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Capital Of The Beauty Business – Los Angeles Is Always On The Go

Los Angeles (dpa) – Los Angeles is truly gigantic. Beneath its veil of haze, 16 million people call the city their home. Most fans of San Francisco never feel completely comfortable in L.A. – but they’re not really expected to, are they?

Only a few corners near the beach in L.A. can remind visitors of the former driving-force behind the Flower Power revolution which lies 1,000 kilometres to the north.

As the home of the movie business, L.A. has much more to offer in the way of glamour and beauty, and possibly the most beautiful people to be found anywhere in the United States. It would also appear that the fitness craze was originally started somewhere between Malibu and Laguna Beach.

Interestingly, most of the city’s broad beaches with their fine, clean sand are relatively quiet with little more to interrupt the panoramic views than the occasional resident walking or jogging by, a few families on the pier at Hermosa Beach and of course the surfers at Manhattan Beach. Sunbathing is no longer part of the Californian way of life.

The asphalt promenades running alongside the beaches are where things are really taking place and even sport a white line down the middle at places to keep things moving in both directions. This is an El Dorado for joggers, skaters and cyclists – with wonderful sunsets thrown in free of charge.

Those who prefer something softer beneath their feet can head for a walk along the 10-km nature path which runs parallel to the coast between Hermosa in the south and Manhattan Beach in the north.

Venice Beach may still sound chic, but it is actually the dirtiest beach in the whole of Los Angeles, whereas Santa Monica can get pretty crowded at the weekend but is still worth the trip.

Visitors are met with beautifully painted wooden houses in white, pink and blue with lovingly-tended gardens full of exotic blooms all year round.

The song, “It never rains in Southern California”, did not get it quite right. Showers are a feature of spring here, although the Pacific climate ensures that the clouds never stay too long. Then it’s back on with the trainers or rollerblades and time to crank up the walkman.

Even the most reluctant fitness freaks eventually feel the urge to get on the move after a few days in Los Angeles and, whether they choose a little light exercise or a yoga session on the beach or a spell of meditation, L.A.residents are open-minded enough to accept almost anything which is good for the health.

A car is the perfect mode of transport for L.A., although a round trip of the city by bus – as offered by Gray Line – also makes a good alternative.

Its “Best of L.A.” tour lasts five hours, costs between 17.50 dollars and 35 dollars, depending on the number of passengers, and takes in all the major sights including Beverly Hills, Bel Air and the legendary Sunset Strip. Then again, what would Los Angeles be without Hollywood and the legends of the silver screen?

No film studio offers more in the way of glamour than Sony Pictures Entertainment (10202 Washington Blvd, Culver City). Tours started taking visitors around the 40-hectare studio site only a few months ago.

They include genuine Art Deco administration buildings, 22 film sets which have been retained – including a reconstruction of a thriving city street complete with skyscraping tower blocks – and the services of a well-informed guide to take visitors through the film lots.

The two-hour trip costs 20 dollars per head, however, children under 12 will not be admitted. Children from the age of 10 are welcome on Hollywood’s Paramount Studios tour where the two-hour tour costs 15 dollars per person.

Visitors stand the best chance of witnessing genuine film-making on the studio sets between mid-January and mid-March and from mid- August until mid-December.

Those who are less interested in this reconstructed side of the city would be better advised to head for the new Getty Center in the Beverly Hills area of L.A. which has been made possible through the estate of the oil billionaire John Paul Getty. The collection of buildings making up the Center are a work of art in themselves – light stone, geometric forms, broken here and there by gardens with the most unbelievable floral displays.

The panoramic views of L.A. offered from the Center are truly impressive and, even from here, it is impossible to see the edge of the city. The value of the exhibits contained within the buildings – from Picassos to van Gogh’s “Iris” – is similarly boundless.

The exhibits in the Getty Museum are organised around particular themes rather than chronologically which means that pieces from very different periods and centuries can be found next to one another.

Beside the collection of various styles of antique furniture, there is also an interactive room which allows visitors to try out what they have learned during their visit – for, example, whether they can tell the difference between a Biedermeier couch and another from a different period.

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