in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is virtually a second home for Nicolas, since he spent some of his school years there. So it is always very special for him if he is able to spend time in the "City of Angels" for professional reasons. Whether summer or winter, LA has plenty to offer for every taste. In summer it's the perfect place to spend sunny hours on the beach, and in winter – the "Awards season" – you can see the stars and wannabes being celebrated at events such as the Oscars and the Golden Globes.
The second-biggest city in the United States is also the cultural and business heart of California and, in addition to all the renowned universities, is known in particular for Hollywood, the heart of the American film industry. SWISS flies daily to Los Angeles (LAX) from Zurich (ZRH).
Nicolas's favourite way to start the day is with a long stroll through Santa Monica, ending up at True Foods – a restaurant that delights with its market-fresh, entirely vegetarian products and fabulous non-alcoholic cocktails: "It's proper soul food!"
After some refreshment, he continues along the promenade towards Venice. This is where locals and tourists, cyclists, skaters, joggers and strollers gather. Nicolas spent many sunny and relaxing hours here during his school days. And whenever he's in LA on a layover, he heads back here in the evenings. Most of all, the 26-year-old loves the feeling that comes over him as he walks along the long road under the blue sky: "This here is 100% California! I feel as if I were in a TV show or film!"
Those who fancy a sporting challenge can compare themselves with the muscle men and women in what is probably the world's best-known open-air gym. Muscle Beach is open to the public, and is considered the birthplace of the American fitness boom in the 20th century. "It's a popular place for photos, and all the big names such as Arnold Schwarzenegger have worked out here!"
Just around the corner is Venice Skatepark – one of the few skate parks in the world that is right on a beach. The part was constructed in 2009, and designed by local skaters and international skating pros. Nicolas enjoys watching them perform their tricks, and sometimes even strikes up a conversation with them: "You can meet interesting people from all over the world!"
Nicolas spends the afternoon in Beverly Hills – the part of the city that is known to people all over the world from countless series and films. He finds that the area has its own, entirely unique character. "It's always fun to drive along the famous streets with their palm trees and admire the fabulous villas! I always wonder who is inside them ..."
Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills is where people with plenty of money come to shop for exclusive international brands. "I've managed to find the odd treasure or two here that still means a tremendous amount to me today," he enthuses. It's no less appealing to car-lovers, who will be delighted to see an endless array of "exotics" parked up outside the countless boutiques and restaurants.
After the long afternoon in the sun, Nicolas's stomach is making its presence felt again. Fortunately, the Beverly Wilshire Hotel is just around the corner. It serves delicious cocktails and snacks of exclusive quality. The luxury hotel is also known to us from films and TV: it's where Richard Gere stayed with Julia Roberts in the film "Pretty Woman", and series such as "Beverly Hills Cops" and "Sex and the City" also contain scenes that were shot here. Nicolas practises his people-watching over a drink and snack. He sums it up: "You always see one or the other famous face!"
But what would a visit to Los Angeles, without seeing the city from above at least once? Lookout points are ten a penny here. But Nicolas has a very special tip for fabulous views of the city by night: the bar at The Standard Hotel in Down Town LA is at half-height. "Which means the views both down and up are like something out of a film! And the pool is pretty special, too!" He has celebrated several birthdays here with friends in the past. But actually, whatever the day, it's the perfect place to wind down at the end of an eventful day in LA.