Photo Journal of 3/15 ED: Iceland,Welt,Castles,Rothenburg+ vonTrapp Villa in Salzburg
In homage to the 50th Anniversary of The Sound of Music (and our included venture to Salzburg) here is a photo summary thread of our last week's European Delivery experience "starting at the very beginning."
The chronology of events and included photos to be set forth in the below series of reply posts to follow this post's introductory outline are as follows:
I. A stop over in Iceland to include a dip in the thermal waters of The Blue Lagoon.
II. A ride in the 7 Series extended BMW to The Welt from the airport which included an abbreviated city tour of the areas surrounding the Welt courtesy of our BMW provided driver.
III. The Premium Lounge wait including the buffet items and watching the elevator bringing cars up to the delivery floor.
IV. The "Stairway to Heaven" as we caught sight of our new 435i M Sport Mineral Grey with Coral Red interior xDrive Convertible - with Bernard as our delivery person.
V. First night in Germany at The Charles Hotel with its spectacular swimming pool and spa that we found just as enticing as Iceland's Blue Lagoon.
VI. The following day's Factory Tour and return to the Premium Lounge as well as momentos from the Welt gift shop to include engraving of the Key Chain and acquisition of a replica car.
VII. Travel to the Castles and parking of the new BMW at the Schlossrestaurant hotel just below Castle Neuschwanstein followed by tours the next day of both Neuschwanstein and the nearby castle that was the summer home of King Ludwig II - capped off of course by an obligatory photo op at the Bimmerfest Castle Photo spot.
VIII. Drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and a stay inside the city walls at Hotel Herrnschlosschen followed by walking the 1.5 mile City Wall the next day.
IX. Driving from Rothenburg to Salzburg and stay at Maria's Suite in Villa Trapp, the actual home of the von Trapp Family from which they fled Austria. Maria's Suite was living quarters of Maria when she left the convent and came to tutor.
X. Our final day of touring spent walking the streets of Salzburg and joining in on the original Sound of Music Tour.
XI Return to Munich with a stay at the Hilton Munich Airport hotel just across the street from the Log In Out Drop off location.
In all we covered 651 miles in our five driving days. Have to add a special shout out for the leather wrapped M Sport steering wheel that felt perfect for driving and the steering feel that accompanied our specified Dynamic Handling Package as well as the upscale look of the leather dashboard special request option. It was my first experience with a Heads Up Display and I am really glad that I included the added speed limit information accompanied by my actual speed that was inputted to the HUD by including the Driver Assistance Plus Package. It was especially useful for night driving where the changing speed limit signs were not as evident. Other included options and packages in addition to both Driver Assistance Packages and the Technology Package were Active Cruise Control (thankfully did not need its automatic braking to avoid collision feature), the Cold Weather Package, and Harman Kardon Surround Sound. Our interior trim was the Ash Grain Fine Wood with Inlay. Coupled with the special request leather dashboard it made for a great combination, one which I have yet to see on any other 4 Series and may well be rare, if not unique, since the default metal, rather than wood, trim is usually seen with the already limitedly available leather dashboard.
I have included photos and brief commentary for each of the above "chapters" by way of a series of Reply Posts below to this introductory post.
I. The stop over in Iceland enroute to Munich
Taking advantage of Icelandair's no charge stop over in Iceland worked nicely to break up the air travel to Munich, especially since the airline flies direct to Munich from Iceland. Our oldest daughter who accompanied us got her first introduction to what an included European hotel breakfastwas like, commenting that it was unlike any "continental breakfast" she had experienced in the U.S. We followed the hotel's sumptuous buffet breakfast by an afternoon bathing in the thermal waters of The Blue Lagoon. The Lagoon's Lava Restaurant proved up to its recommendations and we enjoyed the "Tasting Menu" with its multiple courses of Icelandic specialty dishes that included the best Haddock we have ever had and a lamb dish (pictured below) that was almost as out-of-this world as Iceland itself seems to be. (Emphasizing this point we encountered a fellow hotel guest who was there from NASA on a two month mission for some type of airborne equipment testing.)
Definitely a unique experience partially submerged in the open waters as snow fell!
II. Arrival in Munich and Transport Directly to The Welt
Having stopped over in Iceland, it was only an additional three hours of airtime to Munich. The BMW offered complimentary limo service was there to greet us and our ride was an extended 7 Series BMW. Then off we went to The Welt as our destination.
