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  #1  
Old 06-12-2018, 07:23 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Albie's M4 ED: Azurite Black/Amaro Brown F82 through Germany, Italy, and Austria

First, I'd like to thank all that contribute to the various BMW forums who have done writeups of their ED trips and the logistics/economics of the program. Your advice has proven invaluable in planning this trip and throughout the purchasing process, and the entire undertaking would have been daunting without your help. As such, I've been looking forward to posting a write-up of my own to document such a fun and exciting experience and to hopefully pass on some advice of my own.

That being said, this trip has been almost 4 years in the making. From the time I decided I HAD to have an M4 to first time I even heard of European Delivery to finally paying off my student loans and having the funds (and time) to make it possible, I've been looking forward to this for quite awhile. At times to the point that my girlfriend has threatened to leave me if I didn't shut up and just plan the thing. She'll be joining me so at least she gets a nice trip out of the deal, win-win amiright? That's what I've convinced her anyway, anyone who tries to tell her otherwise be damned.

So I walked into the dealership on December 30th, Bimmerfest's ED pricing guide in hand, and placed my order with planned delivery in June. I initially hoped for pickup either June 12/15/18, however ended up with June 26th, 2018.

Anyway, onto the car:



I know everyone has posted that ~$750-1000 over ED invoice is the norm, however my dealer stated that the M models are more difficult to acquire an allocation for blah blah blah needed some meat on the bone for it to be worth it for them blah blah blah and basically said that the least they'd do it for is $2500 over ED invoice. There's only one other dealer near me and I've dealt with them previously for my other cars and, needless to say, the extra cost was money well-spent to not have to deal with them again. This dealer (and my representative in particular) had done several ED's within the previous several months and made me feel a little better that they knew what they were doing. I also didn't want to go out of state. I'm sure I paid too much but still paid less than what I was expecting so I was still generally happy with the price. Call me a sucker, but oh well. I'm sure it'll be a drop in the bucket over the lifetime of the car.

My proposed itinerary:
June 20th 2018:
-Fly overnight out of JFK (Aer Lingus), land in Berlin morning of June 21
June 21-22:
-Explore Berlin
June 23:
-Fly (Lufthansa) Berlin to Munich
June 23-25:
-Explore Munich
June 26:
-PICK UP THE CAR!!!!
-Drive to Fussen, visit the Monks at Andechs on the way
June 27:
-See Neuschwanstein Castle, take a pic at "The Spot," more on that later
-Drive to Bellagio, Lake Como
-Through San Bernardino Pass and Bellinzona
June 28-30:
-Hang out in Bellagio and Varenna
June 30:
-Drive to Merano
-Through Stelvio Pass
July 1:
-Drive to Salzburg
-Through Brenner Pass and Inssbruck
July 2:
-Eagle's Nest
-Drop off car
July 3:
Fly out of Munich (Aer Lingus) to JFK

Once I get back from the trip, I'll update with more detailed sites/restaurants/bars/accommodations as well as driving routes for each leg of the journey. I did my best to include can't-miss driving while traveling to the destinations we wanted to see so a few of the legs are a bit long. I didn't initially plan on doing Lake Como, however a surgeon I work with who did ED of an M4 last year said it's a must-see, so I adjusted accordingly. The last few days are a little packed, but I pick up the car a little later in the trip than I wanted and it was necessary.

Oh, and after planning all this I realized that the World Cup will be going on while we're there. Not sure yet whether that's a blessing or a curse, but in any case I'm sure it'll be a great time. I factored some of the bigger games into our daily schedules. Germany v. Sweden our first night in Munich, how do you say "more beer please" in German?
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  #2  
Old 06-13-2018, 04:14 AM
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Bummer we will miss each other by 2 days (I am taking delivery on the 28th)
You will have a great time and while in Munich (and elsewhere) you should visit the
beergardens while a game is one . They usually will have large video walls up and
it's a great experience to watch the game with beer/pretzel and lots of fans around you
Depending on your "appetite" for driving you could consider going from Stelvio , Merano via the Timmelsjoch
to Innsbruck (would probably add 1-1.5hrs, but it's a great drive)

Enjoy !
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Old 06-13-2018, 05:09 AM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Thanks for the advice, I'll look into that route. Was planning on Löwenbräukeller for the Germany match but have several other beergardens marked off in both Berlin and Munich throughout the itinerary. Enjoy your trip! Sorry we'll miss each other.
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Old 06-13-2018, 06:52 AM
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[QUOTE=Albie9;12575698]
June 27:
-See Neuschwanstein Castle, take a pic at "The Spot," more on that later
-Drive to Bellagio, Lake Como
-Through San Bernardino Pass and Bellinzona
June 28-30:
-Hang out in Bellagio and Varenna


A couple of suggestions:
I really like Bellagio, BUT:

The road from Como (the town) to Bellagio is very narrow. I don't recommend driving it at night. In fact even in daylight I would suggest taking the car ferry from Cadenabbia to Bellagio.

Parking in Bellagio is fairly limited unless you are staying in the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni. You might want to check with your hotel about parking if you are not staying in that hotel.

While in Bellagio I would use the ferry to do all your sightseeing. There is frequent ferry service to the towns and palaces around the lake.

Your girlfriend may enjoy the silk shops in Bellagio.

June 30:
-Drive to Merano
-Through Stelvio Pass


The Stelvio Pass is a mad house on weekends (June 30 is a Saturday). All the bicycles and tour buses from miles around will be clogging the pass. I recommend starting at dawn to avoid much of the traffic.
/QUOTE]
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Old 06-13-2018, 07:40 AM
FastMarkA FastMarkA is offline
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Some comments having done all of these places (and they're all great):

June 20th 2018:
-Fly overnight out of JFK (Aer Lingus), land in Berlin morning of June 21
June 21-22:
-Explore Berlin
June 23:
-Fly (Lufthansa) Berlin to Munich
June 23-25:
-Explore Munich
June 26:
-PICK UP THE CAR!!!!
-Drive to Fussen, visit the Monks at Andechs on the way
June 27:
-See Neuschwanstein Castle, take a pic at "The Spot," more on that later

[All the above sounds great.]

