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European Delivery
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  #1  
Old 04-17-2008, 03:55 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
My ED Journal

Here is my ED report. Hope you enjoy. Give me a few minutes to upload everything, thanks

Itinerary:
London (3/31 Ė 4/3)
Barcelona (4/3-4/6)
Rome (4/6-4/11)
Munich (4/11-4/13)

Car: 335i Coupe Sparkling Graphite, black interior with dark burl wood trim and step with paddle shifters and pretty much fully loaded.

This is really more of a personal journal that I am sharing with you all than an ED report. Therefore here is a quick summary of the trip:

London
Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, Parliament/Big Ben, Tower of London, Imperial War Museum, Museum of London

Barcelona
La Rambla, La Sangrada Familia, multiple other Gaudi sights

Rome
Vatican museum, St. Peterís Basilica, Trevi Fountain, Coliseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, a couple more churches and lots of food

Munich
Welt (obviously), Berg, Garmisch, Andechs

Scroll down to post #13 to skip most of the report and go straight to the Welt and driving part of the report.

Warnings: I constantly use parentheticals, I occasionally lace political and religious commentary into my accounts and I love food so Iím likely to spend an inordinate amount of time on restaurants and the like. I tried to put helpful hints in for anyone thinking of traveling to these places but they may only be helpful for people with my particular set of quirks. Overall, I put a lot of time and energy into this as my way of giving back because I have gotten a lot from all of you.
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My European Delivery Journal
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2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum
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  #2  
Old 04-17-2008, 03:57 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Pretrip:
I did the ED arrangements through Irv Robinson. It was very easy and straight-forward. I can even recommend the finance guy (I normally hate the finance guys) who fed-exíd me things quickly and made things simple. The only problem I had was when I needed to change pick-up dates. Irvís assistants didnít think they could do it but tried unsuccessfully anyway. I called BMWís ED representatives (I think she is in New Jersey) and got the date changed myself. Not a huge deal (although it would have been if I didnít get my date), Iím just trying to be thorough. I will definitely use Irv again and would recommend him if asked.

Why we picked up the car last:
We originally planned an elaborate driving tour of Europe for our fifth wedding anniversary. Then my wife got notice that she would be called away on business in London right in the middle of the trip we were planning. We decided to use this to our advantage and changed the trip around. This is why we started in London. After that, (and a few other complications) the trip worked out the way it did. On to the trip

Day 1: London
We took a redeye out of Philadelphia on US Air. The flight was partially empty so we changed seats to a bulkhead row with plenty of legroom. Iím quite glad we didnít fly British Airways into or out of the dreaded terminal 5 at Heathrow. We caught the Heathrow Express train from the airport to Paddington Station (a little pricey) and then took a taxi to the Cumberland Hotel (not our choice) near the Marble Arch tube stop. I knew taxis in London were different but I was still a little surprised. I think they are an efficient use of space, but Iím not sure they would pass safety regulations in the States. We sat down and put our bags on the floor in front of us. A sudden stop and my carry-on flies into my lap. FYI, I wouldnít recommend the Cumberland Hotel. You walk in and it smells like lotions from Bath and Body Works. It has an ultramoderm but mostly irrelevant style that seems way overdone (example: the lobby had a clock with no numbersójust shadows of people dancing and the shadows were supposed to signify the time of day.) The rooms were tiny, packed with Ikea furniture and did not include closets. It also had the worst design Iíve ever seen for a small bathroom: the sink was too shallow and splashed water all over the floor and the glass-enclosed shower was designed in such a way that if you reached in to turn on the water, you got a nice jet of cold water in the face from the unadjustable shower head nozzle. Iím glad we arenít paying for this given that it is also extremely overpriced. I almost feel bad that anyone would pay for this. Wasnít there a Marriot or Sheraton nearby? Our first meal was at a nearby Spaghetti House. We didn't realize it was a chain restaurant at the time. Nevertheless, the food was genuinely good and actually authentic Italian. The waiters and staff were all speaking Italian. However, I did receive a bowl of hot water with a lemon slice in it for some inexplicable reason. If anyone knows why I received this please let me know because I am still clueless. Needless to say, I didn't touch the bowl.

Our first walking trip was a walk down Oxford Street to Picadilly Circus. There were no animals, it's kinda like Times Square. Oxford Street is where high class shopping happens in London (or so I am told). On the way there we saw a red R8 that made all the men on the street stop and stare. The engine sound was absolutely intoxicating. I was so impressed with the cars in London that I have a group of pictures just for the cars we ran across. We then walked past St. James Palace toward St. James Park. Apparently Prince Charles lives in St. James Palace. I wondered if he was home at the time. St. James Park is absolutely beautiful and has great views of Buckingham Palace from the bridge. So, we headed over the Buckingham Palace. I also wondered if the Queen was in. I thought there was some way to know for sure but I forgot it. For some reason the gates leading toward Buckingham say "Australia" at the top. Can any Anglophiles figure this one out for me? I watched the Palace guards and noticed that their movements and marching was not coordinated. It actually seemed a little haphazard. I think it's cooler that way but I'm American, what do I know?

From the Palace we walked over to Westminster Abbey (I must say, London is incredibly walkable and I wouldn't suggest taking the tube on your first trip unless it's a really long way and/or you already know what is along the walking path). Call me a nerd but I love flying buttresses. I would put Notre Dame number one but Westminster Abbey is a close second in terms of gothic architecture and wonderful flying buttresses out the places that I have seen in my short life. Unfortunately, we didn't get to go inside. One can easily spot Parliament and Big Ben from here. Always reminds me of the Griswald's European vacation. We took some pictures from the Westminster Bridge and tubed it back near the hotel where a local bar was having an ale festival. "Perfect, I'll have two."

