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European Delivery
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  #1  
Old 08-26-2007, 11:19 AM
cvb cvb is offline
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Last edited by cvb; 08-26-2007 at 11:28 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2007, 11:20 AM
cvb cvb is offline
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Location: Seattle,WA
 
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Last edited by cvb; 08-26-2007 at 11:28 AM.
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  #3  
Old 08-26-2007, 11:30 AM
cvb cvb is offline
Love the 'Fest
Location: Seattle,WA
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 728
Mein Auto: 2011 M3 Convertible
CVB's Trip Report

Trip Plan: Ordered a 2008 535xi (options: Platinum Gray, Black Leather, Dark Poplar, Sport Package, Premium Package, 18" Style 124 Wheels, Nav, PDC, Comfort Access, Cold Weather, Logic 7, HD Audio, iPod, Folding rear seats, Rear side air bags) and took my father with me for the pick up!

Saturday August 18th
Arrived in Munich via United (Lufthansa partner) at about 1pm (we travelled on the Lufthansa “2 for 1” program…which is really more like “2 for 1.5”, with taxes and fees). It was a pretty reasonable trip all in all, but a very long one…SEA-SFO (to meet up with my Father)-London Heathrow-Munich. United Economy Plus upgrade from SFO to Heathrow meant a few appreciated extra inches of legroom. Movies: Blades of Glory (stupid but funny) and Spiderman 3 (just stupid). Food was actually pretty decent. No travel delays, even getting through Heathrow was not bad, and happily, all of our luggage arrived.

While at baggage claim in Munich we spot the famous “BMW Kidney Grille Wall” (see pic). After an uneventful passage through passport control and customs, we grabbed a cab (Mercedes E Class) and our driver hustles us down the autobahn at speeds reaching 120 MPH or so. We arrive at our hotel, the Kings Hotel First Class, located about 1 block north of the Hauptbahnhof (central train station). I had booked a double suite for a low $128 euros so we each had our own “room” (by moving one bed into the living room area). The room was clean, had a good sized bath room (with shower/tub combo), 2 TVs with 2 channels in English (CNN and BBC), and wireless internet (although I did not bring my PC). This is no luxury or even business class hotel, but it had a certain charm to it….oh, and it has an elevator.

I walked down to the central train station (a real hub of activity with a lot of food shops) and realized that it was not at all necessary to take a cab to our hotel…a train would have been nearly as convenient at a fraction of the price. Purchased a 3 day unlimited partner train/transit pass (meaning my father and I can travel together on it) for only $21 Euros. We grabbed dinner at the Ratskeller in Marienplatz (as recommended in Frommers) which serves typical German faire and good beer in a well lit and family friendly (and also friendly service) subterranean environment. A good meal at a very reasonable price. We made our way back to the S-Bahn train to the King’s for some much needed rest.

Sunday August 19th
The breakfast buffet at the hotel was outstanding, and was obviously designed to cater to US tastes. Examples: Mimosas, Waffles, Scrambled eggs, bacon, and good coffee…in addition they had the “usual” German/Euro breakfast faire (croissants, meats, cheeses, yogurt, breads, OJ, etc.). Breakfast was a bit pricey at $15 euros each, but it was worth it to start the day right.

Explored Munich, focusing especially on the Marienplatz. Attended a mass at St. Peter’s church then caught the S-Bahn to the Deutsches Museum . This museum was truly remarkable…and far too large to do in a single day. We focused on seeing the maritime areas, the flight areas (which featured an ME-109, some late WWII German jets, a Wright brothers plane, and of course a Red Barron-styled Fokker).

We grab lunch back at the Marienplatz and head back to the hotel for a nap…which just turns into bedtime for my father…I head back out alone for a night at the Hofbrahaus. This place, while totally touristy, was a blast. The Oompah band was in great form, the whole place was loud and rowdy and I shared an old wooden picnic table with a nice couple from Frankfurt (she was in town for a job interview the next morning). They didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak much German and yet we had a great time “chatting” for hours…the food was pretty terrible, but the beer was great. Highly recommended.

