Venice Beach is a place of extreme contrasts.
On the one hand, you have the beach itself: golden sand fringed with shady palm trees… plus a street full of medicinal marijuana stands, and some of the tackiest tourist tat you’ll ever see. It’s a fascinating place for a wander, and I particularly like the skate park, which I could stand and watch for hours: this time there was a little girl who couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 doing the most amazing stuff on her skateboard – it was so inspiring to watch her, and see all the grown-up skaters applaud her moves and high-five her afterwards. I mean, when I was that age I could barely even ride my bike without falling off, and here was this little girl doing all this…. “skateboard stuff”….as if she’d been born on a board. I found it hard to resist shouting, “YOU GO, GURL!” or something equally lame, but I managed to restrict myself to simple cheers. (Oh, and then her little brother – who was, like, THREE or something – also got up and started skating down the steep sides of the park. I think they were the coolest kids I’ve ever seen, seriously…)
Er, it’s kinda weird that I’ve just written two paragraphs about someone else’s kids, isn’t it? Look, here is a seagull:
His name is Larry. Don’t ask me how I know.
So, you have the skate park, and Muscle Beach, and this glorious jumble of colour and sound – music booming out from shops and sidewalk musicians, people trying to sell you something every few steps, er, marijuana dealers on every corner (It’s legal in California for ‘medical’ use). And then behind all of that there’s the canals that give the area its name, which are so different from the beach that it’s like stepping into another world.
The houses in this area are some of my favourite in the city (mind you, I seem to say that about pretty much everywhere I go, so…): they range in style from the super-modern to more traditional styles, and each one is totally unique, and mind-blowingly amazing. The canal network stretches a few blocks, and I had to give up taking photos, because it’s so incredibly picturesque you could be there all day.
“Imagine actually getting to live here!” I said to Terry at one point – well, at MANY points, actually. I could never in my wildest dreams afford it, obviously (and that’s probably for the best to be honest: I spotted a few crabs scuttling along the canal beds, so if I lived here I’d literally never sleep…), but wow, what a beautiful, beautiful place. If you’re ever in Venice Beach, walk along the “strip” for sure – it’s something you really have to see for yourself. But once you’re done with that, don’t forget to take a stroll along the canals, too: I promise you won’t regret it.
WEARING: Alice + Olivia skirt* (old); top c/o Dorothy Perkins; River Island flats; Michael Kors bag