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Old 04-09-2015, 04:32 PM
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M4 ED - Ongoing Trip Report to Prague, Budapest, Berchtesgaden-12 hour compliance

Day 1 to 2 with overnight flight:
Day1 was smooth and uneventful as we started our overnight flight from Charlotte, NC to Munich, Germany. My wife and I left Charlotte for a connector in Philly for a redeye to Munich The flight was very smooth, but no way was I going to sleep so watched movies and read over my pre-printed car manual instead. Flight was good as we arrived just after 9AM in Munich. BMW had Sixth Limo service waiting for us just outside of customs with a sign showing our name.



He had a new 7 series Grand Coupe to take us from the airport to Kings Hotel in downtown Munich. Was first class and I enjoyed seeing him drive quick and deliberate thru downtown Munich. We mostly rested the remainder of the day and enjoyed a nice dinner as we awaited our big day tomorrow.

pictures to be included on next ]post with delivery center.
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:22 PM
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Day 2:

We decided to try to take the U-Bahn to BMW Welt. That plan quickly fell apart as when we got down there and started to ask a few questions on the best route, we got different answers. To be honest, I didn't do a good job of planning some of the trip due to work constraints and it showed under pressure of trying to get to the Welt using public transportation. In the end, I didn't want to jeopardize being any later than I thought we were going to be so we decided to go back to the surface and grab one of the many taxis parked around the station. To be honest, the fare was less than 20 Euros and I wished we would have done that from the beginning. Cab ride was straight forward and got us there only about 15 mins. late for check in. I even called on the way but they didn't seem too concerned.

It was so exciting arriving at the BMW Welt. I regret not making time to tour the adjacent factory. Right where my car was just built 2 weeks earlier. Would have been great to show my wife Wendy there. After checking our luggage in, we did the typical paperwork then toured the huge building with the various BMW models, BMW store and finally went upstairs to enjoy the complimentary breakfast.






I love the way they put your name on the big digital calling board and then looking over the balcony to see the cars down below being brought out on the turn table.




We went back to the awaiting point a little early and the rep was already there waiting for us. Was such a cool moment to walk down the long ramp and see our Sakhir Orange M4 for the first time after the long wait. More beautiful than we imagined and we were very pleased with our options. The rep took many of the photos for us with our cameras along with a professional photographer as we went over the car for the first time.












The rep programmed of our first destination, our hotel near ***268;eský Krumlov, Czech Republic (CZ) and gave us several gifts; including the free key chain that they engraved, the safety vests, metal BMW USB drive, a Harmon Kardon bluetooth speaker and four waters for the road. They were very generous!


After driving down the inner circle track and existing the building, we decided to take a few pics outside of the various BMW Welk buildings (some below






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Old 04-09-2015, 06:26 PM
aardvark aardvark is offline
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Cool pics!
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Old 04-09-2015, 06:29 PM
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Day 2 - Continued: Munich to near Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

I was excited about the Autobahn, but started out conservative on our speed and performance as I got use to the roads and car features. Was also a little worried about break-in. But the long stretch of unlimited speed limits in Germany on the way to Czech Republic kept urging me to push it more. At first I did so using most of the settings in comfort/less aggressive mode. I was impressed but the real fun started when I dialed in the more aggressive steering, suspension, and response settings. Wow, I didn't think there would be that noticeable of a difference... but it was there. Not only is the car just plain quicker and aggressive, it was much more secure and sure of its in the steering and handling department. The standard settings were just too soft for going 100+MPH! I couldn't believe how well the car handled compared to even my 335. Those settings definitely made the difference and I am looking forward to playing with the various combinations.


During one of the many long stretches of Unrestricted zones.

Anyway, as we traveled northeast toward the Austrian and eventually CZ border. I stopped at several gas stations along the way to try and buy the Vignette for Austria and CZ but no one had it (or my communication with them was lacking). Eventually I took one of the B roads to get to Cesky Krumlov anyway, which is what I was on when crossing the two borders. Evidently you don't need them for B roads but that will have to change tomorrow when we leave for Prague. Hope to find one on the way. Makes me wish I would have planned that better too.

