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  #1  
Old 09-11-2012, 02:03 PM
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640GC 640GC is offline
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Trip Report Munich-Castles-St. Moritz-Milan-Florence-Lucca-Monaco-Nice

Day 1: Arrive Munich around 3:00pm

Checked into the Le Meridien, Munich and had dinner at Augustiner-Keller. Hotel great location, restaurant good beer and food.

Munich Airport Arrival/Train Transfer: Advice: Grab the free cart in baggage claim. You can take this all the way to the train boarding area. I couldn't figure out which ticket to purchase at the machine but a visit with a ticket agent fixed that. We purchased the combo group ticket (2-people) to include the trip from the airport to Munich with access to the U-bahn and S-bahn for the rest of the day. 20 euros for two.

Got on the train labeled S8 Herrsching (or you can take the S1). Rode along in the country for a while and wonder if we were going in the wrong direction, (your not). 30-40 minutes to Marienplatz station.

Station/Hotel Arrival Tip: We looked for the Starbucks exit. We lost our way as we stayed on the same underground level as the S8 train and went up some steps which lead outside. Unfortunately, this was on the wrong side of the building. The correct method is to get to ground level in the main train station. You will see a lot of shops with all of the trains departing the station, lined up on the other side. The Starbucks is in this main area, past all of the trains. (I couldn't tell you how to get from the underground level to the main ground floor level in the station as we got lost.)


The train station, ground level. From this view, the Starbucks would be on the left side of the photo.
The trains should be to your right when walking and the Starbucks and exit to the Le Meridien will be straight ahead.


You can see the Starbucks on the right. Out the window on top, the Le Meridien is the building on the right.


Breakfast at the Le Meridien Munich. Quite a nice spread! Staff was nice and bed was comfortable.

Dinner Tip: (Augustiner-Keller) Order the sausage variety plate if you like sausages. It was very good. If you like spicy, order the spicy sausage plate, this was also very good. If you want your complete fix of sausages, order the sausage plate with a side of spicy sausages. The pork knuckle was a little dry this night, don't know if this is typically the case. The beer was good and the company was good. Many pet owners here with their dogs. Would come back here to drink and eat again.


Augustiner-Keller Menu


Outdoor seating, if you go in the winter, they also have a large indoor beer hall. The outdoor seating is huge.


Enjoying a beer before dinner.


Their pretzel is crazy big. Warm and soft in the middle.

When you arrive, flag down a waiter/waitress as we stood around for a while trying to figure out what to do and how to get a table. There are multiple outdoor seating areas with tables divided into dinner service or self service. We opted for full service and asked a waiter where we could sit, he thought for a moment and then gave us a previously reserved table.

It started to sprinkle and we got an umbrella with the help of a german fellow and then we invited the five of them to sit at our table under the umbrella. Nice to visit with people from Munich while enjoying our Munich beer and food.

Tomorrow we head over to the Welt for the factory tour and museum tour. We'll pick up the car the following day. Will post more later along with pictures.

After last weeks reports of rain the entire week, it was nice and sunny today. Supposed to rain tomorrow, which I am told is the norm.
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Last edited by 640GC; 10-07-2012 at 04:43 PM.
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2012, 03:50 PM
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640GC 640GC is offline
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Day 2: BMW Welt

It was cold and rainy all day but it didn't matter as this was our day to visit the Welt. Took the subway to the Olympiazentrum (Olympic Park) exit which drops you right at the Welt.


Looking at the Welt from the U-Bahn Olympiazentrum Subway exit. Literally right next to each other.


Walking over to the Welt. The entrance is on the right side.


Inside the Welt, looking over the display area from the balcony. They were getting ready to add their Hydrogen car
on the left, it just completed a world tour. A Mini Cooper display was going in on the right.
There were some false walls up to hide the construction.


Ground floor at the Welt. All of the latest BMW models are on display including the 2013 640i Gran Coupe in Frozen Bronze with the Opal White/Amaro Brown interior.


The Opal White/Amaro Brown interior up close. On the right, you can see the glass for the head up display.


The interior of the Rolls Royce. BMW own's them too and has two of them on display at the Welt. A little stuffy for my taste but super opulent for sure. Wouldn't be able to get the teenagers out of the back of the car.

We checked in upstairs and did all of our paperwork to get it out of the way for delivery the next day. Had several lattes in the lounge which helped with the jet lag.


