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-   -   My first ED trip report (tons of photos) September 2012 (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=649942)

pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:23 PM

My first ED trip report (tons of photos) September 2012
 
This is my trip report for my first ever European Delivery. It was also the first time my friend and I have been to Europe. This forum is what had got me interested in having this experience. I have been researching this trip for almost a year. I want to thank everyone who contributed information to me on these forums that made my two week European trip an amazing experience. The input I received from this forum made the trip go extremely smooth. I am posting this report in hopes it may help someone else that is considering doing European delivery. Two words of advice for anyone considering doing European delivery - DO IT!

As far as camera equipment, we brought my Canon 60D DSLR with 18-135 mm Canon lens, a Samsung point and shoot, and our iPhone 4S's.

My car I took delivery of was a 2013 328xi Sports Line, Melbourne Red Metallic, Leather Dakota Black/Red highlight, Anthracite wood trim w/ highlight trim finishers in pearl gloss chrome, Cold Weather Package, Lighting Package, Premium Package, Technology Package, Sports automatic transmission w/ paddle shifters, Rear view camera, Park distance control, Auto high beams, and Harman Kardon surround sound system. I currently have a 2009 328xi in Montego Blue. This will be my 4th BMW.



Sunday September 9

Depart PIT 1345 USAir 1169 (Airbus A319)
Arrive CLT 1512

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This was our carry on and checked luggage. We each also had a backpack. All bags were stuffed beyond capacity. We wondered how we could possibly bring anything back we bought. We ended up buying another suitcase in Vienna. Next time we wont be the typical crazy American tourist and pack a bit lighter.

I love flying through Charlotte. Its a nice airport, and we had time to grab a Jamba Juice and a burger at Bad Daddy's.

Depart CLT 1710 Lufthansa 429 (Airbus A340-600)

Lufthansa was an amazing airline. Service was excellent. Food was good and plentiful, free unlimited drinks (which we took advantage of), touch screen entertainment system at each seat in economy class. We took advantage of the Lufthansa-BMW discount which saved us a couple hundred dollars.



Monday September 10

Arrive MUC 0750

Cleared customs and met Peter after baggage claim. Peter drove us to BMW Niederlassung which is a corporate owned BMW dealership where he walked across the street to ADAC (German auto club) to purchase vignettes for the car. Peter then drove us to change our dollars to euros at the main train station. He then drove us to check in at:

Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Kempinski Munich
Maximilianstr. 17 Munich, 80539, BY, Germany
49892125270
(hotel has free wi-fi and valet parking in a secure garage and they will let you keep your key)

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Peter picking us up at MUC.

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Allianz Arena

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First time on a German Autobahn. Peter explained the traffic laws and signs to us.

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BMW Niederlassung

pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:24 PM

We took a 2 hour nap since we were tired from the flight and went sightseeing. We walked to Mierenplatz and saw the Glockenspiel. We had our first beer at the small beer garden in Mierenplatz. We then walked to St. Peter's church and climbed the 387 steps to the top for an amazing view (must see). We then walked to Viktualienmarkt where we had another beer at Wirtsgarten then went back to the hotel.

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The first of thousands of steps we climbed on this trip. Be in shape and bring comfortable walking shoes!

pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:26 PM

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:27 PM

We ate dinner at Hofbrauhaus (mushroom pot, pretzel, original sausage platter) and of course had a beer. We then returned to the hotel and went to bed early.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:28 PM

Tuesday September 11

Woke up and walked to Mierenplatz to take U3 underground to BMW Welt. We checked in, signed the book, and went to the Premium Lounge to eat breakfast. We then met Sven our delivery specialist and took delivery of the car. After the victory lap, I had the car valet at the Welt and went on the English speaking factory tour (must see). After the tour we ate lunch at the Premium Lounge. We then went to the gift shop and got our keychain. From there, we went through the BMW museum. After the museum we drove back to the hotel.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:30 PM

Here is Prince Melbourne (delivery specialist Sven said it was a “he”):
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:31 PM

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Leaving the Welt:
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:32 PM

We walked to Max-Joseph Platz and toured the treasury. We then walked to the Hofgarten where we had a beer at Luigi Tambosi and returned to the hotel.