German border into Austria

Looking back into German border station. No longer manned.

Back to the Autobahn, the German trucks generally stay to the far right lane and all travel the same speed with no sudden lane changes (unlike here). And there are no left lane road hogs in Germany. Slower traffic keeps to the right! The Navigation was wonderful too and made our journey so much easier, as I didn't have to open a map the entire time. One thing I did notice is that if I relaxed to much in the unlimited zones and drove only about 110MPH I would get these VWs on my tale tailgating. I was reminded that even in Germany some of the regular joe's want to go that speed so I picked up the pace and went 120 MPH or so and they would disappear somewhere behind me... was a lot of fun. Guess there limit was around 115 or so. I definitely got up to speed a few times but in order to honor the break in, I didn't drive at the extreme end for too long

Arrived late in the evening at our hotel near Cesky Krumlov- called Small Chateau Hotel Kaplice (actually closer to Kaplice, Czech Republic (CZ).

Our hotel is a beautiful old palace that has a lot of history. Several Soviet era mill homes were just across from it abandoned. I hope to learn more about that tomorrow before leaving for Prague. Hopefully post more over the next couple of days!


A few notes so far on CZ. I find it interesting/intriguing to see the various soviet era buildings mixed in with the more modern or even pre-soviet era structures. It is depressing to see how that period of their history seems like a step backward. Just about all the Soviet era structures I saw in this part of the country are abandoned, making it probably worse. I loved Cesky Krumlov. Beautiful medieval like town surrounded by a river with castle walls. Had a great dinner there.


But the town near our hotel - Kaplice.... I don't like driving in at all. Too many narrow streets that appear to turn into one ways for no reason. At least it isn't very busy so seldom did I have to worry about other cars
A few towns to the north I finally found a gas stationg that carrued vignette they could sell me to put on my windshield. Ah nice and legal now to use the Czech motorway.

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Old 04-10-2015, 12:34 AM
Northcar Northcar is offline
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Thanks for the excellent photos. Looking forward to the continued reports.
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Old 04-10-2015, 03:23 AM
frank325 frank325 is offline
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Sweet car!
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:04 AM
Wine-O Wine-O is offline
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Nice ride and great pics. I have the 435i Coupe, and I know what you mean going from "Comfort" mode to "Sport" mode. The car tightens right up. A really cool feeling.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation -- looking for more updates.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:05 AM
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I love this color more and more. When the light hits it, it just glows! Why in the world did BMW take it away?? Great pictures, enjoy the trip and thanks for sharing. I'm chomping at the bit...46 days!
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Old 04-10-2015, 05:38 AM
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Very nice! Pictures are wonderful and the car just glows in them. Congratulations
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Old 04-10-2015, 06:56 AM
nitinkarkhanis nitinkarkhanis is offline
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Your car is beautiful and the color is very becoming on the M4. What do you use for camera? Doesn't seem like an ordinary point and shoot. The pictures are amazing! Enjoy your trip!
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Old 04-10-2015, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by nitinkarkhanis View Post
Your car is beautiful and the color is very becoming on the M4. What do you use for camera? Doesn't seem like an ordinary point and shoot. The pictures are amazing! Enjoy your trip!
Day 3 - To Prague

Thanks for all the comments guys. Yes amazing experience. Just got into Prague and staying at the Hotel Josephf in downtown. Wow that was scary getting here. GPS took us down a bunch of narrow one way streets during rush hour; several of which I wasn't sure were legal to drive thru. Just took it nice and slow and was courteous to all around me. No one seemed to get upset so just went with it. But yeah, I tried my best to stay away from those trams...

Then came the parking deck here. It was so narrow I had to have my wife spot for me. I'm sure the bellhop is laughing his butt off behind my back. I didn't want to explain to him that my car is only 2 days old and I wasn't looking to damage it so early...

