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  #26  
Old 06-08-2011, 05:41 AM
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SJAPoc SJAPoc is online now
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Sorry I got on your report late David. Fabulous, of course.... and yes, I'm very jealous



Thanks for the memories
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F33 435i M-Sport | Mineral Grey | Oyster/Black/Estoril | 441M 18" Wheels | Driver's Assistance | Premium | MDHP | M-Sport Brakes | MPPK for added weight | MPE to round it off


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  #27  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:36 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Hey Stuart:

I tried to get you and Beth to overlap with us for at least part of this trip, but you both demurred. So don't come cryin' to me now that you're seeing all the fun stuff.

Driving just one of these passes was a big deal for me; don't I remember you did like four?
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-01-2011 at 01:18 PM.
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  #28  
Old 06-08-2011, 03:00 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Here's a postscript to the Barolo visit. As previously mentioned, they made the official introduction of the 2007 vintage of this renowned wine on Sunday. We made the trek and arrived in light rain to the media-attended announcement, which was held outside under a big canopy. We stood on the fringes like the tourists we were, but still got a glass of wine to sample just like the rest of the folks.

After checking out the Corkscrew Museum (I swear) and getting some lunch which for me was a nice risotto made with Barolo wine, we went back to the regional wine tasting room where every one of the 115 Barolo producers had offered some of their product for tasting (and sale, if you wanted). A 15 Euro fee bought you a glass and an open playing field for the next three hours. Taste all 115 if you could, or just try a couple and call it a day.

But by this time the weather had deteriorated further and our previous plan to drive around to some nice villages in the area went out the window about an hour into the tasting session. The weather was too bad, the tasting room was nice and warm, and the wine was Barolo, after all.

By the end of the allotted three hours, we had actually shared 35 tastes between us, which felt like a pretty valiant effort given the circumstances. I suppose we could have gone for all 115 if we had stood at each of the three tasting tables in succession, each of which carried Barolo from a different part of the production zone, and gone swirl-sniff-sip-spit. But I just can't bring myself to be that disrespectful to the product of so much hard work.

It's said that the professional wine experts taste a hundred wines a day. If true, my hat's off to them. I felt sure that my taste buds were saturated by Hour Two, but surprisingly was still differentiating wines #33, 34 and 35.

Not having dropped breadcrumbs from the parking lot on the way to the big event, we got a little turned around (blame it on the wine) and got pretty wet in the heavy rain on the way back to the car. But it was a really unique, totally worthwhile experience.

We drove the 7½ hours from Alba to the town of Velletri just south of Rome today to visit some friends who have a house here and are staying for a month. The M3's seats are definitely way more comfy than the rest of the 3er line. A drive that long in my '08 E93 would have been tough for me and really uncomfortable for Karen, whose limit in the '08 was about two hours. But there's a big difference in the gas mileage as well; that 90 Euro fillup on the Autostrada was pretty sobering, considering there was still a quarter-tank left.

We had home-made pizza with the family of the folks we're visiting, and with four bottles of wine open, were glad the walk home was only about a hundred feet. I've heard that at an Italian dinner table, everyone talks at once. Seems to be only a slight exaggeration.

Key to today's photos:
A little rain in your Barolo doesn't hurt a thing.

Barolo as far as the eye can see.

One of the 115, served by actual sommeliers.

Homemade pizza with sliced potatoes, rosemary and cheese. Oh, yeah…......
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-09-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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  #29  
Old 06-08-2011, 05:26 PM
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boothguy ,
Thank for great report and photos. After finish reading your post I feel I was there with you.
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  #30  
Old 06-08-2011, 05:39 PM
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But, but, but... I had JUST gotten back from Holland a few weeks before you left... and I'm leaving for Norway in a few weeks from now! I would have loved to join you but my boss would notice my absence.

Nonetheless I am jealous...
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  #31  
Old 06-09-2011, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boothguy View Post
Hey Stuart:

I tried to get you and Beth to overlap with us for at least part of this trip, but you both demurred. So don't come crying' to me now that you're seeing all the fun stuff.

Driving just one of these passes was a big deal. don't I remember you did like four?
Total number was 18... I think By the time we started heading back up to Germany, through the Maritime Alp passes, Mrs. Poc was giving me some pretty dirty looks

BTW, Mrs. Poc wasn't very happy going up the Stelvio Say no more

Your better half certainly made the right decision letting you go up on your own
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  #32  
Old 06-09-2011, 08:40 AM
Jeeter Jeeter is offline
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Great car and it sounds like a great trip. I'm picking up the same car in a couple of weeks, a LeMans Blue e93 with MDCT and Beige interior.