Pics:
1. Taxi
2. Buckingham Palace from St. James Park
3. Buckingham again
4. Palace Guard
5. Westminster Abbey
6. Big Ben
7. My love of buttresses
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
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2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 04:15 AM.
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  #3  
Old 04-17-2008, 03:58 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 2: London

My wife had to work so I was on my own. I tubed it out near London Bridge and decide I would walk back over the course of the day. London Bridge is no longer as impressive as it once was. Tower Bridge, however, is pretty impressive. I crossed Tower Bridge and headed toward the Tower of London. I'm a history buff so I've been looking forward to this part of the trip. I loved the Tower of London. Not only did they have many important prisoners here but the prisoners wrote on the prison walls. It was kinda creepy but definitely interesting. As I walked through all of the sections I think this place should be called the Towers of London, there are a ton of them and each has a unique history. I saw the Crown Jewels. I'm not completely sure how I feel about this stuff. Some of the largest diamonds ever found, the Exeter Salt, the Queens crown, even a jewel encrusted golden "Grand Punch Bowl/Wine Cistern." This much ridiculously opulent wealth supporting a form of government that is largely ceremonial in this day and age got me thinking. The UK should have the best social services system in the world or they shouldn't have billions upon billions of dollars worth of jewels sitting at the Tower of London. I don't know if their social services system is the best in the world (the NHS is pretty impressive) but I think it should be. Once again, what do I know, I'm just an American. Saw Beauchamp's Tower and the Bloody Tower. They actually killed two little boys here so they wouldn't inherit the throne among other ghastly deeds of torture and death. There's a touching monument to many of the people who lost their lives here. Interesting way to end my tour of the Tower of London but hey, it is the Tower of London, what else did I expect? I walked to St. Paul's Cathedral (it was closed. I took pictures of the outside and thought I saw a BMW M1 as in a 1 series in M form. Do those exist or was it creative badging?) then across the river on the Millennium Bridge (pedestrian only) and toward Tate Modern. I heard Tate Modern is great but I typically don't like art museums so I walked right past it and headed toward Waterloo station. I ended the day having dinner at Chez Gerard's near the Waterloo tube stop. Boy do I love steak and chips (chips=french fries and crisps=potato chips) and it was excellent here. Not a bad price and only a little pretentious (I'm reminded of a Damon Wayans skit from "In Living Color") but watch out for the cover charge for bread and the like. It was getting late and I had done plenty of walking so I tubed it back to the hotel.

Pics:
1. Tower Bridge
2. Tower of London
3. Traitorís Gate
4. Tower Memorial
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
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2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 04:21 AM.
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  #4  
Old 04-17-2008, 03:59 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 3: London

My wife had to work a half day, I think I'll walk all morning. I walked to the Imperial War Museum. I started off walking through Hyde Park, dropping my wife off at work. Nice cars were everywhere. I didnít know Brits liked their cars so much but I guess I should watch Top Gear more often. In one short walk I saw a Lotus, Ferrari, Aston, Maserati and a Bentley. It was like being back on the West Side of L.A. I spent hours in the Imperial War Museum. I like history so much that I spent at least 3 hours going over the exhibits from WWI, WWII and the intervening and subsequent wars. The war posters exhibit entitled "Weapons of Mass Communication" is a must see. Unfortunately, I rushed a bit through the Holocaust Memorial/Crimes Against Humanity exhibit because I was late picking up my wife from the hotel. The exhibit didn't allow pictures. I've seen a few Holocaust exhibits and this one is pretty impressive. Overall, I would rate the Imperial War Museum a must see (who would've thought?). Met up with my wife and went to the Museum of London (remember, I really like history) which describes London history from prehistory through the Great Fire of 1666. Basically tribes, Romans, Kings, plague and fire, and that's before 1666. Unfortunately, the rest of London's history is lost under a "please excuse our mess, the museum is under construction" sign. They hope to have things complete by 2010. That doesn't help me now. So, we were a bit disappointed (at least it was free) but we did enjoy the parts we saw. We spent the evening hanging out with some friends from business school that live in South Kensington where they apparently make the best Indian food around. I can't substantiate that claim other than to say it was pretty good Indian food. We took a quick trip to Parliament to see Big Ben at night before heading back to the hotel. Big Ben is more impressive at night.

Overall impressions of London: Great city, exceeded my expectations. Relatively fast-paced cosmopolitan city with a great mix of languages, cultures and history. The whole city is a must see.
Favorite sights, Me: Tower of London (despite my rant about the Crown Jewels), Wife: Big Ben at night

Pics:
1. WWII Pacific Theatre Ships
2. War Poster ďPhased WithdrawalĒ
3. War Poster ďI Want YouĒ

and a couple of cars from London:

4. 1 series with M badging
5. Red R8
6. Hyde Park cars
7. Hyde Park XJR
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
My PCD Pictures


2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 04:27 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-17-2008, 03:59 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 4: Barcelona