Not sure if it was because the day was so nice for early March, the fact that our driver made a personal connection by learning his daughter had recently spent time in our home State, or just that we were early for our Welt Delivery Appointment, but we were offered and accepted the opportunity of a mini tour of the area near the Welt. We were shown the University District, the surrounds of Marienplatz, location of The English Garden, The Olympic Park, all accompanied by interesting and informative commentary and responses to our questions.
III. The Premium Lounge and Awaiting our Delivery
Our luggage was taken away and we were led to the restricted elevator taking us to the Premium Lounge where the required paper work was completed and the wait began. To keep us occupied we sampled the tasty offerings from the complimentary buffet and watched as others on the floor below were picking up their BMWs. Prominent in the photos below is both "The Stairway to Heaven" that we would soon walk as well as the Huge Glass Elevator doors that would open to allow exit of the cars being brought up from the unique storage garage below.
And if you are really impatient, there is a BMW Pedal Car over in the children's corner of the Premium Lounge you can make move:
Great looking color combo! Are you back stateside? We're at Hotel Herrnschlosschen tonight, really nice property.
IV. Catching Sight of our 435i M Class Mineral Grey xDrive Convertible
Bernard Hausmaninger was our delivery person and he led us down the "Stairway to Heaven" where we had our first glance of the open topped convertible on the spinning table below. As we continued down to the car we were shown the new features that have been added since our prior 335i Convertible that was wrecked last fall when I was struck by a driver running a red light. (Have to add that the contoured sport seats kept me in place as the airbags went off and the car spun around 90 degrees onto the sidewalk, making me a believer - so in ordering its replacement I made sure sport seats were again included.)
The Welt photographer took shots of us and we were presented not only with framed photos but a USB drive with them on it. I asked about the safety vests and Bernard said they are not providing them now. He did confirm to us that the tank was full, and explained only the U.S. customers get that perk for the same reasons that have been discussed previously in this forum.
In presenting the car Bernard commented on both the leather dash option we had chosen as well as complimenting us for including the upgraded option that provided for automatic braking that was apparent when he looked at the front grill.
As Bernard met with us I could not help but recall Bimmerfest forum member and long time contributor JSpira's reporting as the first European Delivery customer at the Welt as he picked up his new BMW by, if I recall correctly, Bernard as well some eight years ago. (We missed the Welt experience that same year by just a few months due to a July European Delivery for our 335i Convertible before the Welt had been completed.)
VI. Return for Factory Tour and visit to the Gift Shop
V. First night in Germany at the Charles Hotel with its spectacular swimming pool and spa.
VI. The following day's Factory Tour and return to the Premium Lounge as well as picking up momentos from the Welt gift shop to include engraving of the complimentary key chain and acquisition of a replica scale model of our car using the also complimentary BMW 10 Euro Credit as its down payment.
Starting with photos from the Charles Hotel located in Munich. We enjoyed a pleasant evening walk from the hotel to Marienplatz and the Rathaus there with its Glockenspiel as well as picking up some strawberry cakes and apple strudel across from the Rathaus to take back to the hotel for an evening snack.
Momentos from the Welt Gift Shop including engraving of the complimentary key chain:
With regard to the factory tour we had previously toured the Regensburg factory where the then 335i and now 435i convertibles are manufactured. Included herein is a link to that prior tour with details. By way of comparison there were some differences of note. Here are some factoids from my notes:
The Munich BMW factory is a vertical model with floor space enhanced by the line going up onto higher floors due to the limited footprint available in the urban setting of Munich. Doors and hoods at the Munich plant are transported in from the Regensburg plant. The Munich plant makes engines for the BMW owned Rolls Royce, along with four cylinder and even smaller engines. (The brochure, which may be outdated, does reference 6 cylinder diesel engines.) Our guide advised though that all BMW 6 Cylinder engines and all BMW diesel engines are manufactured at BMW's plant in Steyr, Austria. That would mean that the 435i 6 cylinder engine in my vehicle came from Austria.3,300 engines are manufactured at the Munich plant each day.
