Santa Monica Bay: one-on-one with the ocean

Santa Monica Bay: one-on-one with the ocean

The Californian beach in all its splendour and vastness, with muscular surfers and lifeguards, and spectacular sunsets.

This idyllic setting is such a favourite TV and film location that you feel like you've already been here, even though you may be visiting for the first time. Santa Monica had starring roles in Forrest Gump, Rocky III, The Sting, and Iron Man.

The Harley-Davidsons of the world make their pilgrimages here, as the Santa Monica Pier is the last stop on the legendary Route 66, America's most famous transcontinental route, and a thoroughfare for early settlers an eternity ago. Stroll along Main Street and the Third Street Promenade with the joggers and rollerbladers. The streets are lined with cinemas, shops, and bars.

There is an amusement park at the end of the pier with a roller coaster and a 1920s merry-go-round. A few steps further, and you will find yourself sitting on the terrace of an old pub that is popular with fishermen. You are now at the end of the world.