Just for You... Reviews by Lissete



Saturday, July 08, 2006

Santa Monica, Queen Mary & Manhattan Beach

All good things must come to an end and we are nearing the end of our fabulous vacation. We wanted to get an early start on our day. We had an early breakfast and hauled all our stuff down the stairs to the parking garage. Going down is soooo much easier. We checked out at 10:30 and made our way to Santa Monica. Along the way, we saw many more interesting sights in Hollywood. Including this one shirtless guy in a Panama Hat and a flower lei trying to sell an old lamp and typewriter in the middle of the street. Although we did not care for Hollywood much we can’t deny that it gave us a few laughs! We stopped at Target to buy another suitcase to distribute the weight in the other bags, it was cheaper to buy a case than to pay another overweight fee.

We parked at Santa Monica Place. It’s a 3 story mall and I LOVED it! We walked around a bit then made our way to the pier. We spent about ½ hour or so here. Watched this guy make a clay sculpture of this other guys face which looked exactly like him! Then we walked to the 3rd Street Promenade just to look around and grab a quick lunch.

At about 3PM we headed to Long Beach & the Queen Mary. We arrived at around 4PM and the attractions close at 6. I had a coupon for a combo ticket for $12 each. This included the self guided tour & the Ghosts & Legends attraction.
I hate to say that we were extremely disappointed, not only by the condition of the ship, but also the very few areas we were able to visit. I expected to see the ballrooms & the dining rooms. It just didn’t feel like a First Class ship of any era. I was very interested in the history of the ship and the most I got from the tour was a 10 minute video tape that they played which included footage of what’s been shown on the History Channel several times. The Ghosts & Legends tour was slightly more interesting. It was more or less a narrated haunted house but it did give information about how certain people had perished on board. It did take you down to the boiler room and 1st Class indoor pool. I would have been even more disappointed if we had paid the regular price of $23 each. And then to add to my pain we paid $10 to park for 2 hours!

It took us less than ½ hour to get to Manhattan Beach. We stayed at the Hawthorne Suites Manhattan Beach because of its proximity to the airport. It also happened to be about a mile from the pier. We checked in and were told that we were in time for their “social” hour. The girl checking us in was really nice and recommended an Italian restaurant by the pier. We went to the room to freshen up while Danny went down to get some beer at the “social” hour. He came back up a few minutes late and reported that he had a jolly old time socializing by himself! LOL! All he wanted was ber anyways and at least he got some. We had a 1 bedroom king room with a full kitchen which we didn’t really need. The room was immaculate and updated. Free WiFi and printing service which allowed me to print my boarding passes the next day. Fortunately the bed was very comfy. Maybe I’ll get some sleep tonight.

We drove out to the pier and were lucky enough to find parking quite quickly. There were a lot of people out trying to surf but there were no waves. We hung around the pier to watch the sunset. It was a beautiful evening & the weather was starting to get cooler. I absolutely loved Manhattan Beach. I want to return for a longer stay. Or Danny can buy a house for us right on the beach. Any of them will do nicely.

After the sun set we went to the restaurant recommended by the girl at the motel. It’s called Mama D’s and it’s a tiny family run restaurant which was packed. We were told there was about a ½ hour wait but we waited a bit more than that. While we waited they brought out several appetizers including fried calamari, meatballs and their fresh baked focaccia bread. Our meal was excellent! Served by a very friendly and efficient staff. I can’t wait to return. There is a really cute ice cream parlor across the street but we were too full for dessert. It was already 10PM and everything was closed except the restaurants so we decided to head on back to the motel.

Our window faced the street but for some reason during the day we couldn’t hear any traffic, at night it was non-stop and loud. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep. We went down to the free breakfast and were pleasantly surprised! They had a hot buffet set up with eggs, bacon, sausage & hashbrowns. There was also a make your own waffles station. Yogurts, fruit, breads, bagels, cereals and all types of beverages including different teas. We would stay here again but we would request a room that does not face the street. We checked out at 11, dropped off the car, and took the shuttle to the airport. I had wanted my last In-n-Out burger but we had just had breakfast a little over 2 hours earlier so no one was hungry. Check in & security were a breeze! I don’t know why people fear LAX. It is much easier here than in Miami. At around 12:30 the girls decide that they want Burger King to take on the plane. We arrive in Miami at almost 10PM and they are afraid that they will starve. The BK at this terminal is outrageously expensive! They charge about $9 for Value Meals! And about $6 for kids meals! The one is MIA is just slightly above regular BKs.

When we board I take my Dramamine & an ativan and before I know it I’m in la la land. I wake up 3 hours later. One more hour and we land! And so this ends our Great California Adventure! I’m still on a weird sleep schedule and I so need a vacation to recover from this vacation. Now it’s time to start planning our next trip!!

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