BMW Delivery Lounge

We went on the 11:30am English Factory Tour, which was very enjoyable and worth the two hours. Not allowed to take photos inside the factory. Our favorite parts of the tour were the paint shop and the robotic welders. We went back to the Premium lounge for a snack and met several other festers, Desert Pilot and Logan Radio who are currently on their ED.


Looking back at the Welt through a Window at the factory during the factory tour.

We toured the museum next, looked at all of the new vehicles in the Welt and then went to the gift shop.


Walking over to the museum from the Welt. You take an overhead bridge. The BMW World Headquarters building on the left, the museum on the right.


In the museum, BMW models by year. Each placard represents one vehicle model and the year it was manufactured.


Inside the museum, so many choices, which direction to go in?


A BMW 328, one of many many cars and motorcycles on display. Those are real leather straps holding down the hood!


A BMW employee showing us the engine.


A more modern M series engine. Oh yea!


A V12 engine. Look at those horses!


At the top of the museum. The new 2013 640i Gran Coupe in Frozen Bronze.


Looking down from the top of the museum. Futuristic BMW models.

Believe it or not, we ended up spending the entire day at the Welt!
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Last edited by 640GC; 09-23-2012 at 10:25 AM.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2012, 04:01 PM
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Day 3: THE BIG DAY!

We took the Hop On/Hop Off Greyline bus to the Welt this morning. It was great as we got on at 9:00 am and arrived at the Welt at 10:45 am. The bus has a tour guide and we drove by many interesting sites and the guide explained the history of what we were seeing at each of the stops.

If you don't have a lot of time in Munich, this kills two birds with one stone, transportation to the Welt and a guided tour along the way. If you have an extra day, you can go back and visit the places you found interesting. We didn't have time as we were leaving out as soon as we picked up the car.


Our first look!

Guido, our delivery specialist met us around 10:50 am and we descended the stairs for the big moment. Our baby was at the bottom of the stairs and she was a beaut.


Delivery Area.

We spent quite a while with the Guido, mostly asking questions about the Infotainment system.


Backup, side & top view camera instruction.


Seat operation.


iDrive.

My wife took her victory lap and then we parked out front to get our engraved keychain and purchase some items.

Hint: If they don't tell you, the orange dot they place on your plastic BMW card is what alerts the gift shop to give you the free keychain and engraving along with the 10 euro credit. So you can do this before your delivery, once you have the card. You receive the card after completing the paperwork. We did our paperwork the day before which I highly recommend.


Parking outside the Welt

Our travel agent friend, and several people we met in Munich all told us to go to Tegernsee. After the third person, we decided to take a detour and drive through the Tegernsee Lake area on the way to the Castles. It was worth the drive as the lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides. Next ED, we'll spend a night or two here.


Tegernsee Lake and the boat landing.

We didn't eat here but another fester, Gluhwein recommends eating at the cafe below in Rottach-Egern on the Tegernsee. This is right across the street from the boat landing and the Schloss-Cafe. Have lunch here and then eat dinner at the Hotel Muller in Höhenschwangau per recommendation by another fester, dkreidel.


The recommended restaurant. Gluhwein mentioned that in February, there were German dinners eating outside in the snow!


Rottach-Egern, one of the villages on the Tegernsee.


View across the lake in the Tegernsee.

From here, we proceeded to the twisties near the Walchensee, another large lake on the way to the castles.


A town near the Walchensee on the way to the Castles.


View from inside the car, on the way to the Castles.

Our original dinner plan (loose plan, based on it was around dinner time) was to eat at LUCE D'ORO, the one star *Michelin Restaurant in the Schloss Elmau hotel. Looking at their website now, it says guests who are not staying with them need to have advance reservations.


The hotel driving up from the road.

However, on this particular weekend, the place was over-run with Audi's and the very cordial staff mentioned that this weekend, the entire hotel and all restaurants were booked for a corporate event. Nothing like crashing an Audi party in our brand new BMW 640i Gran Coupe! It was pretty fun in itself as the guests standing outside of the hotel front door were all giving us the stare down as in how dare you be here in your BMW!


We drove up and the circular driveway had all of these Audi's parked around.
Wish I had taken a photo of all of the Audi's but we were tired and hungry.

The staff were super nice and next ED, we'll try and stay here for a night or two.

We stopped off in Bad Tölz for Dinner per recommendation from the Schloss Elmau hotel and ended up arriving in Höhenschwangau around 10:00 pm. It is a little tourist village between the castles where the ticketing center is located. It was peaceful and quiet. Next time we'll eat at the Hotel Muller next door per fester, dkreidel.


Höhenschwangau village, so quiet at night. Not really a real village per say, more like staying in Epcot.