My wife has seen the Top Gear episode with Stelvio and knows we are going up it. It will be interesting to see how she likes all the hairpin turns. I'm sure I'll be loving it as I'm the one that will be driving. We are going in the opposite direction as the Top Gear guys. We will be starting in Merano that morning and staying that night in Davos. This means we start with Stelvio and end with Fluela. Maybe I'll have to get her a glass of wine or 2 in Bormio to settle her nerves and help her relax for Fluela.

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  #33  
Old 06-09-2011, 03:26 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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The two sides of the pass are significantly different. It's possible to carry more speed on the south (Bormio) side of the summit. The hairpins on the north (Stilfs/Gomagoi/Davos) side are so tight and the climb so steep that you'd be going slowly if you were doing it on foot; let alone piloting an M3. If you want to drive it aggressively, do it really early in the morning. I did it before 0800 and had the road almost to myself.

Congratulations on your discerning choice of vehicle, and let us see/hear how it goes.
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271
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  #34  
Old 06-10-2011, 03:50 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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We’re now happily ensconced in the heart of Tuscany: Chianti Classico country. Specifically, Panzano in Chianti - a little south of Firenze. Drove here today on the first completely sunny, no-windshield-wipers day since probably Munich, 11 days ago. But before I get started on detailing the wretched excess that the next three days is likely to entail, let’s first get caught up on the past three.

The balance of our two days with our California friends currently staying in Velletri just kept getting better and better before we headed out to Castel Gandalfo – the summer residence of the Pope.

Surprisingly, Castel and the surrounding area is dotted with lakes formed in the craters of extinct volcanos. The deep waters provide a cooling breeze that people sweltering in Rome’s summer heat and humidity have been drawn to for centuries. Pope Benedict apparently wasn’t at home, since no one answered when we rattled the gates. But a nice lunch of Porchetta in nearby Ariccia was a carnivore’s dream. To make it, a whole pig is stuffed with rosemary, salt and other seasonings and then consigned to an oven for hours. Our Porchetta lunch consisted of a pile of pork served on a double sheet of paper, with some bread and fresh Mozzarella on the side. The crackling skin on the outside and the rosemary, salt and other spices on the inside of virtually each slice were delicious.

Next day, our friends Angela and Romolo took us to Artena – the steepest hilltown I’ve ever seen, for a nice lunch. The hill that the town is built upon is so steep, that the house behind is almost completely visible above the house in front; at your front door, you’d be literally looking out well above your neighbor’s chimney. The place is so steep that they employ a squad of mules to pack out the day’s trash.

Lunch was in a little osteria that had been hacked out of the rock of the hill. Like us, the diggers had run out of energy as they went further into the rock, because where we sat in the grotto, maybe 25 feet from the door, we had to bend over to get to our seats against the rock wall.

Here's the key to today’s pictures:

Nobody home at the Pope’s summer cottage.

Pile of Porchetta with Mozzarella and bread.

Mules still have jobs in the steep streets of Artena.

Restaurant dining area was chiseled out of the rock.
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__________________

My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 06-12-2011 at 02:57 PM.
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  #35  
Old 06-10-2011, 03:57 PM
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Awesome! Keep those reports coming!
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  #36  
Old 06-13-2011, 03:43 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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So, while visiting our new/old friends in their home-for-a-year in Spoleto, I realized that while it's nice to have surprise, unplanned experiences while visiting a new place, it's REALLY good to experience it with someone who knows it well. And thus it was with Spoleto. Let me explain.

We had been trying to meet with fellow Italian students and wine-lovers Steve and Denise face-to-face in SoCal for nearly three years (they lived in nearby Temecula) and had failed every time. But it took us traveling halfway around the world to where they are now staying in Spoleto, Umbria, Italy for a year, to finally look them in the eye for the first time. And it turned out really well.

They're empty-nesters and Steve's work allows him to do it from wherever there's an Internet connection. So being the adventuresome type(s), they decided to live in Italy (specifically Spoleto) for a year – just for the experience. Points to them already, just for this.