-Drive to Bellagio, Lake Como
-Through San Bernardino Pass and Bellinzona

[This is a long drive. I'd recommend breaking it up -- the Napura Art & Design Hotel outside of Bolzano is great; awesome roof deck spa area among vineyards. I'd also recommend stopping in Sirmione (on Lago di Garda) as a break point; the city center is blocked off, but there's a lot of public parking and you just walk through the gates to access the town.]

-Hang out in Bellagio and Varenna

[Like others have said, the road to Bellagio is narrow (but fun!). "Basing" yourself in Bellagio is probably not a good idea. Once you drive there, you want to do your exploration of Bellagio, and then once you leave, you're done. BTW, Bellagio is totally worth it...but just in a bad location to take day road-trips.]

June 30:
-Drive to Merano
-Through Stelvio Pass

[If you do route through Switzerland for some reason, you technically need a sticker. Don't tell anyone, but I once blasted through the country and took the risk...although I did this knowing I only was passing through between Italy and France.]

July 1:
-Drive to Salzburg
-Through Brenner Pass and Inssbruck

[Innsbruck is a great city. Also, nearby (in Germany) is Mittenwald...a very cool town to walk around.]

July 2:
-Eagle's Nest
-Drop off car
July 3:
Fly out of Munich (Aer Lingus) to JFK

[Depending on your flight time, the MUC drop-off is at the airport. They're usually quite efficient, so it's not a bad thing to just drop when you're departing. There's an Agip station with car wash bays/power washers so you can get cleaned up (the car, obvi).]
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:03 PM
frank325 frank325 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FastMarkA View Post
If you do route through Switzerland for some reason, you technically need a sticker. Don't tell anyone, but I once blasted through the country and took the risk...although I did this knowing I only was passing through between Italy and France.]
Looking at Google maps, if he takes the eastern route (via 27) then he shouldn't need a swiss vignette because that is only needed for the highways. Doesn't seem like that would apply here.
We just drove into Lake Como from Northern Italy and went through Switzerland. Since highways weren't a part of that route no sticker needed.

I would agree with others that it's a long drive, and after visiting I'm glad we stayed in Tremezzo. Much easier to arrive and leave not having to take the ferry over to Bellagio. We just took the normal ferry over to see the various towns. Varenna, I felt, was the smallest and least active town. The drizzle we experienced when we were there also probably helped form my impression. Bellagio definitely was the most "rich" and had the most shops and restaurants.
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Old 06-13-2018, 04:36 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinitony
A couple of suggestions:
Trinitony, thanks for the advice. Luckily the hotel I chose isn't in Bellagio proper but a little higher up in the hills. They advertised that they have their own parking, definitely a factor that lead me to book there. The hotel is Borgo le Terazze and had great reviews, and apparently this is their parking situation:
Parking at the Borgo Le Terrazze
Borgo Le Terrazze

I planned on getting to Stelvio as early as possible as you're not the first to mention how crowded it was during the weekends. I would have tried to do it during the week instead for that exact reason but the timing of everything just didn't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FastMarkA
Depending on your flight time, the MUC drop-off is at the airport. They're usually quite efficient, so it's not a bad thing to just drop when you're departing. There's an Agip station with car wash bays/power washers so you can get cleaned up (the car, obvi)
FastMarkA, I didn't realize the dropoff was so close to the airport, that would really help me out if I could drop it off the morning we leave. Flight is leaving Munich at 11:25am, and they have on their site that first delivery slot is at 8:30. Do you think it's feasible to drop off that morning and still make the flight or better off just doing it the afternoon before?? Nice work with the Sirmione suggestion, was looking for a place to have a break and was struggling to find something. My last name is Simeone (close-ish), so maybe it's meant to be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by frank325
Looking at Google maps, if he takes the eastern route (via 27) then he shouldn't need a swiss vignette because that is only needed for the highways.
Good to know about the Swiss vignette. May save me a few bucks, I'll double check the routes to make sure no highway driving. Or maybe just be a badass and blast through there a la FastMarkA.

Will be staying in Bellagio only one night and Varenna the other two, and plan to ferry everywhere once parked in Varenna including probably another afternoon in Bellagio. Was going to use these couple days as a nice break between the two longest legs of the trip to let the car (and us) rest up a bit.
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Old 06-14-2018, 12:16 AM
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Albie's M4 ED: Azurite Black/Amaro Brown F82 through Germany, Italy, and Austria

Do you have Priority access when checking-in departing Munich? Which airline are you flying back to JFK?

Azurite Black is great color, can wait to see photos. During the World Cup matches that Germany is playing, I advise having your hotel book a table for you in advance or even your credit card concierge. World Cup matches in Europe is the equivalent to our Super Bowl. In Munich, Hofbrauhaus am Platzl, beer hall is must to visit.

Too bad your missing the summer sales (Saldi) in Italy, as they start on July 7, 2018 and Milano is close to Bellagio (I’ll be in Milano for my 20+ saldi latter in the month). Do you plan on proposing in Bellagio, as that’s where I proposed to @Ibizaswife 6 years ago?
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:07 AM
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We just visited Andechs for the first time on our ED last month. You will love it if you're a beer drinker. One of my favorite beers ever. Beautiful setting above the rolling farmland. Very popular with people biking through the area.

And we also got to visit the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest) for the first time this past trip. It's also incredible. Bring a warm jacket. There was still acres of snow up there despite 80 degree weather down in Berchtesgaden.

