A short guide to L.A. in five streets – 3) Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive cuts into two parts the big metropolis – actually it is right from Mulholland that you realize how huge Los Angeles is- but it is not at all an urban setting. No gastronomic advice to give, no shopping tips,  but some spectacular views of Hollywood, the whole L.A. basin, the Hollywood Bowl, the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park Observatory, Universal Studios and the “Valley”.

Mulholland Drive is a long curvy road on the crest of the Santa Monica mountains. A real beauty she is, a dangerous beauty. It reveals gorgeous views especially at night and people say it is a favorite spot for lovers, suicide candidates and photographers.

Mulholland Drive is home to some of the most exclusive and most expensive houses in the world. Many of these homes, including the one of Jack Nicholson, are set back from the road and offer outstanding views of Downtown Los Angeles. Most of the time you can’t see them from the road. They are hidden by many different kinds of beautiful trees, huge eucalyptus trees – my favorites – pines, groves, oaks…no palm trees though.

Mulholland Drive is also a film, David Lynch‘s masterpiece, a non linear, noir psychological thriller which starts with a car wreck on the winding heights of Mulholland Drive. The film features wonderful performances by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring in the lead roles of young women whose lives intersect in various ways. Lynch was awarded the Best Director prize in Cannes in 2001. This film – Lynch had actually in mind a TV series – is a real cult with several fan clubs andI nternet sites about it.

Yesterday late afternoon, I was in Brentwood and decided to go up and watch the sunset from Mulholland. Impossible to even think of getting there through the hyper busy 405. I took Sunset Blvd instead, then Beverly Drive and the beautiful Coldwater Canyon Drive. When I got  on Mulholland, I drove east. It is great fun to drive there, you have to concentrate on driving and only from time to time have a glance at the awesome views. First on the immensity of the “Valley” – Van Nuys, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Panorama City, Burbank – then on Downtown LA, Hollywood and further west to the Ocean if the foggy layers of pollution were not there. As I said, no “gastronomic mile” on Mulholland Drive. Still, I was hungry. I drove to the intersection with Cahuenga Blvd – by the way, Woodrow Wilson Drive, where Harry Bosch lives, is just there –  and went down to Hollywood Blvd for a Martini and pork chops at Musso and Franks…real beautiful.

So, this was my Mulholland experience, now read what David Lynch says about it“It’s a mysterious road. It’s rural in many places. It’s curvy, it’s two lanes, it feels old. It was built long ago, and it hasn’t changed too much. And at night, you ride on top of the world. In the daytime you ride on top of the world too, but it’s mysterious, and there’s a hair of fear because it goes into remote areas. You feel the history of Hollywood in that road.”

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