Barcelona has held the title of "My favorite city in Europe" for 10 years running (of course, the last time I was in Europe was ten years ago) so we are expecting great things. The flight was uneventful. We rented an apartment near the university and Placa Catalunya which is essentially the beginning of La Rambla. The apartment was awesome with an enclosed balcony overlooking the street below, spacious interior and included washer and dryer (a necessity given our 2 week trip and relatively light packing) as well as full kitchen and complimentary champagne (Cava). As soon as we got settled in we went to Bar Ra (near the market in El Raval) for a late lunch (late for us, 2pm, probably typical for Barcelona). I highly recommend Ra, excellent food at decent prices and a fixed price menu. I was struck by the increase in the total number of tourists in Barcelona and especially the number of Americans. Definitely considerably more than ten years ago. And this is not even high tourist season (think late May and June). After lunch we walked through the huge open air market that is just off of La Rambla. It has everything, fresh fruits, all sorts of meats (including row after row of pig leg quarters hanging from the walls), veggies, cheese and anything else you can think of in an open air food market. Being from the Philly area it was like Reading Terminal on steroids. We walked down La Rambla all the way to the water and the Christopher Colombus monument (wasn't Colombus Italian?) then headed back up La Rambla to the apartment for a nap. After the nap we went down Passeig de Gracia at night. We were basically on a Gaudi tour. We saw Casa Batllo (aka house of bones, fish bones if you ask me), La Pedrera and La Sangrada Familia all at night. Gaudi was either a genius or deeply disturbed, there is no middle ground. La Sangrada Familia is a little scary at night. It certainly is not inviting. At night it's like something from a bad dream. By the way, I love Gaudi's style I'm just giving my impressions. We headed back toward the apartment then back to El Raval for some local bar action. We walked down Carrer de Joaquin Costa (tons of local bars here) and found a bar that wasn't too crowded, not too empty and promised to serve draft beer. The beer and atmosphere was excellent. 1.50 Euros per beer was hard to beat even with the exchange rate (about 1.5 or 1.6:1 right now). I think we dragged ourselves back to the apartment at around 2 am.

Pics:
1. View out of our apartment toward Placa Catalunya
2. View out in opposite direction
3. Open Air Market
4. Christopher Columbus Monument
5. Casa Batllo
6. Casa Batllo again
7. La Pedrera
8. La Sangrada Familia at night
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
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2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 04:49 AM.
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  #6  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:00 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 5: Barcelona

We understandable woke up late this morning. We head by metro to Park Guell (all Gaudi all the time) and still had to walk up a relatively steep hill after the metro stop. We had to stop for horchata (they spell it different in Catalon but I forgot how) on the way up. Man is this place weird. As the story goes this was supposed to be a residential neighborhood but it fopped and they turned it into a park. It probably flopped because people didn't want to live in such a strange place. Gaudi didn't believe in straight lines by the way. Unless it's columns, he seems to have liked columns. He also liked colors, especially on exteriors, a bit of a departure from most early 20th century architecture from what my limited experience can tell. The park is famous for the colorful dragon that protects its entrance. I think it looks more like a lizard, the wife suggested a Kimodo dragon. Either way we got pictures. We trudged back down the hill and took the metro to Liceu to have lunch on La Rambla del Raval. I think I like Raval and I don't think I set foot in Raval when I was here 10 years ago. We ate at a little spot called "Bella Toscano" and I had the bistec and fries (yes, that is the same thing I had in London and I still love it) which was excellent. As was the draft beer, the sunny outdoor seating in a pleasant plaza and the fixed price menu. There were tons of natives with few tourists and not too crowded. A table of Barcelonians sitting next to us were having a spirited conversation while smoking, drinking beer and eating fries with mayo. I try to do as the natives do but I can't tell what makes me more ill, smoking or french fries with mayo. We wanted to top off the meal with homemade horchata but I guess it is out of season. So, we went for churros with chocolate but got stuck with biscuits and chocolate instead (they ran out of churros), a poor substitute. Disappointed we head home for a nap.

Okay, who doesn't love Flamenco? We watched an awesome 1/2 hour set at Tarantos (in Placa Reial, must get there early for good seats or you'll end up standing) and it was only 6 Euro each. I grabbed a quick shawarma on La Rambla (a bit of a sell out in Barcelona but I really loved lamb shawarmas) and we headed to the apartment to get dressed and go clubbin'. We headed down to Vila Olympica (by metro) where they have certainly built the place up since I was here last. It essentially has a row of seafood restaurants and perpendicular to that a row of bars that become night clubs after a certain hour. Here you can truly go club hoppin' as there is no cover charge (which is fine for them since they get you with the outrageous drink prices) at any of the clubs (except maybe at the larger clubs down the street a ways from these clubs). There were a couple of clubs playing what I consider good music (since musical tastes are subjective I'll leave it at that) but I couldn't find the energy to dance, probably because I was suffocating from the thick, billowing second-hand smoke. I just couldn't do it and I had to wash my clothes when we got back to the apartment. Whatever, I'm too old to be dancing in nightclubs anyway. And, they were called discotecas last time I was here. Is that the difference... no it's just me, I've lost it. Oh well, back to the apartment to rest my bones.

Pics:
1. Park Guell
2. Interesting use of natural materials
3. Gaudi and color
4. Park Guell Lizard (Dragon)
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
My PCD Pictures


2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:03 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:00 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 6: Barcelona