I highly recommend visiting the Augustinerbrau beer gardens in Salzburg. More authentic than Munich's Hofbrauhaus because the locals go there right after work. It doesn't have an actual restaurant but there are individual stalls selling a wide variety of foods. Definitely try the shaved white radishes. Sounds awful I know, but they taste so good with the beer. Better than pretzels. To get a beer you simply walk up to the cashier, order a large or small, she gives you a receipt. Then you follow the line past shelves with two sizes of mugs. Grab the size you paid for then head over to the surly guys standing by the wooden kegs. Give them your receipt and mug. They fill it and then whip your beer back at you with nary a look let alone a smile. Then go find a table. If there are just two of you, odds are that others will come join you at your table. By the third beer you'll be the best of friends. One other tip, park in the big pay lot in front of Augustinerbrau. Bring the receipt with you to the cashier who sells the beers. She'll validate the ticket for you. And don't drink more than three beers in two hours. Drunk driving is a mandatory prison sentence.
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:57 AM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Ibiza, I dont have priority check in but will contact them as bald suggested. Thanks for the info regarding reservations for a spot during matches, will definitely have my hotel reserve a spot for me. As for proposing in Bellagio, I'll let you and your wife keep that spot sacred

Gluhwein, will definitely pack a jacket now that you mention it.

Leaving in 2 days, getting close!
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Old 06-20-2018, 06:35 AM
FastMarkA FastMarkA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albie9 View Post
FastMarkA, I didn't realize the dropoff was so close to the airport, that would really help me out if I could drop it off the morning we leave. Flight is leaving Munich at 11:25am, and they have on their site that first delivery slot is at 8:30. Do you think it's feasible to drop off that morning and still make the flight or better off just doing it the afternoon before?? Nice work with the Sirmione suggestion, was looking for a place to have a break and was struggling to find something. My last name is Simeone (close-ish), so maybe it's meant to be?
As others said, email the drop off and make sure you get an early spot -- dropping 8:30a should be plenty of time to make an 11:25a flight, even if you weren't in biz/first (sometimes MUC just has a one-size-fits-all security line, and it's still better than the segregated TSA lines that are so-called "Premium").

I stayed at Borgo Le Terrazze...for the parking as well. It's a good enough spot (great views, warm hospitality, and nice opportunities to get photos of your car with stunning background).

Hopefully you have clearer skies than me!

Enjoy.
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:33 PM
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Albie, your car is going to look outstanding Amaro is the best of BMW's many browns, and the azurite will really make a stunning combination! Enjoy your new ride and drive carefully while in Europe.
Oh, you're the man for choosing the 3 pedal version Competition package and carbon brakes ; a real badass car.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:43 PM
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Ok all, I'm back stateside and readjusted enough to working life again (sigh) to update the thread. I have to say the trip was AMAZING, everything exceeded expectations and I couldn't be happier with both the trip as well as the car. The 'royal' treatment we received at the Welt was second to none and I sincerely hope I have the opportunity to do BMW ED again someday. First, a few bullet points about the trip in general:
  • Public transportation in Berlin and in Munich in particular was exceptional. All trains/subways were spotless and safe. A bit odd to me coming from the NYC subway I'm used to, there are no turn-styles to enter or guards at the stations. You buy a ticket, either for a single trip or a day/several day pass and must "validate" it by punching the card in a machine to show the time it was put into use. You can freely enter/leave the station, and no one is there to check that your ticket has been validated (at least I didn't see a single guard during my 5-day stay). I probably could have bought one day pass the whole time I was there and ridden for free the rest of the time, but people take the honor system seriously in Germany and I just followed suit.
  • The weather can change quickly in Germany. In a one hour period, it could go from windy and cold, to sunny and hot, to cloudy and drizzling. Even if your forecast says 80's and sunny every day (as ours did), I'd still pack a few warm items.
  • If you are able, I recommend doing the BMW factory tour the day before your car pickup. More on that later.
  • As others have mentioned, avoid the roads from Como to Bellagio at all costs if tight roads and blind curves (and Italian drivers) scare you. I was initially leery of the ferry from Cadenabbia however the same ferry from Bellagio to Varenna was very easy and relatively uncrowded. The roads, however, were not.
  • For your pre-dropoff car wash, please remember to bring some supplies, mainly some microfiber cloths, maybe a wash mit, and a chamois. The bugs were no joke and while the car wash I went to (right next to the airport) was pretty good, they didn't have any car wash supplies for purchase other than the power washer and another sprayer with a brush attachment. Also, DO NOT use the brush attachment. Ask me how I know.
  • Drop off at Log-in-out was efficient. In prior posts I was worried I'd miss my 11:30am flight if dropping off the morning of, however I showed up at 8:15 for an 8:30 appointment and was at my terminal by 8:35.

Now on to the trip!:

Day 1: Arrival in Berlin

We took an overnight flight through Aer Lingus from JFK->Dublin->TXL. Aer Lingus had an option to "Upgrade Yourself," by bidding on the opportunity for a first-class upgrade. I bid the minimum and (rats!) was denied the upgrade on the way over. TXL in Berlin was certainly not one of the nicer airports I've been to, however public transportation into the city was very easy. We stayed in Mitte, pretty much the city center of Berlin, and it was roughly a 30 min bus ride + subway ride over to Alexanderplatz nearby where our hotel was. It was a pretty hot day in Berlin, about 85 degrees and sunny when we landed as had been the weather for the previous several days before arrival.

Upon emerging from our subway stop, this was one of the first sites we saw:



Marienkirche, apparently the second oldest church in Berlin (from the 1300's if I remember correctly) with the Furnsehturm in the background. Anyway, we walked to our hotel (Hotel Amano) and took a quick nap to recover. When we awoke, the weather had turned a bit and was in the mid-60's and drizzling. It would remain this unseasonably chilly for the next couple of days.

We ate dinner at Zur Letzen Instanz, supposedly the oldest restaurant in Berlin. It is all classic German fare and I figured what better dinner to start the trip out with. The meal (and beer) were very good and we had a great time sitting next to a couple of friendly German school teachers.



