The 8 day trip started out with an absolutely must see stop at the Tsukiji Fish Market at 5 a.m. Even at that hour the place is bustling with activity. It is the largest seafood market in the world. The inner market is wholesale, where auctions take place. Tourists are currently able to watch the auctions, but sometimes tourists are not permitted. The outer market is both wholesale and retail shops that sell everything from Japanese kitchen tools to groceries, and of course fish. There are also restaurants, many of them specializing in sushi.
Tokyo offers many Kabuki theater performances. You don't even need to speak Japanese to understand. Kabuki is filled with exaggerated gestures and postures performed by an all male ensemble. Kabuki- Za is a great theater, and if you don't have four hours for the entire show you can often purchase tickets to see a single act.
For sushi Sukiyabashi Jiro Ginza is renowned not only from 3 Michelin Stars, but because of sushi master, Jiro Ono from the documentary, Jiro dreams of Sushi. However it is recommended if you go, you are accompanied by a fluent Japanese speaker. Sushi Miyako, like many sushi restaurants, has not made it on Michelin list. The sushi is great, and the atmosphere more casual than other more well known places.
The next stop on our whirlwind tour was Russia , where we stayed at Hotel Metropol. It is old school and dripping with luxury in Art Nouveau style. Constructed from 1899-1907 it is also rare because it is the largest existing hotels in Moscow prior to the Russian Revolution. Located in city center just across from Bolshoi Theater and other attractions, it is ideal for the traveler who seeks charm and character from a previous era.
Of course no visit to Russia is complete without a visit to the Kremlin in Moscow. Although there are other Kremlins in Russia , usually when people say "The Kremlin" this is the one they typically mean. The walls and towers were built in 1485-1495 by Italian masters. Originally there were 17 towers, three were added during the 17th century. Cathedral Square is a sight that pictures cannot capture, all the Tsars where crowned there. It is essentially the center of Moscow, with the Moskva River to the South, Saint Basil's Cathedral and Red Square to the East and Alexander Garden to the West. While in Russia it's worth it to visit the Kremlin Armory Museum, where ten of the Imperial Easter Eggs are displayed. Even if you are only able to visit Moscow for a day the Fabergé Eggs and jewels are definitely on the to do list.
After Moscow we jetted off to London. We stayed at Claridge's and enjoyed afternoon tea. It's certainly a splurge but it's like entering another world, complete with art deco grandeur restored by architect, Theirry Despont. The afternoon tea is a treasure trove of the best of the best English tea service and quite possibly the most decadent. The splendor of the hotel itself are beautifully matched by each masterpiece of petit four and tea cake. It's no wonder Claridge's Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn and even guests of the royal family have been known to stay there.
From London we flew to Florida for the Daytona 500. Over 200,000 people attend to watch the race which has been called the "Super Bowl of Car Racing". Depending on the outcome of the race careers can be launched or lost, and at this speed it is riveting to be even a spectator. And if you have time while in Daytona visit the beach. The sand is unbelievably warm most of the year and the water glistens. We basically just were there for the race so we did not get to fully experience the area.
Finally we traveled to the other side of the country. Back in L.A. James signed his Hollywood star. L.A. can make you feel like you have ADHD, because there is so much to do and see. Malibu is great. There is so much to do but I love kayaking during the day to take in the view from the water. My hotspots are Nobu for dinner in town ,Tower Bar. The Getty Museum is worth the trip. Downtown L.A. is really fun now, check out the art district and Japan town. Places to stay for a true California feeling are Bel Air Hotel or Beverly Hills hotel. Take a hike near the Hollywood sign, off Canyon Drive. Griffith Park is also a great place for walking and seeing the city from a different perspective. L.A. is bursting with something for everyone. Of course, Hollywood is home to me so it's always great to be back and hang out with my friends after travel.
Every city on our world tour featured its own unique personality. Interestingly enough sometimes you can get a better sense of the city itself by visiting things that are considered somewhat touristy. That is because part of the city's story is woven into those places. Which why even though it might sound cliche, it is worth it to visit archetypical places sometimes because they give you insight into the city's idiosyncrasies.