We got up and out relatively early given our late night. Took the metro to La Sangrada Familia. I didn't go inside the first time I was here. Plus I'm certain there weren't as many spires ten years ago but I could have just made that up. Inside the church is unfinished but spectacularly open and airy. It will look different but I think it will be great when it is finished. I love the exterior. Who puts fruit at the top of a church spire? Gaudi, that's who. I like the Nativity facade much better than the Passion facade. That's probably because 2 different people created them. Guess which one Gaudi did. Gaudi was killed in 1926 by a tram car on his way to the church. I just think everyone should know that. Clearly the "Jesus Tower" isn't up yet. It's supposed to be this super tall tower with a crucifix at the top and a light that can be seen from outer space (does being seen from outer space matter anymore? I can see my front yard from outer space on Google world.). Isn't that just a little ostentatious? But, who am I to say, I'm just an American and Vegas is one of my favorite cities. I purchased a shot glass with a handmade picture of La Sangrada Familia on it in the church gift shop. Just think about that for a second. By the way, I collect shot glasses from every new city that I visit stemming back to the days when the only thing I could afford to purchase was a shot glass. I don't even drink shots. We headed back to La Rambla and I grabbed a quick shawarma (I'm definitely addicted and I haven't found good shawarma in Delaware. Heck, I lived on shawarma in Cape Town) and headed back to the apartment for a nap. We went to dinner at La Crema Canela in Placa Reial near the flamenco place. It opens for dinner at 8pm but if you get there early you'll actually get a seat (or you could make reservations). There were much longer waits at nearby La Qinze Nits. La Crema Canela served up some excellent and duck. We also ordered the "tender beef" that was not so tender but was good. I kept wondering why all of the menus were in English. Desert was at Gelateria Italiano which is located at the end of Portaferrissa just off La Rambla (Calle de Cucurulla where Portaferrissa hits Carrer de Pi). This is absolutely the place to go for a quick desert. Must get the waffle with chocolate (xoco nata) and add a scoop of gelato on top (I recommend fresa or strawberry) because it is divine. That was a solid end to the day.

Overall impressions of Barcelona: Still a fun city and pretty laid-back. A little more touristy than I remembered.
Favorite sights, Me: La Sangrada Familia, Wife: Flamenco

Pics:
1. La Sangrada Familia Spires
2. La Sangrada Familia FaÁade
3. La Sangrada Familia Interior detail
4. The place to go for after dinner snack
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__________________
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2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum

Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:05 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:00 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 7: Rome

We arrived at the airport in Rome but had to wait over an hour to get our bags from baggage claim. When we finally got out of baggage claim we found our driving waiting for us and looking very sleepy. He asked "trouble with your bags?" We said yes and then he said "You should be happy you got them at all, this IS Italy after all. Our apartment was a little out of the way and up a hill but cute. The metro system here is not quite as extensive as Barcelona and London but the city is pretty walkable. We hopped the metro to Flaminio and hung out in Piazza del Popolo taking pictures and marveling at how Romans were able to take Egyptian obelisks and plant them in the middle of their piazzas. The one in Piazza del Popolo is huge and flanked by fountains on either side. We walked down Via del Corso which is pretty nice shopping district. I took time out to admire a Porsche Carrera S. We walked past Piazza Colonna and admired another Egyptian obelisk, this one celebrating Marcus Aurelius. At the end of del Corso is a monument to Victor Emmanuel, first king of Italy. We then rolled past the Spanish Steps, headed over to Trevi Fountain and took a look at the Pantheon. Not much more one can do other than look at the exterior of sights on a Sunday in Rome. We had dinner at Maccheroni (one of the few recommended places open on Sunday) which is located in the Piazza del Copelle. The food was good, the beer prices (and wine and water for that matter) were excellent. After dinner we headed back to Trevi Fountain for a look at night and were a little underwhelmed. At night it looks like a Vegas creation with floodlights and tons of people. Itís definitely much more impressive during the day. With that we headed back to the apartment.

Pics:
1. Piazza del Popolo
2. Porsche Carrera S
3. Piazza Colonna celebrating Marcus Aurelius
4. Victor Emmanuel Monument
5. Trevi Fountain
6. Pantheon
7. Pantheon Portico ďM. Agrippa Built ThisĒ
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Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:20 AM.
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  #9  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:01 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 8: Rome

We traveled down the hill to the Vatican Museum. We saw the sculpture Laocoon (the wife's favorite), Raphael's Rooms, the Borgia Apartments, Raphael's Transfiguration, and, of course, the Sistine Chapel. We snuck some pictures of the Sistine Chapel ceiling even though there were security guards everywhere warning against snapping pictures (they came out blurry, I think there is an advanced anti-picture system there). The Sistine Chapel really is as amazing as you might imagine but it takes so long to get to it that you end up exhausted when you get there. We then went to St. Peter's Basilica. It is really large and imposing. Extremely elaborate and intricate detail as one might imagine. We took some pictures of the dome (which is 42 meters in diameter in deference to the Pantheon's 43.3 meter dome), the statue of St. Peter (where one is supposed to kiss or rub his foot for good luck) and La Pieta (another favorite of the wife's). St. Peter's has a sectioned off area that shows how other great churches in the world could fit inside of St. Peter's and where they would fit. Am I the only one who thinks this is a bit crass doing a "my church is bigger than your church" in St. Peter's Basilica? We also went down to the crypts and saw lot's of dead people (sort of). There was the tomb of Pope John Paul II, the only Pope I can remember by name (including the current one). St. Peter's tomb was also there. The wife asked, "Do you think St. Peter is really buried there?" To which I replied, "Do you think they would tell us if he wasn't?" I found the most interesting crypts to be the ones for people who weren't Popes, like a seemingly random Bishop that was there and the Stuarts. The Stuarts were England's last Catholic rulers and the remains of several members of the family are kept at St. Peter's. That topped off a very full day so we headed back to the apartment and ate dinner at a charming little pizzeria down the street.