They invited all sorts of folks who might be traveling their direction to visit, and we actually took them up on it. They welcomed us into their comfy apartment inside the old walled city and we proceeded to enjoy some wine we brought, plus some they offered, over a nice lasagna they made just because we were coming. Then, we took the first of a series of walks with them around Spoleto, with them pointing out some of their favorite spots and generally giving us the insider's view of their adopted town.

Next day, they also took us to a real Italian pranzo: a three-hour lunch that was technically four courses but in actuality offered something like eleven or twelve different dishes (if you count the five different pizzas on their own). Not being satisfied to sit inside on a beautiful sunny day, we hauled a table outdoors and were having a great time until the first fat drops of an eventual torrential downpour chased us indoors for dessert.

Next morning, I discovered that a local cat had used the BMW's hood as a bridge the previous day. A nice set of muddy, meandering paw prints made for a nice contrast on the hood, all dried to a crusty finish.

Key to today's pictures:
Lasagna and wine with Steve and Denise on their Spoleto terrace.

Halfway up to the top of Spoleto's walled town, with some sunshine between the rain clouds.

Local shoe repair man is always ready for a short break for a chat.

Excavated Roman amphitheater is still used for performances.

Oldest church I've ever seen at just about 1,500 years.

Muddy cat took a shortcut over the hoof of the car. That's okay, it's already really dirty.
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__________________

My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-01-2011 at 01:32 PM.
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  #37  
Old 06-16-2011, 09:05 AM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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After the sensory and gustatory overload of Piemonte – Barolo in particular - Chianti Classico country in the heart of Tuscany actually turned out to be a nice, relaxing three days.

On our way from Spoleto, we took Steve and Denise's advice and stopped for a while in Assisi. We walked around the fringes of a First Communion ceremony where proud parents were snapping pictures and exchanging the latest news – a nice slice of small-town life.

Once in green, hilly Chianti country, we stayed in a wonderful converted villa called Relais Fattoria Valle outside of Panzano in Chianti, where I had the best two dinners of the trip thus far. We also managed to destroy an artfully prepared dessert in less time than it takes you to read this passage.

Panzano is also where Dario Cecchini, the world's most famous butcher, has his shop – just a stone's throw from where we were staying. We walked over Sunday morning and the shop's renowned hospitality was flowing freely – I had barely stepped inside the shop when a nice girl offered us a couple of glasses of wine, and there was a table overflowing with bread and oil, salumi, cheese and other good stuff, while a guitarist played in the background. All this in a space that barely accommodates six people and to accompany the slicing of some of the world's finest beef – the local Chianina.

Sampling the local wines was simplified in nearby Greve in Chianti, where the regional wine cellar has 150 wines available on a pay-as-you-go system. Everything from a .60 Euro taste of a D.O.C. Chianti, up to an 8.40 Euro taste of a bottle of Marchesi Antinori Solaia that sells for 190 Euro or $265. First reaction was that the Solaia was pretty good, but not something we'd pay that much for. But with the really fine wines, we're finding that the finish is what makes the difference. So on the subsequent tastes, we started to re-think our decision. We finally left with a really nice bottle of Chianti Classico Riserva, for considerably less than $265.

The Saturday market was in full swing in Greve as well. Each of the specialty merchants has all their wares packed inside trucks and go from town-to-town on their individual market days. They all specialize, so while one may have salumi and cheeses, another might have shoes, purses or textiles and sewing needs.

We were also able to visit and taste at Castello Brolio, which has been in the same family for 32 generations. Our Wines of the World Professor, Dick Colangelo, knew Baron Ricasoli (whose family owns the castle, the vineyards and winery) quite well, and we tried a little subtle name-dropping, but to no avail. No matter, though – we really enjoyed the wines and walked out with a couple more purchases.

Not far away, the BMW got its picture taken in front of the modern portion of Villa Vignamaggio, where the Gherardini's family's daughter, Lisa was born in 1479, married a local silk merchant named Giacondo, and later posed for the world's most famous portrait. Five points and a really nice glass of wine to the first person who can name the portrait.

We also relaxed our no-big-cities rule to visit Siena – which really isn't a big city – but it's still packed with way more tourists than we want to be around. It was worth it to see the piazza where the famous Palio is run (I'm a Tartuca fan) and to visit the cathedral, which was built primarily to impress outsiders.

Key to today's pictures:
First Communion day in Assisi – proud papas are the same the world around.

Tuscany's rolling hills in some welcome sunshine.

