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European Delivery
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  #26  
Old 09-25-2012, 10:55 PM
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Florence

Day 5-6: Florence, part 1

Ah Florence...

Of all of the stops on our trip, Florence was our most magical and favorite place to visit. The churches on every corner, amazing art museums, music, people, architecture, food, shopping and history all come together in a spectacular way. We saw movies like Under a Tuscan Sun and Letters to Juliet and intellectually we could tell this was a special place, but we didn't "feel" it until we arrived. It kind of snuck up on us really as we were in our typical go go go mode and it was transformative.


The city of Firenze (Florence) at dawn.


The city at night.

To get the full effect your really need more than two days. I think a week or two would be perfect; you need time to allow each experience to soak in vs. the check it off the list experience. Next time we would like to visit San Gimignano, Sienna, Lucca and the Tuscan vineyards. Having never been, we didn't realize how magical it is here and how much we would fall in love with Tuscany.


A statue up close in the city of Firenze (Florence).

Needless to say, we would like to go back.

On our way to Florence, as you can see, it is dusk so we got off the windy roads and took the Autostrada. We were always behind not wanting to leave the previous spot. The views were nice but not as nice as the windy back roads.


The Autostrada. Like our freeways except it's a toll road and there is no shoulder lane.

On our next European Delivery (were hooked!), we'll build in an extra day and leave out of each place in the morning to allow us to see more of the scenery along the way. As first timers, it felt like a race between each stop as we didn't want to miss anything. Next time, we'd like to enjoy the scenery along the way. Our drive to Florence through the Tuscan countryside.


The Tuscan countryside rolling by.

So we arrive yet again in the dark, late at night to Florence.


Arriving at the Westin Excelsior, we really enjoyed our stay at this hotel.


Checking in, both hotels are on the Piazza Ognissanti with the beautiful church lit up at night.

Earlier in our trip we had crashed an Audi party up in the Alps, today we were crashing a Mercedes party. Nice that we could show off our new BMW 640i GC to those other Germans!


Mercedes welcome signs at the St. Regis and Westin Excelsior, Florence.

Mercedes was introducing a new station wagon based on their CLS coupe. The CLS is a nice looking vehicle, the station wagon, not so much.


The St. Regis across the piazza; tomorrow nights stop. You can see the new Mercedes lit up with the Mercedes flags.


A great view of Florence off of our balcony the next morning.


Breakfast at the Westin Excelsior. Very nice spread, and the 4+ lattes helped again!


The St. Regis and the Mercedes CLS station wagons. Funny looking car.

We booked a morning tour of the city with a visit to the Duomo and the Uffizi gallery (museum). Really the entire city is an art gallery and living museum. The Uffizi gallery had many many famous paintings that you see in books, postcards, etc. It was amazing to see the originals in person.


Early morning rower off of the Ponte Vecchio bridge. Our walking tour started here.


The rowing club on the Arno river.


When we walked into this square it just made our jaws drop. I have never seen so much statuary in one location. Incredible.


There was statuary in every direction. Every which way you turned, never seen anything like this before.


The square is quite large and there were masses of people. I was told September is high season.


The Florence Duomo with the Baptistry in the foreground.


The Duomo up close. At this time of day, the light was behind the building.


The scale of the church is massive.
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Last edited by 640GC; 10-04-2012 at 11:53 AM.
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  #27  
Old 09-26-2012, 12:17 AM
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Great pics and beatiful car! Congrats!!!
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  #28  
Old 09-26-2012, 03:36 AM
Loganradio Loganradio is offline
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Did you rub/kiss the pig? Great pics of a gorgeous city. Thanks for posting.
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  #29  
Old 09-26-2012, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roup1 View Post
Great pics and beatiful car! Congrats!!!
Thanks roup1
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  #30  
Old 09-26-2012, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Loganradio View Post
Did you rub/kiss the pig? Great pics of a gorgeous city. Thanks for posting.
Hi Loganradio,

Yes, we did rub the pig. It's really a Boar, not a cute pig like in the fairy tales.

