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European Delivery
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  #1  
Old 07-10-2012, 02:36 PM
GermanRoots GermanRoots is offline
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Location: Oklahoma City, OK
 
Join Date: May 2012
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Mein Auto: 2012 550i M-sport
Complete ED Trip Recap

Note: my compliance post can be found here. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho....php?t=630358*

I put this post together to serve as 1) a journal for me, and 2) entertainment / insight for you.

Day 0: OKC to DFW to LHR to MUC. Too may flights for my taste, but that's what it takes when you live in small market OKC. We landed in Munich around 3:30pm and Rolf was there waiting. What a great man! We (wife, two kids 7,4) crammed in his personal 3 series wagon and drove to LeMeridien Munich. He came into the hotel with us and gave me some tips to explore Munich and was on his way. We took a short walk, had dinner, went swimming at the hotel, and went to bed.

Day 1: Took train from LeMeridien to Welt (about 15 minutes) to my 8:00 appointment at The Welt. Paperwork took about 10 minutes, meanwhile my family made themselves comfortable eating some great food in the premium lounge. Signed Das Buch and waited (anxiously) for my delivery at 9:00. It was everything I hoped for and more. We hung out at the Welt for a bit, then walked over to the museum for an hour or so. At 11 they had a motorcycle demo inside the Welt, the guy had and endo bike and rode it up and down the stairs, it was pretty cool. We left the Welt around noon (after a second breakfast) and headed to Neushweinstein. Then back to LeMeridien to wrap up an amazing day.

Day 2: Left hotel around 10 for LegoLand Deutchland. It should have been a 1.5hr drive, but a semi trailer filled with bottles of booze tipped over. We were parked on the autobahn for about 3 hours. After witnessing several locals walk over to the shoulder, whip it out and take a whiz I decided I had to join them. We finally made it to LegoLand and had a great time. Headed back to the hotel around 7.

Day 3: Left early for Lake Konigsee, took a beautiful boat ride. That has to be one of the most beatiful places on earth. Then headed to Eagles Nest around 1, then ended up at the Hallein salt mines around 4. We stayed just outside of Salzburg at the Sheraton Fuschlsee-Salzburg Hotel. Nice place with a great pool. It was a pretty full day, but I wouldn't have done it any different. This is an amazing part of both Germany and Austria.

Day 4: Woke up early and washed the car at a self-wash bay down the street from the hotel, I was eager to get all of the dead bugs off the grill. Then I headed back to the hotel to get my family ready for the day. We attended church in Salzburg then headed north back to Gunzburg to spend a few more hours at Legoland (I purchased an annual pass so I felt somewhat compelled to make good use of it. The annual pass allows a one time visit to a Legoland in the US, which we plan to use in September.) in the afternoon we headed up to Stuttgart and stayed at LeMeridien which has been my favorite hotel thus far. The staff was awesome and they didn't give me any grief for having my two kids in my room. (most European hotels have rules that you can only have three guests in a room. My strategy has been to stay at hotels with swimming pools to wear my kids out at the end of the day. So far the strategy is paying off.

Day 5: Had a great breakfast at Le Meridien Stuttgart, it was rainy so we decided that rather than exploring Stuttgart on foot we would head to the Black Forest earlier than we planned. We ended up taking the 500 from Freudenstadt to Baden-Baden and hit fog for a good part of the journey. What we did see was gorgeous. At one point along the way we took a short hike through the forest on a trail lined with wood planks and a few bridges, it kind of had a Hansel and Greta feel to it. The Forest was everything I hoped it would be and I plan to come back sometime on a clear day. We then proceeded south to Lucern, I was able to get in my last 100mph+ experience on the German autobahn before arriving at the Swiss border. We only stayed in Lucern long enough to see the Lion (solemn experience), grab some food and walk around for a bit. The last segment of the days journey involved my favorite drive yet. The road from Lucerne to Grindelwald has some of the most breathtaking views on the planet. Massive waterfalls, green valleys, tight windy roads, lakes, trains, and quaint Swiss towns along the way. I have visited Interlakken several times but each time by train. The experience by car has been very different, and very amazing. Also, staying in Grindelwald versus Interlakken has also been a positive experience. We stayed at Parkhotel Shoenigg which is a fantastic place with exceptional views. We are paid about chf500 per night, which is steep, but On par for the area. Plus I could see Mt. Eiger from my bed looking out the window. This has always been one of my favorite places to visit, and it is certainly is living up to my past experiences once again.

Day 6: It was pretty amazing to be awakened by the natural light, only to look out the window from bed and see several amazing waterfalls, incredibly lush green hillsides, and dramatic rocky peaks of the Bernese alps. As far as I'm concerned Grindelwald is one of the most spectacular places on earth. I didn't put a mile on the car today, which briefly made me sad, but the location I was in helped me quickly get over that feeling. We caved and paid 580chf for my family to have access to the trains and lifts in the Jungfrau region for the day. Our first gondola ride took us up First ski resort area, views were stunning and there was a cool zip line at the top we didn't do. Then we went back down to Grindelwald to catch the train that took us up to Kleine Scheidigg (about 7,000+ feet) where we enjoyed some tasty Brawts. Finally we boarded the train that took us to the top, near the peak of the (just above 11,000 feet). In August the Swiss will celebrate 100 years of the trains existence. It literally goes right through Mt. Eiger. Unfortunately the top was really crowded and after 15 minutes or so the altitude was starting to get to me. We lingered another 30minutes or so then headed down. The rest of the day was spent walking and dining in Grindelwald. We also let the kids have their fun at the pool at the Parkhotel Schoenigg, great hotel!