After dinner, we went to a pretty cool wine bar specializing in Austrian wine called Cordobar. If in the area, it was worth stopping in. We wandered around for a bit then headed back to the hotel for a nightcap. Hotel Amano had a surprisingly good bar with exceptional craft cocktails and a lively atmosphere. They also had a really nice rooftop bar with great views of the city, however it was closed due to the earlier rain.

Day 2: Full day in Berlin

Seeing as we only had one full day in Berlin, we did the most touristy thing possible to try and see the big attractions in the city: a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.



As corny as they can be, it was actually perfect for what we wanted. The cooler weather was also really nice for walking around in.

We were able to buy tickets through our hotel and the pickup point was conveniently located in Alexanderplatz a few blocks away. There are two tour lines available: the East Berlin loop and the West Berlin loop. Seeing as the only main attraction we were interested in on the East Berlin loop was the East Side Gallery, we opted for the West Berlin loop on the advice of our hotel receptionist.

Our first stop was the Berliner Dom:



The picture doesn't do it justice. It was colossal and we couldn't get over the statues along the facade. As you can see in the photo, a recurring theme during our entire trip was that nearly every major monument we visited had some type of scaffolding or construction going on, and for that reason you'll notice a few of them missing from my included photos. Right across the courtyard was the Altes Museum, another very impressive building:



From there we drove down Unter den Linden which had a ton of beautiful architecture and statues. It started to drizzle at this point so I'll spare you the photos from the rain-covered bus windows. At the the end of the street, the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate emerged, where we hopped out.





As I mentioned earlier, the World Cup was going on during our stay and in nearly every main public square (including right behind Brandenburg Gate), a beirgarten and huge video board had been put up for watching the matches. I wasn't mad about it.



From there we walked a few blocks to the Holocaust Memorial (called the "Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe," grimly enough). I was hoping to find a plaque or something explaining its design as it was very expansive and quite striking, but couldn't find one. Upon writing this thread, I decided to look up the significance of the memorial and apparently it's ambiguity was part of the plan for the design. Here's the Wiki about the memorial, worth the read if you plan on visiting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memori...Jews_of_Europe. As the page mentions, there is actually an information center on the east side of the memorial, which was the opposite side of where we entered coming from the Reichstag.





While on the topic, another sobering thing we noticed while walking around Berlin were the so-called "tripping stones" embedded in the sidewalks at the base of many buildings. These small brass blocks had the names of Jewish residents who had lived in the buildings as well as the name of the concentration camp they were sent to. There were even some in Salzburg later in our trip.

After being thoroughly depressed we stopped at the Berlin Konzerthaus and had a quick lunch at a nearby cafe. Not a bad view at all:





Where's Waldo?



On our way back to Alexanderplatz, we passed the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, damaged during allied bombing raids and left in that condition as a reminder of the perils of war. I love me some WWII history, and I have to say that Berlin seems to do a great job of owning up to its past, both the glorious and infamous parts equally.



For dinner that night, we went to a place called Lavanderia Vecchia, a swanky Italian restaurant located in a former laundry in a more industrial part of Berlin. Walking up to the restaurant I was a little nervous that I had made a poor choice, however once inside I was relieved. It was a cool (and different) atmosphere, and there is only one seating per night at 7:30. You are served a 7 course meal of whatever the chef decides to cook that night, and we thought everything was excellent. After dinner, another stop at the hotel bar (it was that good), where the bartender from the night before remembered us and pretty much hung out with us all night despite a packed bar. He made a few recommendations for us in Munich (he had previously worked there) which we followed later in our trip. We made it an early night as we had a flight to Munich in the morning.

Day 3: Arrival in Munich

We flew Lufthansa from TXL->MUC. Something to note at TXL: we were surprised to walk into the departure terminal gate area and not have to go through security prior to getting to the gates as you would in the US. Here, you walk to your specific gate where there are individual security screening stations for each gate just inside the gate entrance. Had we not poked around a bit and realized this, we would have likely missed our flight sitting in the hallway outside the gate reception desk.

While waiting for our departure, I realized I hadn't booked a Sixt pickup for transport to our hotel. It was about 9:00am and our flight was set to land around 12:30. I figured I'd give it a shot anyway but wasn't optimistic. I sent a quick email to: [email protected]. I then called their customer service number and got a very polite gentleman who informed me I needed to make an appointment 24 hours in advance and that I was out of luck. I was bummed and had pretty much relegated myself to another subway trip when, just prior to boarding, I got an email confirming my reservation. Sweet!

The flight was short, sweet, and a lesson in German efficiency. And sure enough upon arrival, we walked out of baggage claim and a sharply dressed Sixt driver had our names on an iPad with a brand spankin' new 7 series waiting outside:



Our driver was Portuguese and was actually really cool and talkative, giving us the scoop on the traffic cameras and speed zones as well as some advice on places to go in Munich. He also asked us how we planned on getting to the Welt for our pickup in a few days, and I figured on just taking the subway since we had already used our complimentary Sixt pickup. He stated that he was under the impression that we were still eligible for a pickup to the Welt and gave us his card. I didn't think it would be complimentary but figured I'd give it a shot in a few days.

He dropped us off at our hotel, Hotel Platzl, which is just 2 short blocks away from Marienplatz and literally across a cobblestone terrace from Hofbrauhaus.







There were some badass cars all over the place in Munich, like this GT3 parked right out front of the hotel when we arrived:



We dropped our bags and headed to the main drag. My and my girlfriend's favorite beers are all German, and we were in heaven in Munich. Just your average Quik-e Mart in Marienplatz:



Paulaner is one of my personal favs, so we stopped in for a refreshment and some lighter German fare (if there is such a thing). Our Sixt driver had pointed out Paulaner Hof while driving in as having probably the best food in Marienplatz, and of all the biergartens/bierhalls we visited throughout Munich, (we tried a ton, as you'll see), it was our favorite as well.