Automated parts delivery carts are not employed at the Munich plant as they are at Regensburg. In the Paint Shop the undercoat paint is limited to Black, White, Red, and Silver with the selection best matched from those four to the exterior paint color. The painted body shells are not assigned to a specific order. However, once the vehicle assembly begins each car on the line is pre sold (including to dealers) and there are no stock cars built. The most amazing thing about the assembly is that a coupe can follow a touring which can follow a sedan model in sequence on the single line employed at the Munich plant. Currently 8 kilograms of paint are applied to each car. Spinning Emu feathers are used to brush off each body shell before it is dipped into the first of the corrosion/painting baths. The undercoat and final coats are painted completely by robots and it is entertaining to watch the robots open and close the doors and lids to apply the interior paint. Reportedly 540 suppliers are used and there are over 10,000 variants including 200 variants for seats alone. Our guide did not state that no two BMWs are identical but that has been suggested by others.
62 percent of the completed vehicles leave the Munich plant on railroad cars with rest exiting by truck. There are 7,000 plus workers at the Munich plant although the body shell welding is accomplished almost entirely by robots. Generous benefits are given to workers and include a 22 to 27% discount for purchase of their own BMWs. 4 to 5 kilometers of wire are placed into each vehicle by hand. The assembly line workers are made up of 12 persons for each group with members of the group designated as "jumpers" capable of handling skills of each person in the group so they can step in to allow for breaks and to fill in for absences. Approximately 1,000 BMW vehicles are manufactured at the Munich plant each day. Per the somewhat outdated brochure the models made at the Munich plant at the time of its printing are listed as 3 series sedan, 3 series touring, BMW active Hybrid 3, BMW 4 Series Coupe, and BMW M4 Coupe. Again there is only a single line and any one of these vehicles can follow another with the robots, as well as the workers, capable of varying their tasks as to each.
Here is the link to the above referenced Regensburg factory tour from our prior European Delivery:
VII. Travel to the Castles and the Bimmerpost Official Castle Photo Spot
This is as good a point as any to insert a word about the Navigation system included as part of the Technology Package. U.S. maps are loaded on the hard drive but a USB stick with European maps on it was given to us by Bernard when we picked up the car at the Welt. The system worked ALMOST seamlessly. I say almost because while it got us within blocks of our final destinations we were four for four in never actually reaching the "final destination." The drive to the Schlossrestaurant hotel just below Neuschwanstein Castle was the first encounter. We were led to a pull off that went to a parking location that would have continued on to the final leg but alas there was no road connecting the two. This promised the challenge of getting to use the back up camera for the first time to back out from a challenging spot. Helpful citizenry were able to point us the right direction to complete the drive to the hotel.
Since our hotel's location was just minutes away from the Neuschwanstein Castle itself, I took advantage the next morning to walk up to the castle first thing in the morning where i was alone at the entrance to watch the sunrise. Included are some photos from that early morning encounter as well as of the parked car at the hotel's parking lot with a view of the hotel and the castle looming overhead.
Room at the below pictured Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein hotel just below Neuschwanstein Castle:
And as the day advanced we together took in the castle tours at both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles. Here are views of Neuschwanstein as the day progressed including Mary's Bridge as visible from the Nueschwanstein courtyard. Unfortunately the pathway trail to the bridge was closed on this visit due to ice and snow so I have included a photo taken from Mary's Bridge on our prior summertime European Delivery visit when accompanied by another of our daughters.
Oh, here is a little cheat sheet I found on display in the basement of Neuschwanstein to help sort out just how King Ludwig II fits into the family lineup:
It was then on to nearby Hohenschwangau Castle where we toured the Castle that King Ludwig II actually grew up in as a child (at least during the summers. )
Included are photos taken from both the prior and current separate European Delivery trips. These show each of our two daughters wearing Alpine hats from gift shops in the same location just below Hohenschwangau Castle, though at different points in time and an additional photo from the prior European Delivery trip showing the summertime view of Neschwanstein with both the other daughter and a son who were with us on that trip.
And finally, here is the obligatory shot of our newly acquired BMW parked at the official Bimmerfest Castle Photo Spot:
VIII. Drive to Rothenburg ob der Tauber and Walking the 1.5 mile City Wall
Our drive from the castles to the walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Rothenburg on the river) ended again with the Navigation system getting us close to our final destination, but was again short. This time construction at the second wall entrance was the culprit as pictured below. The locals were again helpful in providing the final directions to our destination, Hotel Herrnschlosschen. Pictured below is the obstruction, along with a photo of the hotel taken the following day with our car positioned across the street. A photo of our room follows.