Day7: We started early hoping to capitalize on the morning hours with clear visibility. First we drove to Lauterbrunen to catch a view from the other side of the valley, made a quick pass through interlaken, then made our way towards Geneva. I wanted some scenery for the drive, so I opted for a route that took us to Spiez on the A8, then south on the 223 towards Kandersteg. I'm glad I took this route as it was a gorgeous drive. What I didn't anticipate was the part where I had to drive my car onto a train cart and be pulled through a tunnel for 20 minutes. It was actually pretty cool, but I'm not sure how I missed that on Google maps. We then picked up the E62 / A9 down the gorgeous Valais valley. We had lunch in Martigny, made another stop to walk the city of Montreaux, then made our way to our friends place in Geneva.

Day 8: Woke up first thing and took the car to a self wash bay. I've been very impressed with my two car wash experiences. Both times the water has been very hot with ample water pressure. We took it pretty easy walking around Geneva. Had a great pizza at Millanos and walked some more. Then for the first time all trip I crashed for an hour and a half nap. I think the excitement of the new car kept my energy up for a full week, and now time has caught with me. Early bed for me.

Day 9: We took an interesting drive from Geneva to Aosta, Italy. The route took us through the Mont Blanc tunnel which is Europe's longest. Aosta is a cool little tone with many Roman empire structures still in tact. On the way back to Geneva we stopped at Courmayeur for dinner. I would liken Courmayeur to Grindelwald. It was a very cool town and I would love to go back and spend more time there. It was also neat to have views of Mont Blanc from the Swiss / French side and the Italian side all in one day. It's not everyday I get to have breakfast in Switzerland, lunch in France, and dinner in Italy.

Day 10: We celebrated my daughters birthday today by having a beach side grill out on Lake Geneva. Sadly I didn't put any miles on my new ride, but it was a nice break and I think my daughter was happy to have stayed put on her birthday.

Day 11: Departed Geneva and headed to Bondeval to watch stage 8 of the tour de France. We took some back roads through the Jura and found some pretty windy turns through the forest. Unfortunately my son got motion sick in the back. I was equipped with air sick bags that I lifted from my flight to Europe, but he still managed to get some vomit on the seatbelt and seat. The seat was easy to wipe clean, the seatbelt wasn't. I did my best to clean and I left it belted up so it will dry. It was hard not to be upset at him, but that's life. The Tour de France was amazing. We found a spot right at the top of the first class 2 climb of the tour called Cote de Maison-Rouge. It was so cool to see the premier riders in the world cruise by and be so close to them. We spent the rest of the day driving to Paris, checked in at the Sheraton CDG and went to bed.

Day 12: I woke up early to wash my car for the final time prior to dropping it off at TT Car Transit. The car wash didn't have the brush which was disappointing, but the sprayer had hot water and ample power. Thank you to fellow festers who so accurately stated where to find the car wash. Drop off was easy, although the place was so hectic that I left feeling a little uncertain that my car will actually make it home. I guess this is where I need to have some faith in BMW and the process. The shuttle driver brought me back to the Sheraton where I readied my family and headed to Disneyland for the day. Disney was okay! I hate crowds and this park seemed to be even more hectic than the US parks. I almost went fisticuffs with a Russian man who along with him family blatantly line cut about 50 people. When I confronted him the crowd cheered me on, unfortunately that didn't phase him. Later I told the Disney people at the park but they didn't seem to really care. My wife got upset with me for being confrontational, so I tried to explain that if I didn't call him out, who would? She still wasn't in agreement. Nonetheless, we had a good time, but very unlikely to ever go back to Disney Paris.

Day 13: I was reminded of a great joke. Why is the Champs-Elise lined with trees? Because the German soldiers prefer to march in the shade. I really didn't want to include Paris on this trip but it was a concession I had to make to my wife. We took the kids to see the Eiffel tower, the Arc de Triumph and Notre Dame. We also enjoyed some great food along the way. I've been to Paris on several occasions and I don't feel the need to come back for a long time. As I reflect back on this trip, my favorite times have been out on the open road in my car enjoying the natural beauties of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. Next time I do an ED trip I will focus on the out of the way scenic spots of Europe and leave all big cities off the itinerary. One highlight; my 5 year old daughter must have been inspired by French graffiti artists. She wrote KATE withe her new Disney markers on the hotel chair. Fortunately it wiped right off. We I discovered it she said "I didn't do it". She's going to be a trouble maker!

Day 14: Easy trek from the Sheraton CDG down to the American airlines desk. CDG to DFW to OKC. Great trip, great memories, looking forward to seeing my car again.
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  #2  
Old 07-10-2012, 03:53 PM
Me530's Avatar
Me530 Me530 is online now
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Great write-up. More photos please!
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  #3  
Old 07-10-2012, 05:01 PM
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mdsbuc mdsbuc is offline
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Originally Posted by Me530 View Post
Great write-up. More photos please!
+1! Nice report.
I have to say there are a number of large cities that I've been to just once or twice, that I can easily say I don't care to revisit. Paris, though, isn't one of them for me. I've been twice and feel that I've got at least a few more visits left in me.
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