Pics:
1. Laocoon
2. Guilded Ceilings of the Vatican Museum
3. Raphaelís Transfiguration
4. St. Peterís Square
5. St. Peterís Basilica
6. La Pieta (difficult picture because behind bullet proof glass and far away)
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Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:38 AM.
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  #10  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:01 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 9: Rome
We decided to do the Coliseum and Roman ruins. After a brief debate we decided we didnít really want to go inside the Coliseum. We get it, itís impressive and old and the basis for all sports stadiums even today. That being said, itís still impressive. Saw Constatineís Arch as well. Then we headed to Palatine Hill (we didnít know it at the time and were trying to figure out where we were) and saw Augustusí House and some old fountains at Domus Flavia. They were pretty impressive given the age of the ruins. We headed toward the Roman Forum walking down the oldest street in Rome. We saw the Arch of Titus, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constatine (pretty impressive), the Arch of Septimius Severus (very impressive) and the assassination location of Julius Ceasar. We headed out of the Forum and toward the Victor Emmanuel Monument and the statue of Augustus on horseback. We hung out there before heading to the Pantheon to take a look inside. Itís huge inside but despite the pagan origins itís a legitimate (and intimate feeling in my opinion) church. The Pantheon holds the tomb of Italyís 1st king (Vittorio Emanuele II), and Raphael. I heard somewhere that the Pantheon is called ďRomeís UmbrellaĒ because everyone goes there to hang out whenever itís raining. We saw a bit of that today as we grabbed a gelato and hung out under the portico while it rained.

Pics:
1. Coliseum
2. Constatineís Arch
3. Caesar Died Here
4. Ruins of the Roman Forum
5. Arch of Septimius Severus
6. Pantheon, interior shot
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Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:49 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:02 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Day 10: Rome

This was the day that we were supposed to go to Florence on a day trip. However, we realized that 1. we were tired and 2. we have seen a lot of art (what Florence is known for) so we decided to chill for most of the day and do some reading (and writing this journal). I took a trip to the local grocery store. I was embarrassed at least three different times by my lack of Italian language skills. So, I decided to follow the only other male shopper in the store around and buy what he bought. I ended up with bread, cheese, blood red orange juice (my wife loves it), olives and some weird pudding snack. I think that was a pretty good haul. I had to order 5 pieces of bread because 5 was the only number I knew in Italian at the time. At dusk we went to the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain (much better at dusk than at night in our opinion). We had dinner at Terra di Siena near Piazza Navona. Great authentic Tuscan food, lamb was awesome, good prices. Apparently, near Piazza Navona young people hang out late at some of the night spots. There are also a ton of gelaterias concentrated in a small area including Tre Scalini (home of the "Death by Chocolate"). We tried to take the metro back to the apartment but somehow missed that it is closed after 10:30pm. We ended up walking a really long way to Cipro station (the nearest to the apartment) then couldn't take the idea of walking up the hill back to the apartment. So, we took a taxi. Be warned, taxis in Rome charge a base fare of 5.80 Euro between the hours of 10pm and 7am (we didn't know that either).

Pic:
1. Trevi at Dusk
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Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 05:50 AM.
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  #12  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:02 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 11: Rome

We made a brunch of the goodies I bought at the grocery store and ate at the apartment. We then hung out at Piazza Popolo and just enjoyed the atmosphere. We had an all-day metro pass so we headed to the Spagna stop and had more tasty gelato at San Crispin. We stopped for an afternoon beer near the Trevi Fountain (at the Trevi cafť being served by a guy who speaks at least 7 languages including both Japanese and Mandarin) then headed over to San Petro in Vincoli (St. Peterís in Chains) Church. There we saw the chains used to bind St. Peter. We also saw Michelangeloís Moses (didnít realize he had horns), originally a tomb commissioned for Pope Julius II but Michelangelo died before he could finish it. We next went to Santa Maria della Vittoria to see the most elaborately designed church one could imagine. Itís as if they took all of the ornate dťcor from St. Peterís Basilica and squeezed it into a tiny church. We also saw Berniniís scandalous Ecstasy of St. Theresa. A class of English-speaking art students were there at the same time so we got a free lesson on Bernini. We hung out at Piazza Popolo some more then had dinner at il Brillo Parlante. The place has a very nice atmosphere (itís in the basement) with excellent pizza, great service and huge salads (I would say the salads are for two).
Overall impressions of Rome: Great city, tons to see, great food, a little touristy and crowded at times

Pics:
1. Random Roman ruins in the middle of the city (only in Rome)
2. Michelangeloís Moses
3. Moses close-up
4. Santa Maria della Vittoria
5. Ecstasy of St. Theresa (difficult shot because the students were in the way)
6. Jaguar XF (first Iíve seen on the road)

Favorite sights, Me: Pantheon, Wife: Laocoon
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Last edited by mondo21; 04-17-2008 at 06:02 AM.
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  #13  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:03 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Day 12: Munich