About the photos. They are actually a mixture of several cameras. A couple are probably from my phone with the rest split between a Canon S100 Point and Shoot and a Canon DSLR 7D. Yes I like a little photography. But the other part that makes them stand out a bit is that I have Adobe Lightroom on my labptop here so alll have been edited for color correction, cropping, exposure, etc. Can help alot, even for the phone pics.

Time to rest a bit. Glad I'm leaving Prague on a Sunday...
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:24 AM
nitinkarkhanis nitinkarkhanis is offline
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About the photos. They are actually a mixture of several cameras. A couple are probably from my phone with the rest split between a Canon S100 Point and Shoot and a Canon DSLR 7D. Yes I like a little photography. But the other part that makes them stand out a bit is that I have Adobe Lightroom on my labptop here so alll have been edited for color correction, cropping, exposure, etc. Can help alot, even for the phone pics.

Time to rest a bit. Glad I'm leaving Prague on a Sunday...
7D, makes sense. DSLRs can be a pain to carry around but they really do a great job. I'm bringing a DSLR and P&S too, but will definitely use the DSLR for the car shoot! LR is great, I use it exclusively. Not terribly expensive and suits all of my photo development needs.

Enjoy the rest of your trip, I hope you continue to have a great experience! I look forward to seeing some more pics.
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Old 04-10-2015, 10:22 AM
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Great report so far. I remember seeing your report in 2007. It got me excited about my ED back then. Enjoy the rest of your trip.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:29 PM
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I can't believe you found my "secret" hotel in Kaplece. Herr Veldmann is the greatest. I hope you got a chance to speak with him. What a character! We go there just to enjoy his sense of humor. We always enjoyed the meals there as well.

Your weather looks fantastic. Spring is definitely in the air there. I recognized that border crossing post. And I had the exact same impression about the Cold War era buildings in that part of CR. The little towns just look so depressing and colorless. No eye-catching signs on the businesses. Shoddy streets. It doesn't necessarily look impoverished, just....boring and lifeless.

Tell your wife she looks younger now than she did in your 2007 ED report.
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Old 04-10-2015, 12:32 PM
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that's an awesome color. Very unique. You will be noticed. Like my estoril blue but even more so. Great pics. Enjoy a nice pilser in CZ.
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Old 04-11-2015, 02:20 AM
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Tell your wife she looks younger now than she did in your 2007 ED report.
Ah ha.... you just made her day...
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:16 PM
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We wrapped up our short tour in Prague today. I say short because counting the driving time, two nights is more like just a day to really get out and about. Definitely need to spend a good 3 full days to get your fill.

Day 4 - Prague

We didn't dare pull our car out of the garage during our time in Prague though. We didn't need to as the huge advantage of staying at a hotel in the city center is the ability to walk wherever you want to go. Definitely a pedestrian friendly city. We hit up all the major sites such as the Charles Bridge, Astronomical Clock, toured outside the castle walls, and even had a couple of drinks at the famous ice bar (forgot the Czech name of it).

We also ran across a Czech organization setup in a public park that honors Czech independence by thanking the Amerrican troops that tried to liberate part of the country before the Russians at the end of WWII. They had a few American WWII Jeeps and an M8 Armored Car.

While in Prague, we were very lucky to have a friend's niece come down from her hometown in northern Czech to show us around the historical city of Prague. She made the trip so much more fun and became our personal tour guide and new friend so far away from our home. We hope to return the favor one day.

Below are a few choice pics of Prague.











http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/n...ps50hn6weg.jpg
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:41 PM
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Day 5 Czech Republic thru Slovakia and Hungarian Border...