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Our power adaptor craziness:
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We spent the night at the bars and apparently taking pictures on the way back to the hotel
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:33 PM

Wednesday September 12

Ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant (2 club sandwiches, 2 orange juices and a bottle of water for 90 euro – yes 90 euro). We then checked out of the hotel and drove to a Munich gas station and filled up the tank for the first time.

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leaving Munich
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We drove to Prague on the Autobahns
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We checked in to Hotel Louren
Slezska 55, Prague, Czech Republic
420224250025
(free wifi and self parked the car in a secure guarded lot in a courtyard a block away)

This is why we paid for the secure parking in Parague
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After we rested, we mistakenly took a trolley rather than the underground to go out to dinner and got lost at the end of the trolley line when the trolley stopped running. The trolley driver drove us to a spot where we found a taxi outside of a bar. The cabbie was inside drinking and gambling and took us back to the hotel for 180kc. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was too late to do anything.

pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:34 PM

Thursday September 13

We ate the free breakfast at the hotel.

We took the underground to Malostranska. We walked the 208 steps to Prague Castle complex. We climbed the 297 steps to the top of the Cathedral of St. Vitus (must see). We toured the Cathedral, the Basilica of St. George, the Royal Palace and the rest of the complex.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:37 PM

We then walked to the funicular that took us to the Petrin Tower. We took the elevator up and climbed down the 299 steps from the observation deck.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:38 PM

We then walked to the Charles Bridge and went across. We walked to the Staromestska stop of the underground and took it back to the hotel.

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After resting, we took the underground to Staromestska and walked through the Old Town Square. We got on the underground again and got of at Malostranska where we walked to eat at Certovka on the bank of the Charles River (plate of various Czech cheeses and butters, beef straganoff, old Bohemian platter). We then took the underground back to the hotel.

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It was freezing and instead of turning the outdoor heaters on, they gave us blankets.
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:38 PM

Friday September 14

We ate breakfast at the hotel and checked out. We drove to Parizska Street to shop. We walked to Old Town Square and ate at the food vendors there (halushki and raspberry crepe).

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We drove to Vienna getting off the autobahns and taking the back roads the last half of the journey.
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We checked into the Hilton Vienna Plaza (they charged for wi-fi, but we stayed on executive suite with free meals and booze in the executive lounge, we self parked in their secure parking garage)
Schottenring 11, Vienna, Austria 431313900

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We ate lunch in the executive lounge at the hotel and rested.

We walked to Theophil to eat dinner (filet, rocket salad, red beet soup, chicken). It was an excellent meal and then drank sweet after dinner wine and talked to the family who owned the café. I would highly recommend eating there.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:39 PM

Saturday September 15

We ate breakfast at the hotel's executive lounge. We then took the trolley to the Hofburg Palace. We toured the Schatzkammer (treasury), Neue Hofburg (arms museum), Sisi Museum, Kaiserappartements (Imperial apartments) and Augustinerkirche. The Spanische Hofreitschule (horses) was closed for a special event. We then walked to St. Stephens Cathedral and back to the hotel.

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This is said to be a nail from the crucifixion of Jesus:
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:40 PM

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We ate dinner at the executive lounge at the hotel then went out to the bars.
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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:40 PM

Sunday September16

We ate breakfast at the hotel’s executive lounge and checked out.