Finally! I couldnít sleep at all the night before. We got up early and bid Rome a fond farewell. After a short and uneventful flight we arrived in Munich. The airport seems so clean, orderly and efficient compared to Rome. Of course, we arrived in the relatively new and impressive terminal 2 boasting BMW advertisements everywhere. This is how it should be. Our bags came quickly. I was able to spot our bags despite the fact that I didnít use the BMW luggage tags. I just couldnít do it, seemed to ostentatious. Rolf was waiting for us near the EDEKA like he said he would. Very nice guy, very chatty. I think I picked up 3 out of every 4 things he said due to his accent. Gotta love it. He picked us up in his 318d wagon. I was hoping for a little more get up and go but Iíll have to wait to pick up my own car. He stopped at the Mini dealership near the Welt (my wife loves the Traveller) and we talked about what we should do with the 36 hours we will have the car in Germany. Of course, he assumed I had bought the European navigation DVD. I did not. I assumed that since we were only going to have the car for a short time then I wouldnít need it. Bad mistake. I think the DVD is worth it even if I were to drive directly to Harms after pickup if Iíve never driven in Munich before (which I havenít). Rolf did have good suggestions.
We arrived at the Welt. If Welt means ďworldĒ in German then what is the German word for BMW heaven because Iím in it. We dropped off our bags and signed some paperwork. We had to skip the factory tour because it would have pushed our pickup time even later than it already was (3pm). Iíll have to come back and do the factory tour on my next ED (and there will be another ED). We had a couple of hours to kill before our names showed up on the monitor so we took a look at the exhibits and the cars and had a few snacks. The anticipation was killing me, much worse than when I had 2 months to wait. I decided to map out Rolfís driving recommendations on Google maps and print out the details. Wait, I think I see my car. I mean how many sparkling graphite 335 coupes could be ready at any one time? Thatís gotta be my baby. I feel like a new father looking into the nursery window at the hospital. I took some pictures because that has to be it and I still have 30 minutes to wait. Finally the time arrived. We let our host know that we had an appointment to make so we hurried a bit through the multimedia presentation. I knew all of this stuff anyway since I have been obsessing over this car for a year now. The driving simulation was pretty cool though. Letís see the car! We went down to the car. It is rotating in perfect light. Is there a more perfect lighting solution for a new car than this display? The car is just rotating and rotating. Then it kept rotating and we had to wait for a couple more revolutions before we could get in. Apparently, the rotations are preset and canít be stopped mid cycle. Iím fascinated by this for some reason as if there is some BMW Welt wizard that determines that your car must rotate a certain number of times before you are allowed to touch it. First, we got the _ view. My car is even more beautiful than I expected. We opened up the hood. I think the engine bay has the perfect mix of exposed and concealed elements. I never noticed this when I was test driving back at home. Then I started the engine. I donít think Iíve grinned that hard since my wedding day. I believe all of the techno goodies were being explained to me but I donít think I was fully paying attention (will have to do a lot of manual reading back at home). Meanwhile, my wife was busy snapping pictures from all sorts of angles. Iím ready to drive now.
We exited the Welt and immediately got lost. European navigation DVD: just say yes. We somehow found our way to the highway and headed toward Harms. This was nervous time for us because we had to get to Harms before it closed or our driving trip on Saturday would be ruined. I was trying so hard to get there on time that I didnít really spend time enjoying the drive. We rolled into Harms at exactly 4:32. Push the door. Who knew, it seems like it is locked if you try to pull it. I was comforted to see so many other BMWís in the parking stalls but Iím not sure why. I was also comforted to see the number of BMW (and one Audi) keys on the desk. We quickly signed the paperwork then I was informed that my car is scheduled to go to Illinois (not South Carolina for PCD) after it hits port in Newark. That canít be right? Well, Iíll have 4 weeks to get it straight. Then we scored. The wife was thumbing through a Frommers book on the coffee table about Germanyís best-loved driving tours while I explained that we were trying to do a day of driving without the navigation DVD. We were handed a navigation DVD (2007 but thatís okay I think) and told to keep the driving tour book and leave it in the car when we drop it off on Sunday. Yes! By the way, I asked to borrow a navigation DVD at the Welt but they said the 10 that they loan out were all spoken for. We drove away from Harms (guided by the friendly navigation voice) quite pleased with our good fortune.
We drove to our hotel (Le Meridien) and Iím convinced I would have never found it without the nav. We had a very friendly and enthusiastic greeting when we arrived and the wife noticed that there were a lot of guys checking out the car as we drove by and got out. That seemed really strange to me because Bimmers are clearly a dime a dozen in Munich. Why would anyone stare at mine? I think it might be because my new car has badging. I seemed that the only Bimmers in Munich with badging were the ones being picked-up for ED. Is there a rule against badging in Germany? I only knew Rolf had a 318d because he told me. Le Meridien is a very nice hotel. We used our Starwoods points so it was pretty cheap. We used points plus cash and ended up spending 50 Euro per night including valet parking and VAT. Itís also close to everything in the pedestrian zone of the city. We put the baby away for the night and walked to Spatenhaus for a solid Bavarian dinner. As far as I can tell Bavarian means good, stick to your ribs food and quality beer. I wanted to walk home to get a better feel for the city and, of course, it rained on us as we did that. It didnít matter though because we were about to hit the autobahn tomorrow.
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2008, 04:04 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Day 13: Munich

We got up early and went on our drive. My wife kept telling me to call down to hotel reception and make sure the car was ready for us. I think she was more excited to go on the drive than I wasÖ no, not really but she was pretty excited. We were looking forward to driving around instead of the miles of walking we had been doing before Munich. Using the Frommers book and the handy GPS navigation we set out south on A95 for Starnberg. We didnít stay long in Starnberg, just long enough for a quick break at McDonalds just inside the town limits. We then headed for the lake town of Berg. We took a couple of pictures at the lake despite the cold weather. This was the place that King Ludwig II died in a tragic and mysterious boating accident. Rumor has it he was a little crazy. On the way to Berg we saw an X6 with badging but with the roundels cover with black tape. I canít explain that one. We next headed to Garmisch. However, we lost navigation due to some unexplained DVD error. That sucked. We headed out anyway, determined to enjoy ourselves. The iPod adapter and twin turbos still worked so what the heck? We left the parking lot of a little hotel on the lake just as a Ferrari meet was gathering. I would have stayed for the meet but I didnít realize it was a meet until I saw about 7 Ferrariís on the way to the same spot as we left.