After sleeping in, we didn't get on our way to Budapest till about 11AM or so. Was much easier getting out of Prague on a Sunday then coming in on Friday afternoon. Trip thru Czech Republic was pretty uneventful. Mostly took the freeway with speed limits at 120KM/hr. However, near the border we drove from Czech Republic and into Slovakia using B roads to see what some of the smaller towns were like. Was very interesting. Not many cars in the countryside or towns. Most people were on bicycles. Also, all the houses in this part of the country were connected; like you normally see in large cities. As we entered the villages on the Slovakia side, there seemed to be even less color. Maybe still leftover from generations under communism??

Below are some shots we took on the bridge over s small river that formed the border between Czech Republic and Slovokia near two small villages.




Here are some looking back across the Czech Republic. Such nice people in these small towns.




Once we got onto the A roads in Slovakia I was impressed how smooth and maintained they were and once again very little traffic compared to Czech and Germany. I am sure Sunday had a little to do with that. Coming into Bratislava I was expecting more of city traffic. But once again, it felt light for such a major road and large city. The Bratislava skyline was filled with what looked like those soviet 70s style high rises; albeit with different bright colors and patterns. Below is a pic thru Bratislava heading toward Budapest.



We did have a little confusion at the Hungarian border. My research had me prepared (at least aware) to get a vignette for both Czech Republic and Austria; but upon crossing into Hungary I came upon about a half a mile of old former Border crossing stations with pull off exists. The first set had several police cars on the side of the road with cars pulled over. As I passed them, I immediately saw road signs with something about Vignettes on them and what seemed to indicate to pull into a station to buy one. As I passed the police I was just waiting for one to come out after me; they didn't but I did see a another old border station with the same signs a few hundred feet down the road. Pulled in and it was abandoned. Drove down the pull off exit a little further and came to a second set of buildings with two cars parked out front like it was a rest stop. Stopped and began looking for an entrance to what looked like a Soviet era abandoned building but all I could find was old rusty locked doors. Keep in mind that this place is not busy, was more or less abandoned so I really had no indication of what and where I was suppose to go. See pic below for what this former Soviet era border crossing looked like. I would suggest tearing it all down and rebuilding one small building to handle there needs. I thought I saw a tumble weed below by me....

A car that had been behind me also stopped and was doing the same thing. He too seemed confused as to what to do so just drove off. Finally a lady in one of the two parked cars who was there eating a sandwich asked me if I was looking for a vignette. I said yes and in broken English she said to go around back.... At this point I had to leave my car since you couldn't drive back there. Walked to the back of this long building and finally find a door that was open. Walk in and I find it manned by two women. Was basically the smallest DMV office you can imagine placed into a building the size of a warehouse. There were four other people in there trying to buy vignettes so I waited my turn. After going back and getting my tag number I was able to buy a 10 day permit for 12 Euros. However, all it was is a paper receipt. No sticker like the other countries. Still not sure if I really needed it but the whole abandoned border crossing with police cars at the border was enough to make me believe I better not push it.
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Old 04-12-2015, 03:46 PM
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Day 6 - Budapest

Finally arrived in Budapest late this afternoon. Beautiful city. Traffic in city center is a little tough and my GPS sometimes can't keep up with the left and rights with so many turn options. Sometimes it is best to go with your gut so you don't get directed down a street you don't want too. Anyway, checked into the Budapest Marriott which is right on the river. Yes it does not have that local feel a non chain may give you but for an ED, I couldn't be happier pulling into the big wide private entrance from the congested one way city streets. If anyone is on the fence about where to stay in downtown Budapest, just remember it is still on the river, once you get there you park in the front on a private drive while unpacking your luggage and you can self park in a wide well maintained garage that even has its own car wash. It's almost perfect for an ED. See pic below of the garage....



