Last month Nikki took a trip to California, to get away from the melancholic post festivities 'come down' that could be felt in a very grey London and headed for a little bit of sunshine. Whilst staying with a friend in LA, Nikki squeezed in time for a little roadtrip escape to Death Valley for some hiking , stargazing and maybe some legal weed smoking. Her first night saw her watching live opera with a cup of warm white wine in hand, in a definitely haunted, handpainted opera house.Not what you'd usually expect for our first night in the desert hey....
Here are some of her highlights from the trip and some recommendations if you're heading out that way.
I'd recommend two nights at the very least here so you make the most of some seriously incredible hikes, including the Devil's golfcourse, Badwater Basin (The lowest point in North America ) and Artists Drive (colour palette perfection!) .The microclimates within each place is incredible. We went in January so the temperature was very low, with us wrapped up in scarves and coats. Usually it's scorching.
The absolute best bit of my trip, maybe my life? Natural hot springs with 26 minerals (according to a friendly local who showed us where to get natural clay for the most amazing all body mud treatment). Spent over 6 hours here as it was so very hard to leave; the stillness, the quiet, the gentle chatter with locals. With a grand mountainous landscape as our backdrop, It felt like it was just there for our viewing. It was perfect.
Amargosa opera house
A vision bought to life by the late Marta Beckett, a ballerina from New York city, who fell in love with a run down miner's town hotel and reinvented her very own hotel and opera house - the Amargosa Hotel. It's something you have to see, the Spanish colonial hotel has various hand painted murals and the opera house has a painted an audience of faces which Marta was known to perform to (tad creepy!). We were lucky enough to catch an astounding opera performance by Sin City opera, a company touring from Las Vegas. I couldn't recommend staying here enough, the breakfast potato hash from the cafe is spot on too!
Hamburger Marys West Hollywood
Drag queen bingo? Being an avid Ru Paul's drag queen fan, my needs were met with the overthetopness of the whole evening from stiletto shaped cocktails and some serious shade throwing. Just make sure you don't call out 'BINGO' incorrectly or you're going to get publicly spanked!
If I lived in LA i'd want to live in Los Feliz,probably because it has a flavour of Hackney that makes me feel at home. Vintage stores, second hand clothing and shops selling cult classic books and memorabilia, it's a fun place to browse for an afternoon. Not going to lie, I was hoping to bump into a member of the Allah Las whilst having an ice cream.
The Last Bookstore on Earth, Downtown LA
I can't remember the last time I meandered around a bookshop with no real purpose or pre planned purchase. This bookshop is everything you hope for given the name, with two large floors, there's every genre you can imagine. The second floor certainly captured my attention, for all things metaphysical, supernatural and UFO orientated. The joy of browsing and making discoveries the old school way is refreshing from the usual Amazon 'buy now' after reading a few reviews.