This terrific dessert was gone in the blink of an eye.

World's Most Famous Butcher Dario Cecchini in his element in Panzano.

Self service wine tasting in Greve - when else are we gonna try some $265-a-bottle wine?

Market day in Greve – all this sewing stuff goes back in the merchant's truck at the end of the day.

The BMW gets its picture taken in front of a famous lady's house.

Siena's famous Campo in a panoramic shot.

Siena's duomo was built to impress visitors – us included.
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__________________

My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-01-2011 at 01:41 PM.
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  #38  
Old 06-16-2011, 01:36 PM
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mona lisa
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  #39  
Old 06-16-2011, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3ismagic# View Post
mona lisa
+1! La Gioconda !!!!!
Just yesterday watched episode with Anthony Bourdain at this butcher house!

Sienna was our favorite city in Tuscany!
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Last edited by MB330; 06-16-2011 at 10:09 PM.
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  #40  
Old 06-17-2011, 06:04 AM
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Wow! What a trip. Congratulations! Superb write-up as well. We are starting to plan our next ED for June of 2012 and Tuscany is the destination. Thanks for pointing out some great things to do. I hope your trip back is safe and re-delivery is quick.

PS. I, too, can appreciate the 1000th post as this is mine.
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  #41  
Old 06-17-2011, 12:13 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Thanks for the kind words and congrats on your own 1,000th post, Nate. When I told The Spousal Unit that I had saved my post count so that Delivery Day was #1,000, there was the typical eye-rolling and muttered comments about misplaced priorities.

Everyone above scored correctly that Lisa Gherardini, later Mrs. Francesco del Giacondo, sat for the portrait the world knows today as The Mona Lisa. It was pretty cool to take the BMW's picture in front of her ancestral home in Chianti country. Unfortunately for the posters above, our own skywalkerbeth answered me correctly via direct e-mail within a few minutes of the original posting. There must be some correlation between being a corporate attorney and the amount of free time one has on their hands to surf the interweb. Maybe a topic for a different thread.
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-01-2011 at 01:43 PM.
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  #42  
Old 06-17-2011, 03:53 PM
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skywalkerbeth skywalkerbeth is offline
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Location: Primary residence in No. VA, beach house in SC
 
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Er, uh, I responded to an EMAIL. I didn't see this post until later.
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328cic, Sparkling Graphite, black leather and burl walnut, MT, ZPP, ZCW, Comfort Access, Navi with iDrive, Satellite, iPOD integrator and ED was on May 26, 2008 at 8 AM!

eek! She's home! In my garage!



Hannah Belle crosses the Alps - the photos

Hannah Belle crosses the Alps - the blog
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  #43  
Old 06-17-2011, 03:57 PM
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3ismagic# 3ismagic# is offline
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Location: land of milk and honey
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skywalkerbeth View Post
Er, uh, I responded to an EMAIL. I didn't see this post until later.
I hereby declare shenanigans!
I will accept my 5 points and glass of wine at your earliest convenience.
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European Delivery July 26th 2011
ED Video: https://vimeo.com/60051914
ED Trip Report:http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=557294

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  #44  
Old 06-18-2011, 02:00 AM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Location: Vista CA
 
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Mein Auto: E93 - ED'ed 5-08
The e-mail went out perhaps five minutes before the question was posted here on the Fest, and Beth beat the first responder here by something like 3 1/2 hours. No shenanigans here...
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271
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  #45  
Old 06-18-2011, 11:26 AM
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MB330 MB330 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boothguy View Post
The e-mail went out perhaps five minutes before the question was posted here on the Fest, and Beth beat the first responder here by something like 3 1/2 hours. No shenanigans here...
I don't think e-mail is count here.
Stop looking for excuses!
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  #46  
Old 06-19-2011, 07:49 PM
petejp petejp is offline
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Location: PA
 
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When did you drop off? Pretty sure I saw your car there yesterday. I parked right next to it with my LMB E93 M3 and snapped a couple pics.
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  #47  
Old 06-20-2011, 09:21 AM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Two peas from the same pod, huh? If it was incredibly filthy, despite the heavy rain in Munich the night before, it was undoubtedly mine. Stessed a little because the Log-In-Out staff forgot they had agreed to be there at 0900 Saturday to accommodate my flight schedule, but the actual turn-in process took seven minutes start-to-finish. I guess it can be accelerated a bit when the customer is standing there with steam coming out of his ears. Made the BA flight with time to spare.
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271
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  #48  
Old 06-20-2011, 04:40 PM
petejp petejp is offline
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Location: PA
 
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Yes, it was quite dirty Hope you didn't have to pay their extra little fee for dropping off at a different time then.