Now for something that I will never forget. After unpacking our luggage and taking them to our room, I returned to our car to move it from the front of the hotel entrance to the underground garage I described above. Upon walking up to the driver side, there is a guy crouched down in front of the car taking a picture. He almost looked like a tourist with his attire so I said hello and where he was from. He said in very broken English that he is from Budapest and immediately began praising the vehicle and how much he liked it. I told him a little about the ED program but he had a hard time understanding me and really wanted just to take pictures. As I got in to move it to the garage, I figured I would put it in the more aggressive mode which really brings out the exhaust. Thought that would give him some more entertainment as I drove away. However, as I am driving down the Marriott driveway to the garage entrance, I see the guy running after me in my rear view mirror still taking pictures. Near the entrance to the garage I have to stop and put the car in reverse to make the sharp turn. As I do so he is catching up to me and I see others on the sidewalk pointing and laughing. Guess he looked like the Paparazzi or something. He then asks if he could take pictures of the front again and I said sure as I slowly escaped him into the depths of the underground garage. Was a funny experience.


Only had enough time for a nice dinner on one of the restaurant boats (Spoon-see below) moored in the river. The wait staff seemed a little snooty but the food was great. Probably a five star in our hometown but the dollar goes a lot further here.





Will try to upload some pics tomorrow.
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:33 PM
calimarc calimarc is offline
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Awesome write up and pictures so far! Can't wait to pick our vehicles up in July... Until then I can tie myself over with your great adventure!!
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Old 04-13-2015, 05:23 PM
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oops double post.
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Old 04-13-2015, 06:29 PM
Dimitar Dimitar is offline
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Congrats on the new car. SO looks fantastic. I remember reading your ED thread back in 2007 when you picked up your black E92 335i. Your thread was particularly entertaining and made me wanting to do an ED which I did in December 2013. Great to see you guys doing well, best wishes to you.
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Old 04-13-2015, 07:30 PM
soledoc soledoc is offline
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That story about the border is so reminiscent of my Hungarian border crossing. Of course I was never so glad to cross a border in my life coming from Slovenia. I had doubts too about the piece of paper for Hungary. I guess they haven't figured out the vignette thing yet. I had luckily bought mine in Germany right before Austrian border. Also got my Slovenia one there too. 3 for one at that stop.

I know how you feel saying there was nobody around and just tumbleweeds! Kind of scary especially when you are running from the Slovenian police like I was. I can see what you mean about the Hungarian police almost pulling you over.

Glad you're enjoying Hungary. Spend all your forints. Between my son and me we still have 10,000 HUF. I'll let folks do the conversion. Buy some local Hungarian wine at a store and try it. Not the sweet wines.
I stayed in a VRBO apartment and it was amazing. In an old blog near Parliament and Olympic park on Pest side. My bed overlooked the Danube. Huge patio. Full kitchen. $130/night.
You must go to a thermal bath while you are there. Hit Bratislava if you can. It was a hidden gem.
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Old 04-13-2015, 08:08 PM
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She's a beauty, congrats! Fabulous pics!
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Old 04-14-2015, 12:09 AM
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panzer948 panzer948 is offline
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Location: Charlotte, NC
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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Mein Auto: 2000 Dodge Durango
Quote:
Originally Posted by soledoc View Post
That story about the border is so reminiscent of my Hungarian border crossing. Of course I was never so glad to cross a border in my life coming from Slovenia. I had doubts too about the piece of paper for Hungary. I guess they haven't figured out the vignette thing yet. I had luckily bought mine in Germany right before Austrian border. Also got my Slovenia one there too. 3 for one at that stop.

I know how you feel saying there was nobody around and just tumbleweeds! Kind of scary especially when you are running from the Slovenian police like I was. I can see what you mean about the Hungarian police almost pulling you over.

Glad you're enjoying Hungary. Spend all your forints. Between my son and me we still have 10,000 HUF. I'll let folks do the conversion. Buy some local Hungarian wine at a store and try it. Not the sweet wines.
I stayed in a VRBO apartment and it was amazing. In an old blog near Parliament and Olympic park on Pest side. My bed overlooked the Danube. Huge patio. Full kitchen. $130/night.
You must go to a thermal bath while you are there. Hit Bratislava if you can. It was a hidden gem.
Wow. Running from the Slovenian poloce? I would love to hear more about that story...
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