While sitting down, another beautiful Porsche:



A couple R8's, a McLaren, and a Lamborghini also passed by during lunch. Munich was big pimpin' to say the least.

After lunch, we took a short stroll up the block to Marienplatz, which was buzzing with people due to the Germany/Sweden World Cup match later that night.



Upon walking into the square, you couldn't help but stare. It was absolutely beautiful:





As in Berlin, there was a huge video board with tables and chairs set up in the square to view the match. The above photos of St. Peter's were taken a couple days later once the video board had been taken down. I couldn't get a great picture of the Frauenkirche as its entire front facade was covered in scaffolding for "emergency repairs," (yikes) as the sign would say.

After wandering around for a bit we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the match. I had looked up places to watch and Lowenbraukeller seemed like a good choice based on a few travel boards.

It was a quick subway ride over to that part of town. On the walk over, one of the nicest BMW e30's I've seen pulled up and parked, it's owner heading to the same place we were. I'm currently restoring my dad's e30 and am a member of a few e30 specific forums so would be remiss if I didn't snap a quick pic:





Upon arrival, I wasn't disappointed:



It had a huge outdoor biergarten and inside was even bigger. It was PACKED by gametime and was an incredibly fun atmosphere. No pushing/shoving/arguing as in the states when things get crowded. Everyone was in great spirits and having a blast, including us:





It was an exciting game and Germany won on a last second set-piece goal, the place went wild! Unfortunately they didn't fare too well the next game, but it was such a fun time being there for a world cup W.

Day 4-5: Dachau, Munich, and BMW Factory Tour

We awoke the next morning pretty early as we planned to head to Dachau. We fully intended on having some coffee and breakfast fare as we sat down around 10:00, but were quickly put to shame by a group of 70 year old men in full Bavarian regalia who were already about done with their first liter of beer. When in Munich I guess...



Dachau is about a 30 minute train and bus ride from Marienplatz. Unfortunately, we missed the last guided tour of the day by the time we got there but they did have an audio tour with various stations around the complex for 5 euros. I recommend doing the guided tour if you can. The audio tour left a bit to be desired in terms of really bringing the past to life. I think we expected to ball our eyes out for the duration of our visit but ended up a little underwhelmed other than for a few of the more intense areas of the camp. Anyway, it was certainly worth the trip, and you can realistically see the entirety of the camp in about 2 hours. I didn't take any pictures because I felt a little odd glorifying such a morbid place and out of reverence for those who suffered there.

As a few of the travel boards recommended, we stopped for some beer to lift our spirits after the tour. We visited Augustinerkeller and Augustiner Brauhaus which are about 3 train stops before Marienplatz on the way back.




As we had a pretty late meal, we forewent dinner. Instead, we checked out Schumann's Bar, one of the more famous cocktail bars in Munich and one of those our bartender friend in Berlin recommended. It was very old-timey (in a good way) and quite romantic, and there's a cool upstairs bar as well. It's a lovely walk from Marienplatz and I highly recommend a visit.

More to come...
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:49 PM
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Outstanding!

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Old 07-16-2018, 05:33 PM
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Great pics! Looks like you had some nice blue skies in Munich. I'm jealous...
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Old 07-16-2018, 05:51 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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The following day, we went for the BMW factory tour. The English tour is only offered at 11:45, and my car delivery time was 11:20 which was why I needed to do the tour the day before. While initially bummed that we had to do it on two separate days, I actually preferred it. There's so much going on and so much to take in that I'm glad I had a whole day dedicated to the tour and to seeing the Welt so that Delivery Day was all about the car. The tour was awesome and even my girlfriend loved it. Another bonus was that we were able to fill out all the delivery paperwork (and got an extra lunch in the premium lounge) so that I didn't need to show up as early for pickup the next day. No pics of the factory tour obviously, but I took plenty at the Welt to make up for it:

A pretty sweet M5 decked out in MPerformance parts:



A few more M cars:



An i8 roadster:


And quite a few cool BMW bikes. My grilfriend's dad races motorcycles as a hobby, and we took a few pics for him:









According to her dad, that last bike will set you back about $72 grand and is about the best bike money can buy. The sub-frame is all carbon fiber and weighs in at a whopping 7 Kg.

The day of the tour, they were doing a photo shoot for the new M8 (yep, M8). Unfortunately we were on the tour when we walked by it so didn't get a great pic, but it was a beast. By the time we finished the tour to get a pic, it had been moved and wasn't at the Welt the following morning.

We skipped the museum tour in lieu of a visit to the Englischer Garten. If you wanted to see the Munich Olympic park, it is a decent walk or 1-2 subways stops from the Welt.

Another random beautiful square on the way to the garden:











We stopped at Seahaus, a nice biergarten located in the center of the park on the park's lake:





Had a few delicious beers


And made a friend:


Seeing as our car pickup was the next day, we tried to get in as many biergartens as we could before needing to drive everywhere (I may have been the driving force there, luckily I didn't have to twist the better half's arm too hard).

Here's the Chinesischer Turm on the walk back towards Marienplatz:



From there we found ourselves next to a pretty briskly flowing river through the park and followed it out to the famous Munich river surfers hanging ten:







About a block away was another of the bars our Berlin bartender recommended called Die Goldene Bar. It was in a building also housing an art museum formerly owned by the Reich with original gilded maps on the walls and a beautiful outdoor terrace. The drinks were excellent as well.

Someone thinks they're cool:



And someone is actually cool:





From there, we walked back through the university, a very nice walk with some pretty sites:





Seeing as it was our last true night in Munich, we opted for a nice Italian dinner at a restaurant called Vinaiolo. It was the best meal we had in Germany and I was able to brush up on a bit of my Italian with the Lake Como leg of our trip coming up. It looks empty in the pic but we were the last seating of the night and it was pretty packed when we arrived so make a reservation if possible.