I was afraid to kiss the pig, so I kissed the wife instead! Much more pleasant.
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  #31  
Old 09-27-2012, 05:08 PM
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Florence, part 2

Day 5-6: Florence, part 2


Watching the world go by down below while we enjoy a gelato.

After we went to the Duomo, we went to the Accademia Gallery gallery and saw the statue of Michelangelo's David. You know, the David that slings the stone at Goliath. You could see the rock in David's right hand and the sling over his shoulder, all carved in marble. There are not words to describe the experience. Photo's were not allowed.

In the afternoon, we went to the Uffizi Gallery (Museum) to look at many famous paintings. The ones that you see in books and on post cards. The museum has so many paintings that it could take weeks to give them all a good look. Even if you were just running from room to room, it would take at least all day.


The museum is massive. This is just one of the outside corridors; this one leads to the entrance which is in the background.


The gallery down one wall.


The front entry to the gallery courtyard.


A section of the inside corridor ceiling. This is just one section of over 25, each the size of a small room. Photo's not allowed of the artwork below.


A view of the Ponte Vecchio bridge from the museum window. We were told that the bridge originally included fish mongers and butcher shops but the stench was too strong. So the Medici family changed it to allow only jewelry stores.


Up on the roof of the gallery. You can purchase a snack and drink and sit outside.


The clock tower up close. The weather was perfect when we were there.


The Duomo, looking across from the gallery. No climbing, otherwise you might fall off while taking a better shot!


Outside the gallery; art everywhere, even on the sidewalk. Two artists rendering the Madonna and Child in chalk.


Walking around after the tour. The Ponte Vecchio bridge and the Arno river in the afternoon light.


Is this a car or a toy? I think the play car I had as a kid was bigger than this!


Walking over to the hotel to check in. They moved the luggage for us already which was nice.


The room had really nice fresco's painted on the walls. The bed was ultra comfortable as well. Service was good but not excellent.


The view out our window.


Breakfast at the St. Regis. They have donuts on the breakfast buffet! The kids would have loved these!


Ognissanti church on the piazza. One last walk around.


Interior of the church. As with everything else in Florence, breathtakingly beautiful.


We have the B & O sound system in our 6er. We came upon this sign while wandering the streets of Florence.

Next stop, Monte Carlo and more cars!
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Last edited by 640GC; 09-28-2012 at 09:24 AM.
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  #32  
Old 09-28-2012, 07:33 PM
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Lucca

Day 6 Lucca


We stopped off in Lucca to get some cash out of the ATM. Looks like Opera season is starting up.


The church in the piazza, across from the ATM machine. Who would have thought! Our ATM machine at home is across from the Taco Bell.


The Madonna and child up close, on the corner of the church. (How do you rotate the photo? It looks correct on my computer.)


A local deli. Look at all of the Prosciutto hanging from the ceiling. Yum.


A local bakery, near the deli. Bread, cheese & meat. Grab a bottle of wine and you'd be set.


Need a lift? A ride home from school.


This place looked quaint and it was near the church, ATM, deli, bakery and the opera box office.
Maybe we'll try this place next time. Anyone stay here?

Monte Carlo pictures next ...
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  #33  
Old 09-29-2012, 12:04 AM
jlukja jlukja is offline
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Fantastic pics. Can I reuse some when I post my writeup?
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  #34  
Old 09-29-2012, 04:23 PM
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Fantastic pics. Can I reuse some when I post my writeup?
Of course! As you know, it's much better to experience it personally. The photo's don't do the whole ED experience justice.
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  #35  
Old 10-02-2012, 05:06 PM
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Monaco & Nice

Day 7: On the way to Monaco and we're here!


Driving through Southern Italy.


The coast line, Southern Italy.


The sun was going down and we were looking for a place to eat.

