of the road is the Pacific Ocean which has large beaches, interspersed with houses right on the beach front. While it sounds lovely having an (absolute) beach front house, many of these houses now have the water lapping their doorstep, (or the stilts that support the houses) making outdoor living except for the patio, impossible. There were of course other houses that have a lovely expanse of fine creamy sand in front of them and I am sure they are the prized locations for the mega rich. We did do a little drive around a few of the streets but were greeted only with gates and hedges with no indication of what lied beyond. However there is always Google Earth and we used it to stalk the houses we sat outside of to 'see' behind the hedges and the colourful flowering flora that was regularly tended to by Mexicans who drove around in abundance in their trucks with gardening equipment loaded in the back. Don't worry we were not too obsessed and only did this for a few houses.

On Tuesday we continued the 'Getty' theme and went to the Getty Museum. Wow. This was amazing. It was built 10 or so years ago, many many years after the man himself died with a trust fund that he set up in the 70's of over $700M. There's obviously still a lot of money left because they continually update the exhibits and the architecture itself is something out of this world. It is of course famous for housing Van Gough's Irises as well as many other famous French and other artists from all over the world. OK, i didn't see any from Australia! The museum is free to get into and the only charge is $15 to park your car. The underground car park is located at the bottom of a hillside and you then board a tram (a bit like a monorail) to take you up to the hill top where the museum rests. There are four large buildings of about 3 storeys high that connect to each other and are encompassed by balconies with views in every direction over L.A, from the city, suburbs, the coast to the hills. I can't post pics on this blog from my iPad but will try to make an album in Facebook for you to see as its a must.

After reluctantly leaving there we headed for the observatory for a view of the Hollywood sign and L.A. Then it was over to Hollywood to see the stars in the pavement. We didn't have coins for a parking metre so didn't get out of the car but saw them from the many stops in the traffic. The street where they lie, Hollywood Boulevard, is quite a dingy area, so we didn't miss out on too much not getting out of the car. Since we had a bit of time up our sleeves we decided to drive an hour to a shopping outlet centre. Nothing much there - it was similar to a typical Brand Smart outlet with some things on special and some not. Jon bought a few pairs of Levi's for $50, styles which you don't get in Australia. And may I say they fit his butt quite well. The other good thing was in both men's and women's jeans you have a great choice in length size,

We returned home about 9pm and had left overs for tea and quite a few scotches before Mario, the resident Italian who lives in Brenda's bungalow, joined us for a few more wines and nibbles. I loved his passionate animated Italian personality and we enjoyed talking to him and Brenda on many occasions. Brenda works in the film industry so for most of our stay was gone at about 10am and returned after midnight. She did have the pleasure when we were there to see one of the Aussie Hemsworth boys film a scene with his top off, which made my girls very jealous when I told them about it.

We had a great home stay experience with Brenda and we hope our other accommodations are as good on the rest of our travels.
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