We drove to Berchtesgaden and ate lunch (goulash and salad) at a café across the street from the Eagles Nest Historical Tour.
We took the Eagles Nest Historical Tour in English (must do). The tour took us on a bus past the former Nazi sites in Berchtesgaden including Hitler’s house, bunker and teahouse, Bormann’s house, Goring’s house and to the Documentation Center and bunker complex. We then took another bus to the bottom of the Eagles Nest where we took and elevator into the house. We then walked up the mountain overlooking the Eagles Nest for an amazing view.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:40 PM

We drove to Salzburg and checked in at the Hotel Goldener Hirsch (free wifi, valet parking in a secure garage and let me keep the key) Getreidegasse, Salzburg, Austria. We then walked to Nagomi and ate dinner (good Japanese food) and explored the shopping area.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:41 PM

Monday September 17

We ate breakfast at McDonald’s Café next to the hotel. We found it funny that they charged .35 euro for a packet of ketchup and it wasn’t even Heinz. We walked past Motzart’s birthplace to the funicular that we took to the Hohen Salzburg Fortress. We took the fortress tour. We rode the funicular back down and walked around shopping.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:41 PM

We then drove to the Salzburg Airport and toured the Red Bull Hangar 7 and ate lunch at their outdoor cafe (burger, chicken sandwich, salad, fries).

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:41 PM

We drove the back roads to Mittenwald and checked in at the Post Hotel (free wi-fi and self parking in gated lot) Obermarkt, 82481, Mittenwald, Germany.

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We ate at Alpenrose (bacon dumpling soup, French onion soup, apple pancake, mushroom puff pastry).

Tuesday September 18

We ate breakfast at hotel then walked to the Karwendel cable car, and took it to the top of the mountain and back (must do). We then walked through the shops in the town and checked out.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:42 PM

We drove to the Stelvio Pass (must do) and stopped at the top for a slice of pizza at the pizzeria that was out of pizza.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:43 PM

We then drove down Stelvio Pass to Lake Como (no highways and a lot of slow traffic).

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We checked in at the Hotel Albergo Lenno (free wi-fi and self parking in secure garage)Via Lomazzi, 22016, Lenno, Italy

We walked to dinner at Trattoria S. Stefano (pasta in tomato sauce, pasta carbonara, salads) in Leno Plaza. We had gelato for desert on the walk back to the hotel.

pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:43 PM

Wednesday September 19

We ate breakfast at the hotel then took the ferry to Bellagio. We used a public phone to call the Cavalcalario Club to find out about horseback riding. The owner (Lucca) said he would pick us up at the Bellagio post office in a half an hour. We ate a piece of pizza and gelato near the ferry dock while waiting to be picked up. Lucca picked us up and drove us to his house where he set us up with two horses to ride. We went on an hour ride for 30 euro and Lucca followed us on his bicycle. Lucca then rode us back down to the Bellagio ferry dock where we walked around the shops. We took the ferry back to the hotel stopping at various towns on the lake.

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We rested and then drove to Cadenabbia to take the ferry, which runs later than the one by the hotel. We then took the ferry to Bellagio and walked to eat at Salice Blue (the best meal we had in Europe – pasta with lobster sauce, seafood scampi, beef tenderloin, chocolate soufflé). The owner and chef, Luigi, rode us down to the ferry dock so we wouldn’t miss the last ferry back to Cadenabbia.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:43 PM

Thursday September 20

We ate breakfast at the hotel and checked out and drove to Fussen where we had reservations for the castle tour. We picked up our tickets and rode a horse carriage to Neuschwanstein Castle. We did the castle tour and walked back down to our car. We drove to the BMW castle photo spot and took the obligatory photo.

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Our excess of luggage we brought
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driving through Switzerland
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We then drove to and checked in to Kempenski Hotel Airport Munich (fee for wi-fi, but self parking in secure garage) Terminalstrasse Mitte 20 Schwaig-Oberding, 85356, BY, Germany. We ate dinner at the hotel bar (goulash, dim sum) and then packed our many bags for the trip home.

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pawarrant 10-04-2012 05:44 PM

Friday September 21

We woke up and drove to the Agip Station near the MUC airport. We washed the car in the wash bay. We then drove to Log In Out next to our hotel where we returned the car for its long trip to the States. We ate breakfast at the hotel, and walked to the airport. We turned in our duty free receipts and changed our euros back to USD.

