I was in Miami when a friend of mine wrote to me to alert me of the annual Grammy awards. And as soon as I read it, without even knowing if I could attend, I ran to a computer to reserve my place. With the fortune of already being in the US on those days, I was able to confirm my attendance to get to Los Angeles. Five days before the ceremony there was already the Grammys atmosphere at the Los Angeles airport. When there are events of this caliber like Emmys, Oscars, SAGs, Grammys all week there are private parties and concerts.
We start with the Walk of Fame, Hollywood Boulevard, the walk of the stars, the mecca of the cinema, with its famous theaters, the Dolby Theater, formerly Kodak Theater where the Oscar awards ceremony is held every year, the Chinese Theater where many great releases are made and the Oscars were awarded 3 years, and the Capitan Theater where famous releases are also made.
There are many more attractions in the area such as the Hollywood Museum, the Egyptian Theater, Madame Tussauds Hollywood with its wax figures. To move to the area today we are going to use public transport since we are going to visit different parts of the city and the theme of parking is not easy. Although people do not speak very well of public transportation in Los Angeles for what we want to visit the Metro was nearby for us.
From the hotel, we have the subway across two blocks. So we walk in 5 minutes. On arrival, we look at the ticket systems in the machines. The menu is in different languages. You have to take out a rechargeable card called TAP, which costs you a dollar. Then you can load the trips you want, at $ 1.75 a trip, or the amount you want.
Once the card is loaded you can pass. We take the red line and there are two stops to the center of the walk of fame next to the Dolby Theater. We arrive promptly and there are few people. The stores are opening and that allows us to see the famous landmarks without much trouble. We see the entrance of the Dolby, the facade of El Capitán where the last one of Pirates of the Caribbean was premiered. We continue until the Chinese Theater, on whose door are the handprints and feet of many celebrities.
In the area, there are many souvenir shops. So we took the opportunity to buy a souvenir and visit a well-known and very little visited place. This is the hotel that simulated Julia Roberts' apartment in Pretty Woman.
The area starts filling with people. All the shops start opening. There were many groups of Chinese around, and a lot of disguised characters to take photos with them for a tip. So we decided to end the visit of the stars and go Downtown to continue.
We went back to the subway and got off at Union Station. We visited the station, opened in May 1939. It is known as the last great railroad station built in the United States. But despite its large waiting room, it is one of the smallest compared to the others.
From there we went to Olvera Street, a busy street where many craft stalls and mostly Mexican food are found. There was a lot of people at the stops despite being very early, even in the square. There was music and Mexican dances to cheer up the Saturday morning.
That there were so many people eating around 11 in the morning has its explanation. In the USA on weekends, people change their meal times, doing what is called a "Brunch" which is to unite breakfast with lunch. People do not get up early. They take their time to eat quietly and go out to the street to take their brunch
In Olvera Street, we visited Adobe Avila. It is a house museum that was where several families founded the city of Los Angeles (1818). The entry to this house is free and shows different stays of what life was like in those days.
We continue our walk through the center of the city to the City Hall. The City Hall of Los Angeles an imposing construction that has 32 floors and rises to 138 meters in height. Due to seismic concerns, before the late 1950s, the city of Los Angeles did not allow any building, other than a purely decorative tower, to be more than 46 meters high. Therefore, from its construction in 1928 to 1964, the City Hall was the tallest building in Los Angeles and shared the skyline with only a few structures that had decorative towers.
Next visit is the cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, a work of Rafael Moneo. It is a Catholic cathedral in the city of Los Angeles as well as the main church of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. It is a twelve storied building that can accommodate more than 3,000 people. It has a square of 10,000 m², several gardens, and waterfalls.
It also has a Conference Center, a residence for bishops and one for the Cardinal. It replaces a previous cathedral, the Cathedral of Santa Vibiana, which was seriously damaged in the Earthquake of 1994. That's why inside it has a chapel dedicated to Santa Vibiana and a mausoleum where ecclesiastical characters like Bishops and Cardinals are buried.
The cathedral is magnificent, especially its interior, all very spacious and diaphanous. There is a beautiful central nave with a large organ and a baptismal font where the water runs like a fountain.
The next the spectacular Walt Disney Concert Hall is the fourth concert hall of the Los Angeles Music Center. It is located at the corner of Hope Street and Grand Avenue. The hall has a capacity of 2,265 people and serves (among other things) as headquarters of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Los Angeles and the Magisterial Choir of Los Angeles.
It was built between 1992 and 2003, designed by Frank Gehry, and is built with its characteristic design style in metal. Although the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was built before, the designs of the Walt Disney Concert Hall are earlier.
Next, to this, there are other really spectacular buildings, with the background of the skyscrapers of Downtown Los Angeles, which gives us fabulous views.
We continued between skyscrapers to the Great Central Market, a large market known for its Food Court. It was crowded with people who had the same idea as us to eat in this market. It is actually more a fast food area than a market, although there are fruit stops and more typical elements of a market.
We managed to make ourselves a place and eat some pretty good pizzas at a reasonable price, including drinks.
We continue walking among skyscrapers until our next stop the Microsoft Theater. It is located in the square of the same name, where the Grammy awards of music are given. And around it has some slabs with the names of the winners of each year in the different prizes, best song, best album etc.
Across the street is Staples Center, home to the professional Lakers and Clippers teams in the NBA and the Kings in the NHL. We cross the street to see the facade of the Staple Center, where the Angels Lakers play their games. In the square that surrounds it, there are several statues of famous players like Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and some more.
In 2017, it also hosts the GRAMMY Awards. Once inside, they gave us the bad news that we could not record or photograph being backstage.
But in the Staples Center lobby, I could record the guide telling us how the delivery ceremony is basically a long 3.5-hour concert with 30 performances and a parade of artists. It is worth noting that he was not any guide, he was one of the producers of the show.
We spent almost an hour touring backstage and the most interesting thing was to see dozens of platforms with all the instruments of each band or singer that were going to be presented. They told us that the staging of each artist is mounted on 10-20 platforms (with wheels) that they then take and take off the stage in record time.
This year it took them almost three weeks to prepare the whole show at the Staples Center and in 18 hours they had to completely vacate the facilities after the television broadcast was over. Well with this we finished the first part of our visit in Los Angeles, we went back by subway to the hotel.
I arrived at the hotel. One of the hotel bars was closed for the event and there we spent an hour. In addition to the entire open bar (including champagne), there were also drinks specially created for the occasion. There were Assorted appetizers, including hamburgers. I spent a very good time here.
At the end of the tour, we returned to the hotel where one of their restaurants had reserved a seat for us. At our table, there were 5-6 empty plates, with wine served and everything. The tasting consisted of two white wines and two red wines. I must also make a special mention of the cheeses because they were the best I've ever tasted.
For dinner, we had two options as the main course, salmon or chicken. At my table, we preferred the salmon and we also liked the garnishes of broccolini and mini-potatoes. And we ended up with the southern strawberry cake. The dessert was not very important, as after enjoying the whole afternoon, we did not care much.
Tomorrow we have an appointment with the Route 66, on the way to the Grand Canyon.