Höhenschwangau castle at night.


Early morning view from our window, the Neuschwanstein castle in the distance. Still and quite before the hoards arrive.
That's hotel Muller in the foreground, the recommended dinner spot.


Early morning view from our other window, the Höhenschwangau castle right above us.


Villa Jägerhaus, our stop for the night with Höhenschwangau above.


You can see Villa Jägerhaus, middle left in the photo. Perfect location.

As the morning turned into day, the village of Höhenschwangau became overrun with tour buses and tourists. So many Japanese tourists that the large store at the end of the road employ mostly Japanese staff members. The whole village was crazy busy and I'm glad we arrived the night before to enjoy the quiet.

The Neuschwanstein castle tour was fantastic, I could see how Disney reproduced the very front of the castle entrance for Disneyland.


This is the side that Disney used for the front of his castle.


Entry doors into the castle. Looks very similar to Disney.


Interior courtyard holding area before tour. This would be the back side of the Disneyland/Disneyworld castle.
This part of Neuschwanstein castle is the entire Disney castle.


Interior courtyard between tours, wish the rest of the castle areas were as quiet as this!


One of the castle hallways, no photos allowed once the tour started. The attention to detail in the castle was amazing.
The guide said only 1/3rd of the castle is completed.

Hint: We missed the Hohenschwangau castle visit because we took the horse drawn carriage for transportation. The carriage and buses are for Neuschwanstein castle only. You walk up to Hohenschwangau castle. If you can't walk up hill for long distances, take the bus up. When you get off the bus, walk to the bridge to view the castle from a distance, then proceed downhill to the castle. To avoid the uphill walk when going back down to the village, take the horse drawn carriage instead. This way, most of your walking is downhill.


The view of the castle from the bridge. If you ride the bus, you can stop off on the bridge and take a photo of the castle.


The view of the bridge from the castle. The guide leaves you at the end of the tour, I took this photo from the castle kitchen.

Here are the obligatory BMW ED castle photos!


Castle Photo Front


Castle Photo Side


Castle Photo Down Low


The OP with great memories!

Castle Photo tips: If you want the perfect shot, take multiple pictures, positioning the car at different angles. We drove a little past the tree. To obscure the barn behind us, I took some low shots. The best light is late afternoon as someone else mentioned here on the fest. It was early afternoon for our photos so the light was a little more difficult.

Take shots with yourself in the photo and some without. Take different angles and elevations. The car's not coming back so take every possible shot you think you might ever want. Of course, this will possible annoy the other half as to why we have this obsession with getting the perfect castle photo! I probably took 100+ shots and wish I had more.


Looking down from the castle, you can see the picture taking road, bottom center of photo. You come into the photo from the left and then hang a right onto the road.
We drove past the tree on the right but before the barns on the left.
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Last edited by 640GC; 09-24-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:03 PM
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Nice report! One of my fondest memories (or not) of our ED trip in '05 was trying to figure out the damned ticket machine for the trains at the Munich Airport. We never did find a ticket agent. Sounds like you're having a great trip, and have picked up a beautiful car. Congrats, and look forward to seeing some photos!

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Old 09-15-2012, 07:32 PM
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If you are heading to St. Moritz be sure to check hotel availability, I know the Badrutt Palace closes sometime around the 15th of Sept.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:54 PM
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Can't wait for pics!
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:59 AM
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Can't wait for pics!
+1
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:47 PM
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640GC 640GC is offline
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Added photos to Day 3: DELIVERY DAY

Working on adding photos to day 1 & 2 plus adding trip report for day's 4 - 9. Was trying to post every day but once we got the car, I became a blithering idiot and only wanted to play with our new toy.
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:17 PM
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Very cool, enjoying them!
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Old 09-20-2012, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
Nice report! One of my fondest memories (or not) of our ED trip in '05 was trying to figure out the damned ticket machine for the trains at the Munich Airport. We never did find a ticket agent. Sounds like you're having a great trip, and have picked up a beautiful car. Congrats, and look forward to seeing some photos!

.
We were lucky that there was an agent there. After having taken copious notes about what buttons to press and what words to look for, when it was all said and done, I couldn't figure out the machine.

I've added photos to day 3. Once we took delivery, I didn't crack the computer open until we got back stateside!
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Last edited by 640GC; 09-20-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 09-20-2012, 09:00 PM
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Great trip report; thank you. Your GC is simply beautiful. You are to be commended for superb taste in matching the Amaro to the Carbon Black with the wood. I've had two CB M5's and Im sure there will be another in the future; it is THE BEST COLOR for the larger BMW coupes and sedans.