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Old 07-16-2018, 08:02 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Day 6: THE BIG DAY: M4 Pickup!!!

So here it was, the big day. For all the marbles. I could barely sleep the night before I was so excited.

I contacted the Sixt driver who originally picked us up at the airport regarding another pickup (hotel to Welt). He recommended I get in contact with Sixt so I emailed their customer service address again. Sure enough, they approved it! TWO Sixt pickups. I hope I don't get anyone in trouble at Sixt for posting this, but man was that a pleasant surprise.

So we roll up to the Welt in that brand spankin' new 7 series and hop out with our bags. Our delivery time was 11:20 and we arrived around 9:30 so we could walk around the Welt again and snap some more pics. They were waiting for us at the concierge desk and quickly took our bags, storing them away in a locked room.

From there we went outside for a walk around:



The day before, we had gotten our customer cards, a voucher for safety vests and a free engraved keychain (yes, they still do this) as well as a 10-dollar discount voucher for the gift shop. We picked up a few souvenirs and headed towards the elevators to the Premium Lounge which are directly opposite the gift shop.



Once in the Premium Lounge, we found Das Buch which was prominently displayed on a table to the right just as you walk in:



Found a familiar face while flipping through the pages, hey Frank!



We left our mark and sat to (im)patiently await our time slot:





After about my 5th cappuccino I was getting a bit antsy:



I finally had enough and walked over to the balcony to check out everyone else's pickup:

A couple 2 series:



And a family of 4 picking up an M4 vert:



All of a sudden, a hear a loud rumble as the elevator doors open and my heart about stopped:



THIS WAS IT!!!

SO close...



And yet so far.



I couldn't believe I got the best seat in the house at the bottom of the Stairway to Heaven, even ahead of the M5 next to me (which was also pretty awesome and LOUD). At this point I was salivating, and FINALLY it was time to head over to meet my BMW representative, Bernd. He seemed to be an M enthusiast as well and was nearly as excited as I was when going through the specs of the car. He was constantly talking about features on the 4 series coupe that I don't have on the M4 because, racecar.







After the virtual tour, it was time for the real deal:
(All photo cred to my beautiful girlfriend)







Like a kid in a candy store:













On some nice Michelin Pilot Super Sports (and the carbon ceramic brakes):



Not too shabby...



Going through some of the features:







Grinning like a schoolgirl:



Plenty of room for the luggage BTW:



And only 3 Km on the dash:



I fired her up, put her in Sport + mode across the board, and took three victory laps before heading for the exit. We stopped outside for some photo ops, and luckily the lady who checked us in earlier was working the valet and let us snap a few pics in front of the Welt:





I have to say, from start to finish the BMW representatives at the Welt made us feel like a million bucks. We truly felt like celebrities for our entire stay. The volume of the exhaust note while driving around the second floor didn't hurt, but I can't say enough about how exceptional the service at the Welt was.

And from here, the real journey began. It's a bit late so I'll finish things up tomorrow. Stay tuned...
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Old 07-17-2018, 01:31 AM
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Great write up so far and photos! What is your impression of Azurite black?


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Old 07-17-2018, 02:47 AM
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Hey you found me in Das buch! I actually found it this time. On my last one I never saw it and forgot to ask.
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Old 07-17-2018, 07:12 AM
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Nice - your excitement is palpable and great. Enjoy!
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Old 07-17-2018, 06:19 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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From the Welt, we had about a 2.5 hour drive to Fussen with a stop at the Andechs about 1 hour into the trip. Here was our route:



As I had read previously (and Bernd confirmed), I was not to exceed 105mph or 5500 RPM until after my 1200 mile service. Luckily most of the roads during this drive were 100 Km/hr limits and they were delightfully twisty enough that I didn't really have a need to go too crazy (yet).

The drive was quite nice, the exhaust sounded fantastic, and the car was a dream. I couldn't believe how quickly I got comfortable with the clutch travel and spacial awareness with the car. Even the visibility and blind spots from the driver's seat were so similar to my e46 325ci that I almost felt like I had been driving this car for years. The head-up display was really cool. It took me a bit to get used to the navigation system, but I thought it actually did an excellent job of matching up well with the routes I chose pre-trip and allowing us to adjust on the fly. I had no issues with the maps cutting out or taking me down incorrect roads at all during our whole trip as I know others have mentioned. The computer system in general is very easy to master and I had pretty much everything adjusted to my personal settings in about 20-30 minutes.

We pulled into the Andechs parking lot, and of course I found another nice e30:





The walk up to the monastery was steep, and there was a bus of 70+ year-old couples making the trek up with us so I did everything I could to hide my labored breathing.

Leaning on the pole to catch my breath, no one's out of shape here...



The view from the biergarten and dining area was beautiful:









Lunch was very good and relaxing, and as others have stated the beer is great. We were in and out of there in about an hour. The monastery is so close to Munich and on the way to a lot of other destinations that it's pretty much a must-visit if heading in that direction.

"Aww man, can we really only have just one???"



We finished up and by this point I was already missing the car so we decided to head back down and check it out again. I figured I'd probably never have anyone in the back seat so I decided to test it out just to say that someone was back there (once):



They were surprisingly roomy and comfortable, and the Amaro brown leather was really looking great in the sunlight.

We picked up a travel buddy at the Welt and buckled him up in the back for the rest of our trip:



The remainder of the drive to Fussen was a blast now that I had logged a few miles in the car.



We pulled into Fussen around 3:00pm. It was a pretty little town that was busy with tourists. I booked our stay at Hotel Sonne due to previous good reviews and the presence of "one of the best parking garages I've ever been to," according to one review. Upon driving by, however...