Our most gracious hosts at Hetel Herrnschlosschen were able to make a reservation for us at the Romantik Hotel Markusturm's restaurant that had been recommended to us as having excellent German food including the best Wienerschnitzel. The meal met the expectations. Pictured is the entrance to the restaurant and the meal:
The next morning it was then on to explore the city and hike the entire 1.5 mile City Wall as pictured below:
An unexpected plus for us was getting to view the many and varied Easter decorations and Easter treats that were evident throughout Rothenburg, a sampling of which are pictured below:
And to keep this thread car centric, here is the BMW in the secured lot provided by our hosts and parked on the street as we departed:
IX. Salzburg and the BMW at Villa Trapp with stay in Maria's Suite
True to form the Navigation system did its job getting us to Salzburg, Austria from Rothenburg, but once again teasing us with only getting within two blocks of Villa Trapp, our hotel. Maybe this was karma's way of forcing us to make personal contact with the local populace as once again a helpful native provided the final direction. AS noted in previous postings on this forum we lucked out in being able to book Maria's Suite at Villa Trapp, the actual residence the von Trapp Family resided in when they fled from Austria. Maria's Suite was Maria's home when she left the Convent and moved in to tutor. It occupies the upper left corner of the Villa with the bedroom facing the front and the adjoining living room, where I presume she provided the tutoring, facing the back. In the night view below you can see the lit windows on the upper left of the Villa as we occupied the rooms. The below first series of photos depict views of the interior stairway and hallway leading to Maria's Suite as well as the interior rooms of the suite itself as we encountered same upon our evening arrival.
The concluding series of photos taken the next morning at Villa Trapp depict the BMW parked with the Villa Trapp as background, the Villa itself in daylight. As a point of historical interest, after the von Trapp family left the Nazi's occupied the Villa and Hitler himself even visited it during the war.
For some additional commentary and photos regarding our time spent at Villa Trapp and the Sound of Music sights in Salzburg (Specifically with regard to a recent ABC 20/20 TV Special in which Julie Andrews accompanied by Diane Sawyer return to "the scenes of the crime" check on the below link to a companion thread on this forum and scroll down to Post #5 therein:
X. Streets of Salzburg and the Original Sound of Music Tour
At the suggestion of our hotel host we left the car parked on the Villa Trapp property and took the bus into the city center of Salzburg. There we explored the town center and spent some time shopping before crossing the bridge to take in Mirabell Gardens which was then followed by boarding the Tour Bus for the four hour Original Sound of Music Tour. The initial photos are from the Mirabell Gardens best known as the primary location for the filming of the do rey me sequence as Julie Andrews playing Maria led the singing von Trapp children during the filming of The Sound of Music now some 50 years ago. This being the 50th anniversary of the movie, our tour guide commented that his company alone was expecting an additional 30,000 tourists this year above and beyond the more than 300,000 thousand that come to Salzburg each year primarily to see the film locations for The Sound of Music. I will let the photos speak for themselves, but here is a brief summary of what one sees on The Original Sound of Music Tour taken from Salsburg.info's Salzburg Travel Guide:
"The life of the von Trapp Family is inseparably linked to the city of Salzburg. Every year nearly 300,000 people visit the Trapp Family homes and film locations. The 1965 film about the moving life of the novice, Maria von Trapp and her singing family with Julie Andrews in the leading role, became an international box office success. The songs from "The Sound of Music" are known throughout the world.
The Sound of Music tour includes the following original film locations:
Mirabell Gardens and Pegasus Fountain (dancing scene with Maria and the children)
Leopoldskron Palace (where the family lived in the film)
Hellbrunn Palace (song scenes)
Nonnberg Convent (where Maria lived as a young novice)
St. Gilgen / Wolfgangsee (opening scene in the movie)
Mondsee Church (wedding scene)"
And here is Julie Andrews return to Salzburg's Mirabella Gardens, accompanied by ABC's Diane Sawyer as it was seen on this week's 20/20 TV Special commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the movie:
The Gazebo that was built by the film studio as a prop for the outside views in the family garden and then moved to its present location after the filming. (Interior views of the Gazebo in the movie were on a larger reconstructed Gazebo set in Hollywood.)