Monday August 20th
We grab the great hotel breakfast buffet again and catch a combo of the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn to arrive at the BMW factory in Munich (right across the street from the famous BMW 4 cylinder building and the new BMW Welt) for our factory tour (scheduled 6 weeks in advance). The Welt is nearly complete and its modern lines stand in stark contrast to the much older BMW buildings that surround it.

The factory tour is truly amazing (warning: at 2 hours and 1 ˝ miles with lots of stairs, it was a bit of a struggle for older folks). This is the factory that makes 1-series hatchbacks and 3-series sedans and wagons. From the machines that stamp 600-ton rolls of steel into car pieces, to the Star Wars-esque army of automated robots welding and assembling the cars, to the amazing paint shop, and finally to the few sections with actual human beings doing some finish work, this was a truly 21st century experience. I kept wondering what Henry Ford would think to see his assembly line so completely perfected.

After the tour, having grown tired of constantly eating “wurst”, we hit a small Italian restaurant 2 blocks up from our hotel with a wood burning stove for a nice spaghetti, pizza, beer, and Tiramisu.

Tuesday August 21th
Car pickup day! We grab breakfast, check out of the hotel early, and take a cab to the pickup center (Mercedes Benz B-Class….a surprisingly nice and roomy little SUV), arriving around 8:30am. It doesn’t look like anyone else is waiting for their car. I give my passport to the lady at the desk and she lets me know my name will be called in about a half hour. I head upstairs to sign the Bimmerfest book, and notice the pages are full, but still manage to sign my name on the inside back cover. Since we had already eaten, we didn’t take advantage of the free food, but instead they pack us a lunch with some sandwiches, water and chocolate (it would come in very handy later).After a short wait, we are met by a terrifically nice guy (whose name I am totally blanking on…he has been mentioned here before, and I even wrote down his email address to give him the link to my trip report…but somehow that paper has gone missing). Here’s a description and perhaps someone can post his name and I’ll update this report: Very nice black gentleman, I’m guessing in his mid to late 50’s. Anyway, we spend about 20 minutes doing paperwork and chatting, he gives us some good tips and then we grab our bags and head into the garage to see…my beautiful new car. Wow. They must do something special with the lighting in there…the cars just glow in that room. Awesome. We pack our bags in the huge truck and I pop in the Euro navigation DVD (thanks BeeWang!!) and he gives us a very long and thoughtful walk through of the car, programs our next destination – Neushwanstein castle – into the nav as well as the EH Harms address in Munich where we’ll drop the car off in a few days. The only glitch is that my phone does not pair well to the Bluetooth (Cingluar/AT&T Blackjack). I’m not surprised because the Blackjack uses a non-standard BT stack…I’m hoping the upcoming WM 6.0 update fixes this. It should be released about the time my car gets back to the US. After a few pictures, we hit the road with just 3 miles showing on the odometer.

We blast out of Munich and after about 2 hours of very scenic driving, we arrive at Neushwanstein castle. We knew from the onset that we were only going to look from a distance (the place was packed with tourists) and we took a break for some photos and to eat our BMW sandwiches. Tip for those who want to visit the inside of the castles- you can book your tickets ahead of time on the Internet and avoid the 1-2 hour lines.
From there, I programmed in a route to take us East via the Alpine Strasse (ending in Berchtesgaden). What can I say about a route that takes you on relatively sparsely trafficked 2-lane back roads across the Bavarian Alps? Not enough space to describe just how beautiful this drive was. We pass by countless little villages and at some points on the journey, though I’m convinced the nav system was wrong (it wasn’t)as it puts us on some impossibly small roads with few other signs of activity…but it’s all beautiful and we have plenty of gas J. The car handles amazingly, lots of switchback turns show off its amazing balance and suspension capabilities, and passing, even up steep hills, is no problem with this super powerful motor. At the end of the day we stop in Grassau (no special reason why, I was just too tired to go any further) having averaged over 21 MPG…we try to grab a room at a local hotel only to find out it was booked…but the owners called a small Pension (like a B&B) a few blocks away who open their doors for us. If I ever come back, I’ll make more of an effort to stay in these kinds of places. You feel like you are living in someone’s home and get a real feeling for being in the village (among the local people and animals…even the cows moo “hello” to you).
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__________________