Here is where I describe how amazing it is to drive this car. Low end torque, no problem. Passing makes the engine happy. I took onramps and other twisties like a champ. This is my first Bimmer. Iíve never taken curvy onramps at full speed like this before without even considering hitting the brake or even coming off of the accelerator. I feel like this car would have been offended if I did that, as if I doubted its abilities. It finally got to stretch its legs on an unrestricted portion of the autobahn on the way to Garmisch. Iíve driven an Audi S5 on the track before but this was more exhilarating. But, at the same time it was totally composed and I had complete control even when cars magically appeared on my right hand side as I flew down the highway. My complete control of the car was confirmed when the wife failed to complain about my speed. She didnít know how fast we were going until I told her after the fact. I had perfect connection with the road through both my feet and hands while driving this car at speed. So, thatís what people are talking about, I get it now. I hit 140mph (not km/h) and held it there because of engine break-in. I was told at the Welt that I needed to keep the RPMs below 4500 for the first 1500 miles. I know others have a different opinion but Iíll stick with what I was told. I was also told I would not need to hit 4500 RPMs but he clearly didnít know me. I hit about 4200-4300 RPMs when holding steady at 140mph so I didnít push any further. Instead I grinned all the way to Garmisch.

Garmisch is a cute little mountain resort town. It hosted the Winter Olympics in 1936. It has cool views of the surrounding mountains and seems to be not far from Austria (and Italy for that matter). We parked across the street from McDonalds at one of the few free parking areas and walked around the town. Again, itís a cute town with shops and stores selling sweets but itís a little touristy. Most of the natives we talked to before going on our driving trip have heard of Garmisch but werenít particularly excited about it. We then headed for Oberammergau without navigation. We made it anyway. Oberammergau is famous for their Passion plays (I think they are done every 10 years), colorful house frescoes, and wood carvings. Of course, we got lost once we got there so we stopped to take pictures of a mountain with a cross at the top of it.

We were then headed out toward Andechs (aka Kloster Andechs). Munich natives typically nodded their heads in appreciation when we told them that Andechs was on our itinerary. Somehow we got navigation back on the way and not a moment to soon as directions got a little hairy coming from Oberammergau (itís much easier to get to Andechs from Munich). I was happy to have navigation back as I could fully enjoy the twists and turns in the mountains and even a couple of switchbacks. Iím not sure if I enjoyed the raw power displayed on the autobahn or the precise handling in the twisties (think ďmy car feels like itís on railsĒ) more. On the way to Andechs, somewhere near Peissenberg, we stopped for pictures but I didnít want to get out and turn the car off for fear of losing navigation. I hope this is just because we got an old DVD and not a permanent problem. Overall, Andechs is pretty small but there is a bus that takes people to areas with walking trails. It mostly houses an old monastery, a popular pilgrimage stop for many in and around Munich. I donít think they come just to see monks though. These monks brew some of the best beer in the world. Legend has it that the monks drink beer to sustain themselves while they are fasting. There is a famous ďpubĒ here called Braustuberl. We went to the restaurant (Klostergasthof) and had a great meal. The lamb was awesome and the strudel was the best Iíve ever imagined strudel could be. We sampled multiple beers (they were only about 2 euro each) but my favorite was the dark wheat beer (donít know the German description). It is a must if you make it to Andechs. We had a quick trip back to Munich (I did hit 140mph again, maybe for the last time in this car) and headed back to the hotel. We saw a little sports car made by smart (makers of the fortwo) that was cute but severely outgunned (even with my break-in period) on the autobahn. I only mention this because I didnít know smart made other little cars that arenít quite as ugly as the one they are importing to the States.
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Old 04-17-2008, 04:04 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Day 14: Munich (and home)

We dropped the car off at Harms and I grabbed the triangle, first aid kit and front license plate. Rolf was right on time picking us up and we headed to the airport. All told we put 163 miles on the car (it had 0.3 miles on it when we got it). Iím going to miss the car but Iíve waited all this time so whatís a couple more months? Now I just need to make sure the car gets delivered to South Carolina.

Overall impressions of Munich: Very clean and orderly, cute sights in the mountains and lake areas. Awesome drives with limited traffic outside of the city.
Favorite sights, Me: BMW Welt, Wife: Andechs

Overall impressions of Europe: I continue to love visiting Europe. There are always more things to do and see (and eat). Now, I must get back and visit new cities and smaller, less well-known places.

Favorite (non car related) sight: Tower of London, perfect mix of history, intrigue and excess.
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2008, 06:23 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Pics from my first day in Munich:

Pics:
1. Rolf and me discussing the driving tour
2. My first look inside the Welt
3. What a great looking car
4. Others receive their cars while I wait. I was excited for them, was that weird?
5. I think thatís my baby down there. Oh, donít tease me
6. Signed the BMW Guest Book
7. Approaching my car
8. Ah, there it is
9. Getting Instructions but not really listening
10. Spatenhaus, official restaurant of ED?
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2008, 06:25 AM
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guppyflyer guppyflyer is offline
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Mein Auto: ist verkauft!
Sounds like a great trip! And judging by the pics, the weather was cooperative. Here's to a speedy re-delivery!

Erik
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Old 04-17-2008, 06:41 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Pics from my second day in Munich.

Pics:
1. X6
2. X6 again
3. Berg
4. Canít leave the car, the nav DVD might self-destruct
5. Andechs
6. Andechs Monastery
7. Andechs sculpture
8. Klostergasthof
9. Aaahhh, beer
10. smart coupe, cute but a little out of its weight class
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__________________
My European Delivery Journal
My PCD Pictures


2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum
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  #19  
Old 04-17-2008, 06:45 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
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Location: Delaware
 
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Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Quote:
Originally Posted by guppyflyer View Post
Sounds like a great trip! And judging by the pics, the weather was cooperative. Here's to a speedy re-delivery!