Glad you enjoyed Jägerhaus; it's really a great spot to stay in Höhenschwangau/Fussen if you're going to tour the castles...but dine at Muller

Dick
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by dkreidel View Post
Great trip report; thank you. Your GC is simply beautiful. You are to be commended for superb taste in matching the Amaro to the Carbon Black with the wood. I've had two CB M5's and Im sure there will be another in the future; it is THE BEST COLOR for the larger BMW coupes and sedans.

Glad you enjoyed Jägerhaus; it's really a great spot to stay in Höhenschwangau/Fussen if you're going to tour the castles...but dine at Muller

Dick
Thanks for the comments! We'll try Muller next time. The wife gets the credit for the color selections. I love how CB is both black and dark blue. Jägerhaus was a nice stop over.

PS: I'm borrowing your Höhenschwangau and Jägerhaus to update my post!
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:34 PM
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Why am I not seeing any pictures?
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:03 PM
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Why am I not seeing any pictures?
Oops, it's the jet lag. Was messing with the server the pictures are loaded on. My bad. They are back.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:36 AM
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Added new Museum and Welt Photos to Day 2: BMW Welt
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:38 AM
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If you are heading to St. Moritz be sure to check hotel availability, I know the Badrutt Palace closes sometime around the 15th of Sept.
We just did a drive through on our way to Milan. We did stop over for dinner and had a look around the town.
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Old 09-22-2012, 08:44 AM
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Oops, it's the jet lag. Was messing with the server the pictures are loaded on. My bad. They are back.

Thanks. It was worth the wait. Looks like you stopped at the same spot in Rottach-Egern that we did when we took our mothers on our February ED:

Did you eat at the Cafe across the street? Great Gulaschsuppe and Strudel.
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Old 09-22-2012, 10:00 AM
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Thanks. It was worth the wait. Looks like you stopped at the same spot in Rottach-Egern that we did when we took our mothers on our February ED:

Did you eat at the Cafe across the street? Great Gulaschsuppe and Strudel.
Wow, it looks quite different in the Winter time! We didn't stop to eat unfortunatley. Are you talking about the restaurant in the photo or the one that is across the street? Brown building with multiple stories? We'll keep it on the list for our next visit.
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Old 09-23-2012, 06:15 AM
wesleyan92 wesleyan92 is online now
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Spectacular car Harding and great trip report. Every time I read one of these reports I want to hop a plane across the pond. Love Europe - wish my work would transfer me there with the necessary cost of living adjustments
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:38 AM
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640GC 640GC is offline
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Location: Lubbock, TX & Oahu, HI
 
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Mein Auto: BMW GC & MB SL500
Day 4: On the way to Milan via St. Moritz in the Alps & Lake Como

This was our longest driving day of the trip. We figured around 7 hours from Fussen to Milan. We wanted to leave early enough to have dinner in Como and then arrive in Milan that evening. The following morning, we had tickets to see Leonardo da Vinci's last supper painting, a giant mural.


Leaving the Höhenschwangau area.


Heading out towards the Alps.


In the Alps, headed to St. Moritz. You can see our Emission sticker on the bottom right of the windshield along with our Vignettes.

My wife got car sick from all of the twisties and we had to stop for rest breaks. We lost the Swiss Vignette along the way.
We looked for another spot to purchase a second, luckily, no one was open and we didn't get pulled over.
Our Austrian and Swiss Vignettes are stuffed in the headliner to take home later for souvenirs.
(The 10 day Austrian Vignette was inexpensive. The one year Swiss Vignette was expensive at 33 Euros.)


Beautiful mountain scenery. Reminds me a little of Colorado and the Rockies.


Random interior photo of the car in St. Moritz.

Needless to say, it was already dark outside and we had not arrived at Lake Como yet. So we changed our plan and decided
to eat dinner in St. Moritz. The problem was we had no idea where to eat. The nav system was good at telling us where
the restaurants were located, but no way of telling us the quality or cuisine. So we pulled up to the swank Kempinski,
Grand Hotel des Bains and asked the valet staff where to go for a nice but quick bite.


Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, we were so tired that we contemplated spending the night here. We pushed on.


Stopping for dinner at the Kempinski recommended Restaurant Veltlinerkeller. The food was good. They had a lot of
grilled wild game on the menu.


There was no parking so we just parked on the side of the road, a narrow side street, the restaurant in the background.