The lake side of Leopoldskron Palace - which is actually a music academy- which served as the backdrop for the back of the von Trapp home as it was depicted in the movie:
St. Gilgen/Wolfgangsee as the opening scene in the movie:
The church in somewhat distant Mondsee where the interior wedding scenes were shot in the movie. (The actual wedding in real life took place in the Abbey's chapel in Salzburg.)
To see some of the above photographed Sound of Music scenes juxtapositioned with the movie itself and more specifically with Julie Andrews return to Salzburg for commemoration of the movie's 50th anniversary click on the below link to a companion thread (Scrolling down to post #5 therein):
XI. Return to Munich and stay at Hilton Airport Hotel and Drop Off
Making it a perfect four for four, the Navigation system once again got us close to our final destination, this time the Munich drop off location, but omitted a specific instruction to advise when to turn off of the main roadway leading us to go a half block further which then required backing out of the next door Hilton Hotel's parking garage driveway and forcing a complete circle around to eventually get back onto the one way roadway. Finally arrived at the Log In Out facility the car was parked to await pick up and transport by the transport company to the port and eventual transit across the ocean. Pictured are the parting shots along with the line-up of other vehicles destined for export. Any one here recognize theirs? The Hilton Munich Airport Hotel where we spent our final night before departing Germany is seen across the street from the drop of site.
And here are some added views taken at the drop off site of the car's interior in outside natural daylight (as opposed to those interior shots taken at the Welt in the initial post) for those interested in the Mineral Grey 435i xDrive Convertible with a Coral Red interior, leather dashboard, and the selected trim designated as "ash grain fine wood with inlay."
Great Trip, North! Car is beautiful, enjoy!
What did you think of IcelandAir? I'll be flying them and taking advantage of their layover too.
Living vicariously through these reports is one of the few things helping me pass the time until mine, so thank you!
Nice car, great photos, thanks for posting. You'll love your 435.
Thumbs up for Herrnschlosschen Hotel in Rothenburg
If you signed the Guest Book there at the Herrnschlosschen you can see our entry. I gave the place top reviews on the booking site TripAdvisor but don't know if it has posted.
Our only disappointment was that the daily Night Watchman Tour was still pending weekday start up after the winter break. I believe it should have been available to you with a weekend stay. We did have a memorable day walking the 1.5 mile city wall. Oh- we also ran out of time to trace our way back to the confectionary shop that was selling the apparently unique to Rothenburg fist sized chocolate snowballs ( as herein pictured) that looked so delicious.
Hope the weather is as nice for you and I will be going back to edit and post commentary and photos in my above post regarding Rothenburg and our walk of the city wall as well as a photo of the car parked next to the monastery across from the hotel.
Aboard the plane there was no limit on complimentary soft drinks and juices. Blankets and pillows were also provided at no extra charge. Definitely a step up from the budget airlines I have flown in Europe and the bottle of cooled Icelandic water they hand you as you board the U.S. to Iceland and Iceland to U.S. legs is a nice touch. Something that I have only been offered as a First Class passenger on other airlines.
Thanks for the trip report. Brings back memories for me as well as shows me what I could have seen, but didn't (I didn't visit the same places but would have liked to)
Keep it coming. Great report with superb photos. The car ain't bad either.
Now you can direct the rest of us Bimmerfesters on SOM tours without needing to book the tour company. By the way, I liked your original title better.
Just a note for those following this thread to advise that each of the "chapters" I - XI have now been completed with the promised content having now been added. Thanks to all who have shown an interest in following the account of our European Delivery experience from Welt to Drop Off.
Great looking car, beautiful family, and terrific pics. You've provided lots of ideas for those of us now planning ED. Many thanks.
Northcar, thanks for the info regarding the navigation system. I was hoping to avoid taking my Garmin, but it looks like I'll have to in order to avoid losing my way.
I didn't dine at the Romantik, but we stayed at the herrnschlosschen and dined at their restaurant. If it was open for business, you should have tried it out. I can't imagine a better dining experience in Rodt. It was one of the best meals I had on my trip, and we pretty much had the restaurant to ourselves. If you were looking for traditional German, you get that here, but with a very upscale twist. My schnitzel was delicious on its own, but they paired it with three different sauces, all uniquely flavored and all delicious. The first course was this almond wine soup which my girlfriend and I still reminisce about. It's quite possibly the most delicious thing I've ever had. I felt like a little kid trying to extract every last drop from the all too small cup it was served in. We also had breakfast brought up to our room the next morning and their service and food were again impeccable.
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