We were hungry so we got off of the tollway and went towards the shoreline. Our thought was, it's on the coast, the seafood should be fresh and we'll just look for a restaurant that has some people in it.

All of the little towns didn't seem to have much going on but finally, we passed a restaurant with a patio and people eating outside. So we parked on the side of the road and went in. We were handed a couple of Italian menu's but when the owner heard us speak, he told us to hold on and in popped a "Texas" gal in his place. Now mind you, we are in the middle of nowhere, and we end up with a USA gal who used her computer to translate the Italian menu into English. So we lucked out.

As we were eating dinner, we chatted her up and she said she was from a little town called Brownfield, outside of a city named Lubbock. The crazy thing was, we live in Lubbock, so half way around the planet in a little bitty Italian seaside town, we meet someone from home. Go figure.

The food was amazing and it tasted like the ocean. I just told them to bring me what ever and I ate until I couldn't eat any more. Probably our least expensive dinner on the trip too and the best. Love it when a spur of the moment thing comes together.


Our view out from our room at the Le Meridien, Monte Carlo


Day before the yacht show. The harbor was full of multimillion dollar yacht's.
Yea, our BMW was nice, but really, in the scheme of things...


The Mrs. in front of her car at the Casino Monte-Carlo


Mercedes SLR in Fronzen Bronze color. Spectacular!


The yacht harbor. All the boats wouldn't fit in for the show.


Our car driving into Monaco.


Idyllic seaside in the South of France. Driving to Nice.


Can I move here!


Parking to look over the side towards the sea.


Modern Art in Nice.


The famous Negresco hotel, Nice.


Jaguar or Maserati?


Our car with stuff painted on the side.


The Casino up close.


The beast from the front. Keonigsegg


Interior of the beast. Looks like Carbon Fiber all around.


The beast down low. A Keonigsegg! A Swedish car manufacture. Sweet ride.


Never seen this kind of Porsche before.


Lamborghini. My son's favorite car. (or a Bugatti)


Colorful Porsche.


The Lamborghini decided to leave while we were having drinks at the Cafe de Paris.


Maserati caught in the light.


Ferrari, Mercedes and Bentley's.


Hotel de Paris. Another Bentley and there's that little car again.


Bentley convertible on the side of the road. They grow like weeds here. Who are those twin's across the street?
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  #36  
Old 10-04-2012, 12:37 AM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Enjoying your trip report. It's Firenze, though. With an "e" at the end. Just sayin'...
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  #37  
Old 10-04-2012, 11:54 AM
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Enjoying your trip report. It's Firenze, though. With an "e" at the end. Just sayin'...
Thanks, fixed the captions under the two photos.
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  #38  
Old 01-09-2013, 09:25 AM
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McDonalds booted out after photo was taken

Quote:
Originally Posted by 640GC View Post
Day 4: Milan


The shopping arcade of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sept 2012.
After 20 years, McDonald's has lost their lease, the are being replaced by a 2nd Prada store. McDonald's is suing the City of Milan for 24 million, as this location generated 6 million per year in sales! That's a lot of Big Mac's.
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  #39  
Old 01-09-2013, 11:19 AM
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After 20 years, McDonald's has lost their lease, the are being replaced by a 2nd Prada store. McDonald's is suing the City of Milan for 24, as this location generated 6 million per year in sales! That's a lot of Big Mac's.
Shouldn't they sue for more than the price of four meals?
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Yield, I can has picture?
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  #40  
Old 01-09-2013, 11:39 AM
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Ha Ha AggieKnight! I updated the price with million on the end! So 24 million instead of 24. That's more sandwiches.

