I went to LA for a wedding and ended up fruit picking with strangers Downtown LA from Beverly Hills
In 2017, I was lucky enough to be invited to, not one, but two weddings and one of them was taking place in Palm Springs, California. A few years ago, I visited San Francisco and I enjoyed it, but, to my surprise I enjoyed Southern California even more! Let me tell you why.

Discovering Los Angeles and my first Airbnb experience

Los Angeles has the reputation of being a city where you can’t go anywhere without a car and this is definitely the case, but with apps like Uber, owning a car is not the only option anymore. Another transportation option I wasn’t expecting to be convenient in LA was the bike. I had booked my first Airbnb experience (ever) and it was a Beverly Hills Bike Tour.

When I arrived at the bike shop, they told me I was the only one who had booked that tour and they offered for me to join another group instead for a much bigger tour that would take me all around LA county. It sounded like a lot of cycling (around 30 miles!) but it also was an upgrade that would allow me to visit all the different neighbourhoods and not just Beverly Hills. So, I saw an opportunity there and I said yes! I think I did well because this tour completely shifted my perspective and I discovered that LA was not all about the cars, but could also be very enjoyable by bike. The variety of urban and natural landscapes is astonishing. We started with a glamourous tour of the famous mansions in Beverly Hills and Bel Air and then we went all the way until the ocean, from Santa Monica to Venice and back to West Hollywood. I absolutely loved it. The weather was incredible, the guide was really nice and I met great people who were doing the tour with me and with whom I’m still in touch today.

My bike and I in front of Santa Monica Beach
My bike and I in front of Santa Monica Beach

It made me realise that the fact that Los Angeles is so spread out can be a good thing and allowed us to have a long and enjoyable bike ride from the mountains to the beachside. I also recognise that the guide, Dan, helped us really enjoy this ride as he knew exactly where to go and made everything so smooth. When we were in Venice beach, someone mentioned a Netflix show that was all about this neighbourhood, Flaked, and I had a lot of fun watching it afterwards! Booking a bike tour is now on my list anywhere I go.

Meeting Army

A few days after, I was on my way to my second Airbnb experience which was located in the South of LA. I booked it because its originality appealed to me and it seemed in touch with the local community which is everything I’m looking for when I travel. The experience was called Harvest Trade & Lemonade. When I arrived, I was the only one who signed up that day, a private experience, great news! Just in time to meet my host, Army, and we were already on our way to explore the neighbour’s trees in her Jeep.

Picking pomegranate
Picking pomegranate

We started with a beautiful pomegranate tree and we started picking them up with a special tool I had never seen before (I guess I’m an urban person): a fruit picker basket! It was quite a challenge but I managed to pick up some fruits and it felt amazing.

We then went to pick up lemons and oranges in the back yard of a friend of a friend of Army’s a few more blocks away. I thought this experience was such a great idea since so many people don’t have time to pick fruit in their own garden, it would be a shame if no one picked them. What’s more, each time, Army offered to give some fruit to the tree owners, so it’s a win-win situation.

While we were hopping from garden to garden, Army was also giving me a tour of the area. It was gorgeous, with a beautiful sunset over the ocean. Upon our return to her house, we used the fruits we had just picked to make lemonade and a gigantic fruit salad to go. I had such a great time and I enjoyed getting to know Army, she’s a beautiful person!

Time for fruit cooking!

When Army heard about Take Me Cooking, she got curious and thought it would be nice to cook the fruits in whole recipes and host a cooking experience. So, I am happy to announce today that you can now book a fruity cooking experience with Army on www.takemecooking.com (and it includes fruit picking!).

Army in her beautiful kitchen
Army in her beautiful kitchen

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