Current Ride: 2011 M3 Convertible
Silverstone/Fox Red. DCT, ZCV, ZCW, ZP2, EDC, 19", Premium Sound and Satellite Radio

Coming Soon:
2000 E38 740iL

Recent Former BMWs:
2008 E60 535xi (via European Delivery)
ED Trip Report Link
2003˝
E46 M3 6-Speed
2004 E53 X5

BMWCCA Member since 2002

Last edited by cvb; 08-26-2007 at 11:39 AM.
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  #4  
Old 08-26-2007, 11:34 AM
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Snareman Snareman is offline
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Location: Ohio
 
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Wow, how could you be there that many days before picking up your car?? I'd be going crazy with anticipation! We went straight from the airport to the delivery center. Nice write up and pics. I had my SLR as well. Once I got one of those I now feel somewhat inadequate with my pocket camera. Or at least that the pics will lackluster in comparison what I could be getting. I guess I'm just spoiled by the SLR. Although I can't argue with the convenience of putting the camera in your pocket!
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Old 08-26-2007, 11:38 AM
cvb cvb is offline
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Part 2

Wednesday August 22thThe next morning we head out to complete the Alpine Strasse route and stop in two lovely villages – Ruhpolding and Oberammergau. We also stop in Berchtesgaden, but again are turned off by the hordes of tourists and instead of taking a boat ride, we press on to Salzburg. This is a good time to rave about the awesome sport comfort seats on the 535xi. They adjust every which way (power side bolsters, thigh extension, articulated upper back, etc.) and leave us feeling great after days of driving.

In the early afternoon, we cross the border into Austria and stop at a local gas station to buy a vignette sticker, reflective green autobahn breakdown vest, and go through a really nice car wash. We pull into Salzburg and head up to the entrance to the old city where car traffic is restricted/forbidden…unless you are staying in a hotel (which we are), and they will allow you to drop off your bags. Carefully trying to avoid hitting tourists and horse drawn carriages, we pull up the Hotel Weise Taube, right around the corner from the MozartPlatz. We are shown our room – a large double room on the 4th floor, this one with a separate living area with a door that closes…so like the Kings First Class Hotel, we essentially each get our own room. Breakfast is included in the low price (made 10% lower when you show the Rick Steves guidebook and pay cash) and there is a (tiny) elevator. The hotel is clean and comfortable with an old charm to it (and I do mean old, it dates back to the 1300’s), but nothing fancy (which is fine by us). The Hotel Weise Taube also has a deal with a local garage with discounted parking rates and gives me a card key that will give me access to it. I leave my father at the hotel and head out to the garage.

Now, it’s often been remarked how small the parking garages are in Europe, but until you actually experience the anxiety of trying to get your $60k car into one of these places, you don’t really appreciate the fear. I mean, c’mon, these parking places were made for first generation Mini’s and motorcycles with sidecars… I actually give up on a few places as there is no way to get my car to fit between the white lines (even with mirrors folded in)….so I drive down to the lowest level and find a spot with a precious few extra inches of room, lock the car, and do a little prayer to ward off door dings. The Comfort access feature is great by the way. Just pull on the door handle to unlock the car and tap the handle to lock it when you leave…to start the, just push the Start button with the key in your pocket. Cool.

I walk back to the old city (dad is napping) and take in the sights. Lots of history in this place and lots of tourists too. I book us in the Stiftskeller St. Peter restaurant for a dinner with live music (Mozart, of course). The Stiftskeller claims to be the oldest restaurant in Europe, an argument that is bolstered by a note in Charlemagne’s writings (he mentions having eaten here in 803). Again, a special thanks to Rick Steves, as showing his guide book brings a 20% discount on dinner (not insubstantial as the dinner cost was 45 euros per person). The food was unremarkable, but the 3 hour experience was excellent due to the tremendous performances by 5 string musicians, 1 soprano, and 1 baritone. We had a table right in front of the musicians and were treated to 3 sets + an encore of a variety of Mozart selections that was heavy on operas (thus, the singers). Truly a treat!