P.S. My daughter wants to attend A&M, she would like to become a Veterinarian. She's only a High School Sophomore but we did the the campus visit recently.
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  #41  
Old 01-26-2013, 07:31 PM
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This is an awesome right up. thank you so much. this is exactly the same trip i was planning except for the nice monaco part where we plan to return the car in Munich after MIlan and then fly to Paris and Barcelona and have a 10 day trip. but all your other days i am going to nearly follow that to the T. once again thanks so much.

btw I have a CLS 550. at the risk of saying it in a bimmer forum, i will say it - its the most beautiful car hands down.

agreed the wagon looks weird but i dont think its any weirder than the X6. this is a very risky post

btw going for my first ED for my wife's BMW X1 sdrive. Glad to see your trip report and the great trip you had. congrats. oh and damnn beautiful car.
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  #42  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:34 AM
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This is an awesome right up. thank you so much. this is exactly the same trip i was planning except for the nice monaco part where we plan to return the car in Munich after MIlan and then fly to Paris and Barcelona and have a 10 day trip. but all your other days i am going to nearly follow that to the T. once again thanks so much.

btw I have a CLS 550. at the risk of saying it in a bimmer forum, i will say it - its the most beautiful car hands down.

agreed the wagon looks weird but i dont think its any weirder than the X6. this is a very risky post

btw going for my first ED for my wife's BMW X1 sdrive. Glad to see your trip report and the great trip you had. congrats. oh and damnn beautiful car.
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed reading, it was the trip of a lifetime. Plan on repeating it more than once, it was that much fun. Should have started many years ago. Some of the festers are on the 8th, 9th, 14th ED. Wow.

No offense taken on the CLS 550. The 640GC is my wife's car, I drive an SL500. I love both cars for different reasons. Our BMW and Mercedes get along just fine!
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  #43  
Old 01-27-2013, 06:15 AM
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Great write-up, thanks for sharing. Pictures are amazing.
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  #44  
Old 01-27-2013, 06:51 AM
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No wonder that McDonald's is closing: the food's so bad that a female customer is yakking right after leaving the joint (bottom left).
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Old 01-27-2013, 10:43 AM
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Quote:
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Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed reading, it was the trip of a lifetime. Plan on repeating it more than once, it was that much fun. Should have started many years ago. Some of the festers are on the 8th, 9th, 14th ED. Wow.

No offense taken on the CLS 550. The 640GC is my wife's car, I drive an SL500. I love both cars for different reasons. Our BMW and Mercedes get along just fine!
THANK YOU!!!!
Wife and I spend a hour last night (somehow miss your post last year) and she ask me to saved your route and hotels - for our next ED.
Great report, Thank You for sharing!
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  #46  
Old 01-27-2013, 12:17 PM
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No wonder that McDonald's is closing: the food's so bad that a female customer is yakking right after leaving the joint (bottom left).
Ha Ha!!!
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by neurom View Post
Great write-up, thanks for sharing. Pictures are amazing.
My pleasure, it allowed me to re-live our trip again. We're going to take the teenagers over for Spring Break as they have never been. We're taking them to Florence but no ED this time.

One of the other festers posted about this amazing steak place. I read her blog and knew I had to take the family. Florence is know for their steaks and this guy is like the best butcher in Italy. It's called Officina Della Bistecca, most of the trip advisor reviews like the place but some say it has become too touristy.

If anyone know's a better place to get the best Steak Florentina, please let me know!
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  #48  
Old 01-27-2013, 01:28 PM
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THANK YOU!!!!
Wife and I spend a hour last night (somehow miss your post last year) and she ask me to saved your route and hotels - for our next ED.
Great report, Thank You for sharing!
Thanks MB330. It was a great time. We're heading back over with the kids during spring break but no ED. Shoot. Can't wait for our next ED.
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  #49  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:56 PM
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Wow, Congrats. I spent reading every caption- a lot of good info. I am planning to go to Europe (no ED).
That Porsche you were referring to, is a Carrera GT.
Eli

Last edited by positiveions; 02-06-2013 at 06:58 PM.
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  #50  
Old 02-06-2013, 09:44 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
Thanks Eli, I went to updated the photo with your Carrera GT info but the edit button was gone. It must expire after a certain amount of time. Have a great trip.
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Last edited by 640GC; 02-06-2013 at 09:50 PM.
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