Apparently they were rebuilding the garage, a fact I didn't notice them mention on their website.
A little bummed, I checked in and the receptionist said they had a few parking spots in a hotel lot about a block away. It wasn't a garage, but not as bad as I anticipated. We were still the only 2 cars in the lot the following morning when we left.





Parking garage aside, our stay at Hotel Sonne was great and the breakfast (included) the following morning was very good. The location was directly in the main downtown section and a short walk to some nice shops and cafes.









Fussen in general was very pretty but also a bit on the touristy side. Obviously most places we visited could be considered "touristy," and we were traveling at the height of tourist season but this was especially true here. In any case, we had a great time and would definitely recommend staying in Fussen if visiting the castles, however you don't need more than a day in the town.

We had dinner at Il Pescatore and it was very good. There were plenty of native Italians dining in with us so I figured we made a good choice. The next morning would be a big day at "The Spot," so we made it an early night.

Day 7: "The Spot" and drive to Lake Como

We had driven past Neuschwanstein Castle on the way into Fussen and noticed that there were quite a few drives into open fields at the foot of the castle. Not exactly sure which was the correct one, I looked up this blog post for the proper locaiton:

https://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=299657

We drove down the one-way road and there was pretty much no one there aside from 1-2 people riding by on bicycles. We set up shop and started snapping away:









This was really the first time I was able to see what the Azurite Black paint looked like in full broad daylight, and I couldn't have been more pleased with how it looked. I debated for awhile between Sapphire black, Tanzanite blue, and finally Azurite black and this is by far my favorite having seen all three in person.

I feel that Tanzanite blue and Azurite black are similar plays on the same general color palate. It's almost as if BMW started with the exact same color for both, but with Tanzanite they turned the "volume" knob way up on blue leaving a hint of black, and with Azurite turned the knob way down leaving the car mostly black with just a hint of blue. I love black cars but wanted something with a little more depth to highlight some of the black accents included in the competition package and to avoid the "Batmobile" black-on-black-on-black look. This is the PERFECT color for that as it made all the gloss black pieces and the carbon fiber roof really pop. It looks pretty much straight black indoors and in low-light with just a hint of what's underneath, and once you're out in full daylight that blue undertone really shines through where the light hits. I also debated between the darker M-sport and lighter M-sport rims and am glad I chose the lighter ones.

You may have noticed that I mentioned that I had a carbon fiber roof, however in my first post of this thread I posted my build sheet with the sunroof option in there. Yes, I did indeed want the sunroof as I use them all the time in my other cars, however that part of the order didn't translate. Someone messed up, but in all honesty I'm thrilled that they did. This was the only other option that I had debated back and forth about. I initially didn't care for the carbon fiber because I thought it would just blend in with the dark paint color, however it really stands out and looks great. I LOVE the carbon fiber roof and didn't miss the sunroof one bit during the trip. Hopefully I can work something out about the mistake with my dealer for some window tinting or something once the car is back stateside.



I had purchased a $20 selfie-stick with a tripod and a bluetooth remote to allow me to get some nice pictures of us without needing anyone around as I figured there wouldn't be a ton of foot traffic. Don't worry, the selfie stick was retired after this shoot but was totally worth it.



At this point, there was something that had been burning a hole in my pocket for the entire trip...







"I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying..."


She said yes! You can imagine my anxiety at having my backpack leave my sight for the first time all trip at the Welt with that puppy inside. The ring, not the FIANCE

"I love you too baby..."

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Old 07-17-2018, 07:09 PM
Jamolay Jamolay is offline
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Sweet! Did you let her drive your car?
Congratulations! What a trip and car and story, thank you.
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Old 07-17-2018, 08:27 PM
Albie9 Albie9 is offline
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Glad to have that off my shoulders, we left for Bellagio via San Bernardino Pass. Here's our route:



For the most part, the drive wasn't bad other than some traffic as we approached the Italian border and we were excited enough about the engagement that we didn't really want to stop other than to purchase our vignettes. I bought both the Austrian and Swiss vignettes together and they were about 40 euros total. There are signs all over the highway telling you that the Austrian border is coming up with pictures of the vignette. You just pull off prior to the border and there are plenty of gas stations that sell both vignettes.

San Bernardino pass was pretty empty that day and a lot of fun. The weather was nice and we had some great views. It is very obviously marked off on the highway as you can opt to skip it in favor of a more direct highway route. Who wants that when you can have this?:





The turns were tight and steep, everything I had hoped. At the top, it leveled off and there was a little restaurant with some bikers outside enjoying an espresso:



Which is directly opposite from a beautiful lake:





We continued along through Austria and Switzerland without any issues at all, however it was at the Italian border that we experienced our only hangup of the entire trip:

We had gone through the Austrian and Swiss borders without even having guards at the border stations. In Italy, we figured it would be the same and as we pulled towards the station, we started to drive past as all the other drivers in front of us had been doing. We were quickly flagged down and told to pull over in front of the office and park. The guard came over and asked for our paperwork for the car. He was slightly annoyed at my not-so-perfect Italian (should have practiced more with Grandpa Al as a kid instead of running outside to play baseball).

At the Welt, you are given a big packet of paperwork, among them is a green colored booklet mostly in German. I was told that this green booklet was "everything I needed to show ownership of the car and when crossing between countries." The guard however said that I was missing a specific form and brought me inside the station to talk with his superior.

Once inside, they were both utterly confused as to why an American would buy a car in Germany and drive it around to Italy. Their first remark to each other was "ugh, another American without paperwork," so apparently they were somewhat used to this. They kept asking me how much I paid for the car, why I was in Germany, and where my "T2L" form was. It was this form that I was apparently missing and they didn't want to let me enter the country without it. After some back and forth, showing them my hotel reservation confirmations, and giving them the 'ol puppy dog eyes, they acquiesced and said that "this time you go through, but next time you NEED T2L." Relieved, I thanked them and sped off.

