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ED Report (335i Coupe Montego/Coral)
I don’t feel like describing the whole trip, day by day … instead let me mention some of the main highlights and tips that I know will help others.
First thing first – if you are, like I was a newbie in the ED world and you have your doubts … to do it or not to, then “read my lips”: DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Time: 1 month (Sept/Oct 2007)
Vehicle: 2007 335i Coupe 6MT, Montego Blue on Coral Red
Miles/Km traveled: 3572 miles/5750Km
Countries: Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, France, Spain (for about 5 miles ;-)
Journey: Munich, Prague, bunch of places in CZ (Karlstejn, Telc, etc.), Venice, San Gimignano, Florence, Voltera, Siena, Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano, Orvieto, Civita, Pitigliano, Sovana (Etrusca), Porto Ercole, Pisa, Cinque Terre (Vernazza), Portofino, Monaco, Eze, Cannes, Saint Tropez, Toulon, Cassis (Route des Cretes), Marseille, Carcassonne, Rennes-le-Chateau, Cathar castles, Collioure, Arles (Provence), Grand Canyon du Verdon, Nice
Lufthansa 2 for 1: was far the cheapest option at that time of the year; decent airline, on time with no baggage problems; besides that “cattle class” (coach) is same everywhere …
Delivery in Munich: now, pointless to describe how/where/etc. since the BMW Welt is open now. Overall it kind of felt like going to rent a car (which I think is a good thing). Very fast in-and-out. Seeing the car for the first time was pretty special.
Driving in Europe: overall no biggie, but I might be biased since I am “from there” and learned how to drive there … but I admit that some of these little medieval towns with super narrow streets might be intimidating – just fold your mirrors and you’ll be fine. Go crazy on German autobahns, follow the “around 10%+” margin on freeways in CZ, IT and FR. Follow the speedlimits in Austria – cops everwhere.
Haven’t seen cope in Italy, very few in France.
Top places: Hey, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but here I few I liked the most on this trip. I am excluding all Czech places, since I am from there and obviously biased. With that though I cannot recommend Czech Republic more – still slightly forgotten (except Prague) compare to other EU top places and the food and beer is excellent and still relatively cheap compare to the rest of the Europe.
Ok … top places:
Civita di Bagnoregio (absolutely stunning medieval Italian hill town close to Orvieto)
Cathar country (Aude province in southern France … very mysterious-kind-of-feeling there … read about Cathars before you go)
Tuscany (this whole region is simply FANTASTIC – landscape, culture, food, architecture)
Venice (no need for any explanation)
San Gimignano (our “best town” we stayed in Tuscany)
Cinque Terre (whole park is amazing … we stayed in Vernazza, which we consider the best)
Rennes-le-Chateau (if you are into Da Vinci code/Holy Grail stuff then this place is must)
Roussillon (“red” hill town in southern France Luberon region)
Top experiences -to my surprise this time the top of the list made the art we saw ... I guess I am getting old
Signoreli’s frescos in Orvieto’s cathedral and mosaic in Florence Baptistery are simply stunning. Another one is DaVinci’s “Annunciation” painting in Uffizi gallery. Eavesdrop on some tour-guide while she is explaining the painting …
Vine tasting in both Montepulciano (Toscany) and Chateauneuf-du-Pape (Provence)
Rennes-le-Chateau ... I think everyone heard about Holy Grail/Da Vinci Code stuff ... well the church in this little forgotten town is very interesting ;-)
Le Pays Cathare - not only historically fascinating, but also the whole countryside in Aude province is simply beautiful
Top drives: drive between Rennes-le-Chateau and castle Monsegur: imagine beautiful, mostly deserted, perfect conditions country roads; lined by alleys of autumn collored trees. You fly through with you "ultimate-driving-machine" and in the rear view mirror watch the leafs to settle back on the road ...
Pretty much all side roads in Czech were fun ...
Gorges de Galamus - that is cool drive with any car ...
Corniche des Crêtes - a must road near Cassis ...
Top meals: on the top of the list, totally unexpected and unplanned, visit of a newly renovated Cafe Imperial in Prague (Na Porici 15). The gnocchi with champagne sauce sprinkled with shaved truffles were absolutely delicious ...
Next one would be dinner in Vernazza (unfortunately I forgot the name, but it’s right on the main square facing water – pesto sauce pasta … hmmmmmmm jummmmmy!!!!
Home made bruschetta in Civita was also stellar …
Also necessary to mention is a Café Dali in Collioure in southern France. Heavenly food and fantastic staff.
And finally the car: well, let me not repeat all the positives. We all know them. The car is simply stunning. I realized that in full extend when I got back from the trip and have to drive my “old”, 2004 Infiniti G35 Coupe 6MT. WHAT A DIFFERENCE. It was actually funny, the first few miles in that “thing” when I got back. It felt like driving my first Skoda back in 1990. Well, the wait will be hopefully over soon.
I want to mention only one (minor) “spoiler” – the whole iDrive with Navigation is simply CRAP. Overall the car is setting very, very high standard so when BMW puts this “wonderful” iDrive thing in, excuse me, it feels like having a Rolex watch with flimsy, worn, rubber band … $2000+ for that? Sorry, I don’t think so. Don’t make me wrong – for the integration I would get it again, but it simply puts a black spot on otherwise flawless, beautiful machine wonder. And all that “you have to get used to it” is another BS. The car is simply not worth it such a crappy, underdeveloped and technologically-behind system.
Ok, enough … I am too long already anyway. Pictures of the car follow. Pictures from the trip are on my flicker page (under “Eurotrip”) http://www.flickr.com/photos/radimek/ . Some of the first pictures of the car were already posted here http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...ght=335+monday
Oh yeah, fellow ED “doers” – I have seen you: Red 335 Coupe in Siena; Gray 335 sedan in Arles and I think I have caught a glimpse of another 335 sedan near Pont du Gard around 10.11.2007. Identify yourself!
Pictures: 1. here we go; 2. not proud of this one ; 3. somewhere in Tuscany; 4. Nice dropoff; 5. final summary
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