Erik
It was a great trip. The weather was mostly overcast, rained a couple of times but warm enough not to concern myself about needing winter tires.
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2008 335i Coupe|Sparkling Graphite|Black Dakota|Dark Burl Walnut
2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum
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  #20  
Old 04-17-2008, 07:46 AM
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bimmernupe bimmernupe is offline
UR MOTHER IS AN ASTRONAUT
Location: N. Va. via NJ, then DC(college)
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,005
Mein Auto: 2008 335i
Great, great write-up. We are deciding btw farther west or east on our next ED. So your Spain portion will be perused again at that time.
Spatenhaus has great food and atmosphere. I also like the analogy of "I feel like a new father looking into the nursery window at the hospital.", I would have thought of it like that. I wonder if that is what the Welt designers had in mind, like giving EDers an audience as we pick up our cars.
You story gets two snaps up (In Living color reference)
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MY FAMOUS INDEPTH ED TRIP REPORT

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(Yes I know that there are words spelled w/ a "K" where a "C" should be. Only Distinguished Gentlemen of K A Psi will understand.)


ED @ Welt 27.10.07 l Drop-Off Bremerhaven 05.11.07 l Made Port NJ 26.11.07 l PCD 21.12.07
2008 E92 335i Barbera Red l Saddle Brown l Aluminum Trim l ZPP l ZCW l ZSP l CA l Nav l HD Radio l 6MT l PDC l 6FL

Join BMWCCA www.bmwcca.org #369006

Last edited by bimmernupe; 04-17-2008 at 08:14 AM.
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  #21  
Old 04-17-2008, 08:07 AM
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bagbklyn bagbklyn is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NYC
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 466
Mein Auto: '14 435XI
I see a trend here...

Not to knock off a fabulous report from mondo21. Excellent Report!

I see a trend here... Long multiple threads like bimmernupe, which are great. A couple of years ago when I started looking at planning my ED, reading the ED reports was a pleasure of mine.

In fact, I was always disappointed when I only saw short reports and a few pictures.

Bimmernupe, you still have the coveted Bimmerfest ED Report award for 2008, but I can also see that you have definitely set a trend and the bar really high!
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April 21, 2008 ED Pickup E92 335XI TiAg with Coral Red and Alum Trim
Redelivered - May 30, 2008 Retired
Currently Driving '11 E92 same setup like '08
On Oct, 21 2013 ED Pickup F32 435 x-Drive M-Sport Black with Coral Red
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  #22  
Old 04-17-2008, 08:13 AM
bimmernupe's Avatar
bimmernupe bimmernupe is offline
UR MOTHER IS AN ASTRONAUT
Location: N. Va. via NJ, then DC(college)
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,005
Mein Auto: 2008 335i
Quote:
Originally Posted by bagbklyn View Post
Not to knock off a fabulous report from mondo21. Excellent Report!

I see a trend here... Long multiple threads like bimmernupe, which are great. A couple of years ago when I started looking at planning my ED, reading the ED reports was a pleasure of mine.

In fact, I was always disappointed when I only saw short reports and a few pictures.

Bimmernupe, you still have the coveted Bimmerfest ED Report award for 2008, but I can also see that you have definitely set a trend and the bar really high!
and I'm still laughing OMG
Thanks
A long report is the only way to handle ED withdrawal until the next one.
__________________
MY FAMOUS INDEPTH ED TRIP REPORT

Racism is not an exkuse to not do the best you kan -Arthur Ashe
(Yes I know that there are words spelled w/ a "K" where a "C" should be. Only Distinguished Gentlemen of K A Psi will understand.)


ED @ Welt 27.10.07 l Drop-Off Bremerhaven 05.11.07 l Made Port NJ 26.11.07 l PCD 21.12.07
2008 E92 335i Barbera Red l Saddle Brown l Aluminum Trim l ZPP l ZCW l ZSP l CA l Nav l HD Radio l 6MT l PDC l 6FL

Join BMWCCA www.bmwcca.org #369006
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  #23  
Old 04-17-2008, 08:22 AM
berford's Avatar
berford berford is offline
Awesome power!
Location: Suburban Chicago
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 4,855
Mein Auto: 2007 Alpin Weiss 335ci
Nice job, nice pics, nice coupe.
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2007 BMW 335ci, Alpin Weiss, saddle brown, SP, PP (tree trim), Step, hot seats. Mod free. As pictured: on SSR GT1s with Goodyear F1s. AKA "White Lightnin'"
2012 Mini Cooper Hardtop S in chili red with white mirrors, top and racing stripes. AKA "Big Red S."
Euro Delivery pics here: http://picasaweb.google.com/berford/GermanyAndSwitzerland2007?authkey=uGnlSSrqMTY
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  #24  
Old 04-17-2008, 08:57 AM
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Hammerwerfer Hammerwerfer is offline
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Location: Deutschland, Ireland
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 436
Mein Auto: 540iT6, 951
Mondo,

How could you possibly drive your new car only 160 miles or so?

In two weeks I would expect 10 to 20 times that much!
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  #25  
Old 04-17-2008, 09:03 AM
mondo21 mondo21 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Delaware
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 213
Mein Auto: 335i Coupe
Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmernupe View Post
Great, great write-up. We are deciding btw farther west or east on our next ED. So your Spain portion will be perused again at that time.
Spatenhaus has great food and atmosphere. I also like the analogy of "I feel like a new father looking into the nursery window at the hospital.", I would have thought of it like that. I wonder if that is what the Welt designers had in mind, like giving EDers an audience as we pick up our cars.
You story gets two snaps up (In Living color reference)
Thanks, I was, of course, inspired by your write-up. Thanks for picking up that In Living Color reference too, I was starting to feel old.

Quote:
Not to knock off a fabulous report from mondo21. Excellent Report!
Thanks bagbklyn

Quote:
Nice job, nice pics, nice coupe.
Thanks berford
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2011 X3 35i M Sport|Carbon Black|Black Nevada|Brushed Aluminum
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