I tried looking up what a T2L is and apparently it's an import tax form for the EU. Since I wasn't importing the car to the EU, I have no idea why I would have needed it to enter the country. My fiance and I surmise that they probably thought I had stolen the car, was a drug dealer (young kid, expensive car), or something of that nature. I don't think the fact that I was wearing a Germany World Cup jersey (they were playing South Korea that day) helped either as the Azzurri didn't qualify for WC2018. Oh well, I was just happy I was in...

...until we got to the roads from Como to Bellaggio.

It was about rush hour by this time and the roads, while fun and windy, were barely one lane let alone two and packed with cars.



Hard to glean from the photo, but there were maybe 6-8 inches on each side of the cars in front of me before they hit the wall. At one point, I came around a bend with a cafe on the outside of the curve when a Porsche Panamera followed by a tour bus came my way. I'm convinced that that cafe is there simply to allow the locals to sit and laugh at all the motorists getting into accidents along that point of the road. Had I and the Panamera driver not tucked our sideview mirrors while crawling past each other, there is NO WAY we would have made it past that point. At another section, it was so narrow barely one car could pass, and yet a woman felt it was a good spot to stop for a cigarette and lean up against the wall with her feet just chillin' in the road. I still don't know how I didn't squash her feet while driving by. Che cazzo fai!!???

We mercifully made it to our hotel (Borgo le Terrazze) without a scratch, and I was a bit exasperated:



At least the view coming down the driveway was pretty sweet:



The parking garage, while spacious, had pretty tight spots. I managed to maneuver into a spot despite two other luxury car owners parking like jerks and taking up 2 spots each (ahem, Lexus... ahem, Mercedes...)







Luckily a VW moved and I got a solo spot, cha-ching:



The hotel was very clean and probably the second nicest hotel room we stayed at during our trip. The room was huge with a large outdoor terrace and a small kitchenette. The view wasn't bad either:









Non c'e mal as the locals say.

The hotel had a shuttle into town and we stopped in for dinner. Bellaggio was crowded but beautiful and we were happy to stretch our legs a bit and explore. There were a ton of restaurants and we stopped in at one with a garden terrace a few blocks off the water. I can't recall the name unfortunately but the food was good and the service very friendly. There was a group of Italian men hitting on a separate group of American women next to us that provided some fantastic entertainment for the evening. We cabbed back to the hotel after a round of gelato with plans to head to Varenna the following day.

Days 8-9: Varenna

I had initially planned on driving from Bellaggio to Varenna, however the previous day's experience proved traumatic. We decided to test the ferry and it was definitely the wiser choice. We parked in Bellagio for breakfast after checking out at the hotel. It was a busier day in town and parking, while plentiful, was also rather tight. I would avoid parking in town if at all possible as the lots and spaces are very small. The town was pretty but the most touristy of all the places we stayed on the trip and I would not recommend staying in Bellaggio itself. As you'll see in a bit, the surrounding towns are much less busy and equally as beautiful (if not more so) and you can easily come into Bellagio for the afternoon on the ferry which was super convenient. Cost for 2 passengers and the car were 19 euro, or 9 euro and change for just 2 passengers.



We hopped on the ferry along with a couple BMW cyclists and enjoyed the short 10 minute trip over to Varenna:





Ahhhh, MUCH better...



As we pulled into the town, our jaws dropped. This photo is completely unadulterated, and taken on just an iPhone.



Pretty sick. We were super excited at this point to get out and explore. In the above photo you can see our hotel, Albergo Milano, to the far left. Yellow building with green umbrellas on the terrace.

We started the car up, got a few "what the hell is THAT" stares as we grew accustomed to on the trip, and drove into town. There was no parking at the hotel but the town of Varenna had an excellent parking garage:









It was a bit pricey at 20 eruos per day but the spots were large and I was at ease leaving my car there for two days unattended.

While Munich was our favorite city we visited during our trip, Varenna was by far our favorite place. It was BEAUTIFUL, lively yet relaxing, with excellent food no matter where you went. Our hotel was family owned (the owner's wife checked us in, and their daughter was one of the waitresses) and such a close relationship between owner and guest really made the place feel intimate and unique. If I ever make it back to Lake Como, Varenna and Albergo Milano will be at the top of my list of places to stay.

The town had a "lake walk" throughout its border that was great for both daytime and late night strolling:





I wasn't mad that there was a gelateria about every 20 steps:



We sat down to a light lunch to take in the view:







The entire lake shore was lined with restaurants and cafes and honestly all of them were good. Our second night in town (a Saturday), there was a live Jazz band at this exact spot and we stood and listened for a couple hours with some wine and then (shocker) more gelato. In the main piazza, there was a beautiful old church and the same evening as the jazz band, a symphony played on the church steps as the sun went down.



While smaller than Bellaggio, we couldn't have dreamed of a better place to celebrate our engagement than Varenna. It was lively enough that there was always something to do, but quiet enough to enjoy each others' company.

Upon check-in at our hotel, Bettina (yes we are now on a first-name basis) recommended making a reservation for dinner on the terrace at the hotel restaurant as they booked up very quickly. I was surprised since the hotel itself only had about 10 rooms, however apparently not just the hotel guests book the restaurant for dinner due to its reputation. It has the only elevated terrace with views of the lake and it looked pretty enough in the afternoon so we agreed. It did not disappoint:



This was sunset on the terrace during dinner service.



Our meal was the best we had throughout our trip, so good in fact that I made a reservation for the following night before we were even done with dinner. Thankfully I did, as we got the last table available.

This post has taken a bit longer than intended, but I PROMISE to finish up tomorrow. Thanks for following along so far...
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:28 AM
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At this point, there was something that had been burning a hole in my pocket for the entire trip...


Might end up being the most legendary spot photo on the 'Fest.

Nice foreshadowing btw:

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(All photo cred to my beautiful girlfriend)
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Old 07-18-2018, 01:20 PM
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