I knew it had to be another forum'er because you had that paper in the window.
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  #49  
Old 06-20-2011, 05:08 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Location: Vista CA
 
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Posts: 1,336
Mein Auto: E93 - ED'ed 5-08
I don't anticipate a fee since they blew the appointment time. Congratulations on your discerning choice of vehicle and exterior color. What color interior and trim?
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 06-20-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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  #50  
Old 06-20-2011, 11:23 PM
boothguy boothguy is offline
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Driving the short hour or so across the Val di Chiana from Siena to Cortona was a little like going home: familiar surroundings, friends happy to see us, and things we already know are going to be fun.

This is the fourth time we've visited Cortona, in the southeastern part of Tuscany near the border with Umbria and on a high hill that looks out over the valley and with Lake Trasimeno in the distance. Which means we've been here every time we've visited Italy. It's actually my favorite place in the whole country. It just has that "at-home" feeling about it.

Our headquarters is the wonderful Hotel Villa Marsili, just outside the walled part of the town. Hotel Director Stefano and front desk staffers Iulia and Luanna were all on hand to greet us and Iulia had stayed after the end of her shift for a special hello/goodbye because she was leaving on a vacation of her own the next day. We shared a bottle of the Chianti we had brought from Greve and spent a nice couple of hours catching up.

People have been coveting this hilltop since the Etruscans first pushed the Umbrians off it nearly 3,000 years ago. In fact, the stones in the lower part of the city wall were put there by the Etruscans. But it was author Frances Mayes's Under the Tuscan Sun that originally brought us here back in 2000, and has since turned the place into a real tourist mecca – something we're not exactly thrilled about.

The place seems full of Brits and Americans, which makes the process of interacting with the locals harder. But the good news is that as a hilltown, it's not getting any bigger and there's no chance of a Walmart opening nearby.

It's also a great base for driving the open, rolling Tuscan hills that a trip here at this time of year is all about. And with the weather finally fully cooperating and the top town, cruises to Montalcino and Montepulciano were every bit as tasty as the wine we sampled both places. Maybe moreso.

The Brunello that comes from the fully 140 producers that surround the tiny town is at the top of the ladder of Italian wines, right up there with Barolo. We were lucky enough to taste with a producer at Villa dei Barbi and although he let us know that the bottle of '03 vintage we bought would be even better in five years, it didn't even survive another five days before the cork got pulled. It really epitomized the term "elegant" you often hear ascribed to other reds. Wow.

After a drive to the outskirts of town to re-visit Frances Mayes's Bramasole which we'd first seen 11 years ago, on impulse I turned through the old wall at Porta Colonia, intending to drive the maybe ¼ mile through town. A local waved me down before I made a complete fool of myself by driving through the "vehicle restricted" part of town. But that meant I had to negotiate the residential part of town high up the hill, which we're not too familiar with, in a 414-horsepower highway-shredder, on stone-paved streets really made for pedestrians and the occasional donkey. Pretty, um…...... exciting.

Want to go for a drive?



The key to today's pictures:
Cortona, on her hill.

Karen and I share some Chianti with Villa Marsili's Iulia and Stefano, who Karen calls "my Italian husband". He's happily married, with a little girl 18 months, so I'm not too threatened.

As the M3 gets dirtier, the pictures need to be taken from farther and farther away. This is in our traditional photo spot in front of Villa Marsili.

Karen needed this "Amazing Race" moment with a giant hay bale.

Moments like this are what I signed-on for.

T U S C A N Y…......

Sumptuous breakfast spread at Villa Marsili.

Frances Mayes's Bramasole, and the story that surrounds it, have turned Cortona into a tourist destination.

View from Cortona into the Val di Chiana with Lake Trasimeno in the distance.

We met a nice Dutch couple who had bought this great wine estate near Cortona and drove out to see it.
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My 2011 ED trip report: Second ED off and running... after a brief interruption
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=545068


My 2008 ED trip report: "Thirteen months, 135 miles and wha....?"
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=288271

Last edited by boothguy; 07-09-2011 at 11:25 AM.
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