Thursday August 23th
My dad catches up on some sleep (and misses breakfast which stops service at 10am), so I grab my camera and go exploring. I decide to try the Sound of Music bus tour and instead take a long walk all around the old city and across the river to the other side of Salzburg. It’s a beautiful city, though very, very touristy. I stop by the parking garage to visit my car…it’s safe and sound J. I go back to the hotel later in the afternoon and my father and I do some walking together before finding another nice Italian restaurant right next to our hotel for our last dinner. The chianti makes for a nice deviation from days of good beer.

Friday August 24th
We eat breakfast in the hotel and get ourselves packed up, with a goal of hitting the road at 10am, taking the A8 autobahn back to Munich to drop off the car by about noon, and getting to the airport by 1:30 for a flight at 3:50. We pretty much hit that schedule (except we get the airport closer to 1pm). Before we hit the road, a lady comes up and taps on the passenger side window. Turns out she noticed our tourist plates and is also doing an ED (her second one, a 328xi coupe) and she and her husband live only a few miles from me in Washington State….now that’s a small world.

The drive back to Munich has a lot of traffic (we actually crawl along at a dead stop - 10 mph for about 30 minutes) until it opens up and I manage to get the car up to about 130 MPH. This twin turbo six is friggin amazing J!!! It pulls as hard above 120 MPH as it does from 30 MPH. I could have easily taken it up to the 155 MPH cut off, if there was less traffic. The car was rock stable at high speeds.

Right before we arrive at Harms, I see a new E92 M3 with some black tape barely disguising as it passes us at a stoplight. Pretty nice looking (but not as nice as the Audi S5 I saw…see below). We find the ramp to Harms at the end of the road (thanks to the help of Bimmerfest…it is not well marked) and I meet Thomas in an otherwise empty office. We finish paperwork quickly and Thomas grabs a screwgun, takes off my front license plate, and slips it into a custom fit plastic sleeve for the ride home (I also remember to grab Bee’s nav disk, the first aid kit, warning triage and my iPod + adapter…which worked great by the way…having all your songs show up in the iDrive is pretty cool).

Total mileage at drop off: 408

We get a taxi ride to the airport for 40 euros (I’m guessing not really a taxi, but a friend of Thomas’s) in a nice E38 BMW 7 series.

The airport lobby has an M5 Touring (wagon) on display as well as the new Audi S5…which is totally gorgeous, with a very cool border of LED lights around the headlight assembly. I hate to say it but it looks 10 times sexier than the 335 coupe and even the M3 I had glimpsed an hour before…I’ll have to drive this when it gets to the US. We board our Lufthansa flight to home and sleep most of the way….


In closing, this was truly a trip of a lifetime. It was really special to get to spend a week with my dad and see Bavaria in a truly unique way.

Suggestions:

1. Bimmerfest-Bimmerfest-Bimmerfest. This site is the best. Invaluable tips and tricks, a great community of helpful users and. Of course, Beewangs Euro Nav disk loaner program. Don’t leave home without it!

2. Books: If you buy only one, get Rick Steves Germany and Austria (Great tips on sightseeing, good hotels and generally for travelling inexpensively). Frommer’s Germany has the best restaurant recommendations, and Frommers Best Loved Germany driving tours is also a winner.

3. Camera. I brought my digital SLR, but I really wish I had taken a smaller pocket camera too as I often didn’t want to carry a “big” camera. I would have gotten many more shots.
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__________________

Current Ride: 2011 M3 Convertible
Silverstone/Fox Red. DCT, ZCV, ZCW, ZP2, EDC, 19", Premium Sound and Satellite Radio

Coming Soon:
2000 E38 740iL

Recent Former BMWs:
2008 E60 535xi (via European Delivery)
ED Trip Report Link
2003˝
E46 M3 6-Speed
2004 E53 X5

BMWCCA Member since 2002

Last edited by cvb; 08-26-2007 at 11:40 AM.
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  #6  
Old 08-26-2007, 12:20 PM
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RoBMWED RoBMWED is offline
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Location: NW - finally home
 
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Ed

cvb,

Thank you for your excellent trip report and Congratulations on a successful ED. Glad you had the opportunity to make the trip with your Dad.

