First of all I need to make my apologies to those of you (probably 99% of the readers ;-) ) who followed my link with hope of seeing some 'hot beach bunnies', like the gorgeous lady in the picture above spotted during our stay in California. Well... I didn't mean to mislead you ( ...maybe a little bit) as you will actually see a hot bunny, Leo's Rabbit, who spent a day in Santa Monica. He was hot (with this amount of fur you would've been hot too!), he was at the beach and he certainly is a bunny. I therefore hope that you will forgive me my little deception and, as you are already here, you may as well carry on reading to find out more about Rabbit's experience at Santa Monica beach.
Below you can see another picture of our hot beach bunny (this one probably fits my post better) standing at the pier overlooking this beautiful and vibrant beach.
It was only an early April but the day was gorgeous, with the sunshine pouring down from the sky and gently touching bare skin (and fur) generously exposed to its invigorating treatment. Rabbit thought that the amount of vitamin D produced on that day would have been enough to supply the whole England for a year.
Santa Monica stays warm and mostly dry year-round, which attracts many visitors to the beach not only in the summer, but also during the spring, autumn and winter months. The temperature is rarely below 6°C or above 28°C - dream weather for our Rabbit who comes from London, where it may not be extremely cold, but it does rain on average 110 days per year. Leo's Rabbit decided to 'make up' for all those 110 days and take full advantage of the sunshine.
Although Santa Monica beach is a very busy one, its ample space allowed our Rabbit to pick his spot (well... considering that the beach is about 3.5 miles long, there was plenty of room for a small rabbit). After applying his sunscreen, he lay down on the soft sand, stretched his ears and listened to the waves crash against the shore. He stared out at the ocean and its sheer vastness and expansive horizon made him feel very tiny. In the face of the endless water he instantly felt lighter and he saw his problems in a new perspective. There are bigger things in life than little dilemmas of a little rabbit. Lost in his thoughts, he experienced an amazing moment of tranquillity and peace in the middle of the busy and touristy beach.
He then diverted his attention to the other 'species' (mainly humans) present at the beach. Watching people engaged in various activities on the shoreline was the most exhilarating experience of Rabbit's day. Most of the holidaymakers were sunbathing and having a relaxing lay down. Some had a courage to jump in the cool water and were swimming, surfing, sailing or even parasailing. Excited, screaming kids (and adults) were chasing waves and building sandcastles, under the watchful eye of lifeguards. Leo's Rabbit noticed many perfect human specimens of both sexes walking and jogging along the shoreline. Looking at these beautifully tanned, slender and muscular 'beach bunnies' Rabbit automatically sucked in his belly and immediately felt more handsome. Unfortunately it didn't last long, as he was unable to hold in his belly and breathe in the same time and, as you may have already guessed, he had to let go of the belly.
Rabbit was impressed by a good number of cyclists and roller-bladers on the paved trail that runs along the ocean. He learned that this is a part of a 22 mile long Marvin Braude Beach Trail (known to locals as 'The Strand') from Will Rogers State Beach to Torrance County Beach. It's apparently one of the best scenic bike paths in Southern California and Rabbit regretted not bringing his bike all the way from England (don't worry, if you are a human you don't need to do this - there are many convenient bike rental shops for people, none for rabbits though... hmm... do you think we just found a gap in the market? ;-) ).
After watching a volleyball game at the beach court, well suntanned Rabbit headed down to the iconic Santa Monica Pier for some noise and buzz. And he found it right there. Packed with lively and colourful crowds the pier is the centre of everything that happens. It houses some of Santa Monica's most popular attractions: the Pacific Park (a family amusement park with its one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, solar panelled Ferris wheel), a 1920s-era carousel featuring 44 hand-carved horses, the Santa Monica Aquarium, a trapeze school, an entertaining arcade with more than 200 games, and a variety of restaurants, pubs and souvenir shops. The Rabbit learned that during the summer months the pier hosts many events free to the public, such as music concerts and movies under the stars.
Rabbit had a delightful stroll around the pier. While snacking on his cotton candy, he watched the rides and enjoyed the live music performed by a few buskers. He loved the energising and vibratious atmosphere combined with the stunning ocean views.
While exploring the pier Leo's Rabbit stopped by the huge sign marking the end of the legendary American highway, Route 66 (this 3,945 km long road only ended when the sea stood on its way!). Rabbit noticed that Route 66 is 2.8 times longer than the entire Great Britain (between its two extremities). Who knows what would have happened if there was no sea on the way of Route 66?!
Being in Los Angeles, the entertainment capitol of the world, Santa Monica Pier was featured in many Hollywood movies like Titanic, Forest Gump (there is even a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company Restaurant on the pier), Iron Man and many more. Leo's Rabbit liked the idea of following the footsteps of Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks and wondered if they also enjoyed a cotton candy while exploring the pier.
The glamour, celebrities and entertainment were not part of the pier's early days. The Rabbit was amazed by its humble beginnings in 1909, when it was first built as a public utility, a Municipal Pier with a pipeline underneath it to run treated sewage out to the ocean! Thankfully this process was soon discontinued. To learn more about the fascinating history of Santa Monica Pier (How the popular comic character 'Popeye' was created; Who designed the standard lifesaving tube used by lifeguards; What was the role of the pier during the WWII; Which artists and performers were part of the pier's community; How the pier survived and developed over the years) follow the Rabbit and click here (at your own risk... remember what's happened to Alice after she jumped down the rabbit hole :-) ). If you decide to make a trip and visit Santa Monica yourself, you can also take advantage of free historical walking tours of the pier offered Saturdays and Sundays at 11am and noon. Let's get these bags packed!
In the meantime there are live streaming views of the pier available for those who fancy a virtual tour. Leo's Rabbit will certainly watch them during 110 days of rain in England to bring back some sunny memories from Santa Monica beach.
Leo's Rabbit 'lives' in my handbag and he travels with us everywhere we go. He has pictures taken at various locations, tourist attractions and places we visit. As a part of this blog we will describe Leo's Rabbit Travels to share our personal experiences from these visits. Hopefully couple of people (apart from us :-) ) will find it interesting and may even feel encouraged to visit one of Rabbit's destinations.