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Depart MUC 1125 Lufthansa 428 (Airbus A340-600)
Arrive CLT 1515

Depart CLT 1640 USAir 1190 (Boeing 737-4004)
Arrive PIT 1805

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So after 13 days, 2263 kilometers (1406 miles), and 6 countries, here are some interesting observations from our first trip to Europe:

Except for Italy, the roads were incredible. The roads are in excellent shape compared to the roads in the US. There are very few if any stop signs in most places. Traffic is designed to flow. They use traffic circles and yield signs rather than stop signs and red lights. We never saw any police on the highways in any country. It seems speed is controlled by cameras rather than traffic cops. There are speed cameras every few miles on the highways. The speeds are generally posted higher than we are used to driving in the US. 130 KPH (80 MPH) Germany (where it is limited), Austria, Italy, and Czech Republic. They do have frequent speed reduction zones for tunnels and urban interchange areas. The speed limit sign is only posted once, so you have to pay attention because there are usually speed cameras after the change in speed is posted. In Italy, the roads are not in as good of shape and are very narrow.

The hotels are generally smaller than what we are used to in the states. If you reserve a room with one Queen or King bed, you will get 2 double mattresses pushed together in a frame with two sets of double sheets and comforters. The bathrooms everywhere we stayed besides Germany had bidets in them, which I've never seen before. All the bathrooms had heated towel racks, which was interesting. None of the hotels we stayed in had ice machines or vending machines of any kind. We brought the standard 110v-220v European electrical converters that we bought in the states. They worked, but we found the European plugs are recessed in a hole, so it was hard for the converters to plug in. If you bumped them, they fell out, as there was nothing holding them into the outlet. Their outlets only accommodate 1 plug, so bringing an outlet strip to plug into the converter is a good idea. Also, their plugs and the converters we bought do not have a third prong, so you may want to bring a three prong to one prong adaptor to pug in your outlet strip to the converter. This doesn't affect anything, but we also found it interesting that all of the light switches in Europe are large toggle buttons, not anything we have here. We also found it odd that most of their doors are hinged on the outsides of the door frames not inside the frame like our doors. Also, in the small hotels the elevators are super small. A couple of the hotels had one man elevators and we could barely fit our suitcases in with us going one at a time up the elevator.

All of the food we ate was really good. We found it interesting that their breakfast foods are lunchmeats and cheeses. They do not have traditional breakfast foods like cooked eggs and waffles unless you are in an Americanized hotel. Also, most of their drinks are carbonated. The water and most of the drinks in gas stations coolers are carbonated. You must ask for "still" water if you want regular water like we drink here in the US.

Everywhere we went with the exception of the Czech Republic is very English speaking friendly. Pretty much every younger German or Austrian speaks excellent English, as they start learning it at the same time as their native language in school. Outside of the tourist areas in the Czech republic, we could not find anyone that spoke English. Even in the touristy spots it was hard finding anyone that spoke English on the street.

As far as spending money, Europe was more expensive than the states with the exception of restaurants. We were surprised that the meals at good restaurants were reasonably priced compared to the same types of places in the states. The Czech Republic was generally less expensive than Austria and Germany it seemed. I would advise you to ask for a duty free tax receipt when making purchases at shops in Europe. If you spend over a certain amount (Germany 25 euro, Austria 75 euro, Czech Republic 2001 czk, Italy 155 euro), you can get a percentage back from the VAT tax when you leave Europe. We just took our duty free receipts we got to the German customs office at Munich Airport who stamped them (they may inspect the goods you purchased but they didn't for us). They have a Tax refund office in the airport, which took our stamped receipts and gave us cash back. We got about 7% back in cash from our receipts, which was a nice surprise when leaving.

All of the places we visited were amazing and I would go back to see them again. I like Munich the best as a place I could live. It was so friendly and clean and a perfect balance of modern high tech western culture mixed with old European history. Prague was the most beautiful city we visited. The mountains in Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland were just breathtaking. There was so much history to take in throughout this trip. It was truly an amazing must do experience. I am so glad I lease my car, because that gives me an opportunity to do this every three years, which I am certain I will!


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