Lake Como, we can say we've been but that's about it. We drove around the lake on our way to Milan, but it was pitch black.
We did get lost once and had to pull over to the side of the road for an accidental romantic moment over looking the lake and the
twinkling lights of the towns at its edges. It was so dark we had no idea where we were. It was nice but sadly the extent
of our Lake Como experience. Next time we'll spend a couple of nights here to make up for it.

We arrived in Milan around 1:00 am so no photos. We went straight to bed! The view out our window in the morning.


Our view in the morning from our room at the Westin Palace, Milan. The Duomo off in the distance.


The Duomo di Milano up close. They also offer tours on the roof. You can take the elevator or climb the steps for the view.


The height of the doors compared to us!


The massive size of the doors is quite impressive. The shot starts at half way up the doors. The casting is quite beautiful.


The interior of the Duomo. What an amazing and reverent place.


One of the many side chapels along the long wall on each side.


The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the glass-roofed shopping arcade next to the Duomo.


The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and the Duomo di Milano, side by side.


The shopping arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.


Turning on the Bull's testicles with the heel of your foot for good luck!


The central dome of the arcade.

Next we were off for the highlight of our visit to Milan, the viewing of Da Vinci's last supper at the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie.
The painting depicts the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him. No photos were allowed but
there are plenty of pictures on-line. It was an amazing experience to see it up close and personal.


Outside the gift shop of the Basilica.

The tour completed at the Duomo so we decided to eat lunch here before heading back to the hotel and driving to Florence. The department
store across the street has rented it's space out to multiple restaurants. So we wandered around looking at the various menus until we found
the right spot. It is really busy but it was only about a 10 minute wait.


Great view of the Duomo and plaza. The food was excellent as well. It's really difficult to get bad food in Italy.

Next stop, Florence.
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ED Trip Report - September 2012
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Last edited by 640GC; 09-25-2012 at 05:05 AM.
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  #21  
Old 09-23-2012, 07:49 AM
Loganradio Loganradio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdsbuc View Post
Nice report! One of my fondest memories (or not) of our ED trip in '05 was trying to figure out the damned ticket machine for the trains at the Munich Airport. We never did find a ticket agent. Sounds like you're having a great trip, and have picked up a beautiful car. Congrats, and look forward to seeing some photos!

.
To find ticket counter for S-Bahn at Munich airport, follow train signs. Ticket counter is between doors leading outside to train station, left side of counter, usually with line in front of it.

AHarding...your photos are magnificent! Thanks for sharing. Carol
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:10 AM
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Gluhwein Gluhwein is online now
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Originally Posted by aharding View Post
Wow, it looks quite different in the Winter time! We didn't stop to eat unfortunatley. Are you talking about the restaurant in the photo or the one that is across the street? Brown building with multiple stories? We'll keep it on the list for our next visit.
The Cafe was directly across the street. I thought it was pretty cool that on that sunny but cold day in February hearty Germans were sitting out on the patio to eat and drink. we stayed indoors and admired the frozen lake.... And I thought about how to get all that road salt off my brand new car,
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Old 09-23-2012, 04:27 PM
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mdsbuc mdsbuc is offline
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Loving the photos and the report. Nicely done!
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Old 09-25-2012, 07:18 PM
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Trinitony Trinitony is online now
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aharding, great photos. Particularly like the vantage point you chose for your shot of Neuschwanstein. Most photos are taken looking up at the castle and the view is no where near as interesting as your view where you see the lakes and meadows in the background.

It's too bad that you did not get to spend some time in daylight on Lake Como. It is definitely worth a full day on your next trip.

I am looking forward to your coverage of the last few days of your trip.
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Old 09-25-2012, 09:55 PM
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640GC 640GC is offline
(aharding)ED #1 Sept 2012
Location: Lubbock, TX & Oahu, HI
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 451
Mein Auto: BMW GC & MB SL500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitony View Post
aharding, great photos. Particularly like the vantage point you chose for your shot of Neuschwanstein. Most photos are taken looking up at the castle and the view is no where near as interesting as your view where you see the lakes and meadows in the background.

It's too bad that you did not get to spend some time in daylight on Lake Como. It is definitely worth a full day on your next trip.

I am looking forward to your coverage of the last few days of your trip.
Thanks Trinitony, posting this trip report allows me re-live those experiences all over again. We were bummed that we saw but didn't see Lake Como on our drive. With all of the positive comments from festers, we won't miss it next time around.
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ED Trip Report - September 2012
Post your Neuschwanstein Castle photo here
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