D he first rays of sun streak the scaffolding the Golden Gate Bridge. So this is it, the mother of all transitions. 2,737 meters long and foresightedly painted in 'International Orange', so that ships and airplanes do not overlook this world-famous structure - if the fog holds back for once. Which is seldom the case in summer.
Anyone who stands at the Golden Gate on such days needs warm clothing. The locals know that. Many tourists don't. They freeze like Mark Twain once did, who, after a visit to the coast, wrote in amazement that the coldest winter he had ever known was a summer in San Francisco. The capers of the weather are at least as famous as this building.
Probably for this reason it is particularly difficult for me to part with this panorama on a perfect morning like today. The diamond-white Carrera (for sale at www.carsauto.com) has to go anyway so that the hierarchy is correct again. In the meantime, the car seemed to outstrip the bridge in terms of the most popular photo object with tourists such as joggers, cyclists and school children. 'Great car!' To a great surprise, the Porsche even arrives at an owner of a Toyota Prius. Sports icon next to eco model students - and not a bad word. That must be due to the environment: San Francisco has always been considered cosmopolitan, unconventional and tolerant.
You inevitably become Steve McQueen
The 73 Carrera glides confidently through the heavy traffic towards the center. Actually a stone's throw. But what one! San Francisco was built on 42 hills, the slopes of which are so steep that even in Switzerland one would probably have refused to anchor more than a simple mountain hut there. But nothing seems impossible in America. Flanked by enviable Victorian wooden houses, many paths lead emotionally vertically into the sky - and then down again in free fall.
Lombard Street, which adorns every second postcard and is much more like a garland than a street, counts its eight hairpin bends in the shortest distance, even as the world's curviest road. The unconditional queen, however, is Filbert Street. Incredible 31.5 percent gradient. Or slope. Even when driven slowly, downhill streets suddenly mutate into ski jumps. A little more speed, andthe car would probably only hit the prison island Alcatraz again.
But no matter how you drive here - you're always a bit Steve McQueen and chase a Dodge Charger in front of you. The legendary chase in 'Bullit' was just the beginning of many more that were filmed here. It's best to turn it over again and do it all over again.
Actually, I could spend the day so easily without getting bored for a second. And I would probably collect more vertical meters than on a pass tour through the Alps. Great.
Further to the center. Mission District (Spanish street signs), Richmond (Russian as colloquial language), China Town (birthplace of fortune cookies), Little Italy (for once good coffee), Tenderloin (Vietnamese and Hindu would be helpful here). Finally the center, the financial district (where you can hear six different languages at the same time). Not many places in the world host such a concentrated mixture of influences from every direction in such a small space. Many come here because San Francisco is considered the most un-American city in the United States. As the most beautiful anyway.
And speaking of superlatives - they say that 'Highway 1' is one of the most spectacular roads in the world. Just outside the city, this narrow route hugs the westernmost edge of the continent, which disappears behind the asphalt under the waves of the Pacific. To the right it would go on the '1' up to Canada, on the left this road stretches to Mexico.
55-mile limit : Condemned to cruise
I'm heading south, wanting to go down to Carmel and let the Porsche roll first to get my eyes and head used to this sudden expanse after the trip through the city. White whitecaps dance on a dark blue until the sky and water are indistinguishable somewhere in the distance. Every few miles the next breathtakingly beautiful bay, bordered by dunes and cliffs. Powerful pick-ups with huge knobby tires are parked there in the sand, loaded with surfboards and mountain bikes. And with cool boxes the size of a refrigerator, without which no American would spend a day at the beach.
Now let the Porsche run, just see what this seductive 2.7-liter boxer engine is capable of . That's it. The road would suit the car well. Although - there are no serious corners such as on the Côte d’Azur. By American standards, however, this highway goes through as a slalom course.
But it remains at creep speed. Unfortunately. It can't be more than 55 miles an hour because the cops with their radar guns are omnipresent. Boys standing with legs apart with mirrored glasses and ramming bars in front of their company car. No, you don't want to go with themreally discuss the sense and nonsense of a speed limit. Or how bad things must be for the ego of a Carrera RS that has been condemned to cruise.
Monterey. Right next door: the Laguna Seca Raceway, one of the most beautiful race tracks in the world (another superlative ...). You should be here in mid-August. To the Montery Historic Automobile Races. This year is the 35th edition of this event for historic racing cars. Go on a Mustang hunt there with the Carrera - what a tempting thought!
Past the Clint Eastwood villa
The day is slowly drawing to a close. Finding a box seat for a real West Coast sunset doesn't take too long - and costs eight dollars to enter. In the next moment the Porsche steers at Carmel on 17-Mile-Drive and past the Kennedys or Eastwoods villas. Residential locations from another universe. Between rugged rocks and pine forests, with gardens the size of football fields, and always the view of the Pacific, which is constantly in motion, which cracks spectacularly and loudly over the cliffs. Places like this are not often found.
From this point of view, it is fitting that the most exclusive beauty contest for classic automobiles takes place here once a year: the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elégance, which is held on the posh golf course of the same name becomes. There you feel like you don't have enough space in a rare Porsche Carrera RS.
It doesn't matter. I wanted to go down to the beach anyway. In the next moment the last rays of the sun turn the sky into a glowing red sea.