Very nice photos - and what great weather for traveling ! You chose the perfect time to be there.
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  #7  
Old 08-26-2007, 01:14 PM
Northcar Northcar is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: North
 
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Nice Report and enjoyed the photos. That was classic catching the farmer tractor parked next to the Pension you stayed at enroute. Brought back memories of having to follow those things on the roadways in Germany.
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  #8  
Old 08-26-2007, 02:09 PM
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Skiddy Skiddy is offline
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Nice write up and Pics... sorry we never got the chance to meet up on the day
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Read about my European Delivery adventure

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  #9  
Old 08-26-2007, 02:39 PM
ddtan ddtan is offline
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Location: Gig Harbor
 
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I've been looking forward to your trip report. Nice looking car. Sounds like you had a great time. Hope your wait is not too unbearable.
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  #10  
Old 08-26-2007, 08:58 PM
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L Seca L Seca is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvb View Post
After a short wait, we are met by a terrifically nice guy (whose name I am totally blanking on…he has been mentioned here before, and I even wrote down his email address to give him the link to my trip report…but somehow that paper has gone missing). Here’s a description and perhaps someone can post his name and I’ll update this report: Very nice black gentleman, I’m guessing in his mid to late 50’s.
That would be Ernst. Sorry, I don't know his last name.
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  #11  
Old 08-26-2007, 10:58 PM
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emdreiSMG emdreiSMG is offline
weissbiermeister
Location: Orange County, Calif.
 
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Excellent! Glad you enjoyed the trip with your pops.
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  #12  
Old 08-27-2007, 08:06 AM
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mason mason is offline
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Location: New York, NY
 
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Awesome, any picture on the S5?
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Old 08-27-2007, 08:30 AM
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guppyflyer guppyflyer is offline
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Congrats on the new 5er, I hope it gets here soon.

Erik
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  #14  
Old 08-29-2007, 08:17 AM
cvb cvb is offline
Love the 'Fest
Location: Seattle,WA
 
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Sorry, I didn't grab pics of the S5...but there are a lot on the web now.
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Current Ride: 2011 M3 Convertible
Silverstone/Fox Red. DCT, ZCV, ZCW, ZP2, EDC, 19", Premium Sound and Satellite Radio

Coming Soon:
2000 E38 740iL

Recent Former BMWs:
2008 E60 535xi (via European Delivery)
ED Trip Report Link
2003˝
E46 M3 6-Speed
2004 E53 X5

BMWCCA Member since 2002
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  #15  
Old 08-29-2007, 09:45 AM
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beewang beewang is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cvb View Post
Now, it's often been remarked how small the parking garages are in Europe, but until you actually experience the anxiety of trying to get your $60k car into one of these places, you don't really appreciate the fear. I mean, c'mon, these parking places were made for first generation Mini's and motorcycles with sidecars…. I actually give up on a few places as there is no way to get my car to fit between ......

Heheh.... Brother.. that is why God gave BMW the idea to invent PDC.

I take it you didn't order that option ... no... it looks like you did!! Doh!!
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  #16  
Old 08-29-2007, 10:04 AM
cvb cvb is offline
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PDC can't increase the width of the parking place
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Current Ride: 2011 M3 Convertible
Silverstone/Fox Red. DCT, ZCV, ZCW, ZP2, EDC, 19", Premium Sound and Satellite Radio

Coming Soon:
2000 E38 740iL

Recent Former BMWs:
2008 E60 535xi (via European Delivery)
ED Trip Report Link
2003˝
E46 M3 6-Speed
2004 E53 X5

BMWCCA Member since 2002
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