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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over the past couple weeks, my wife and I have been debating between doing ED either this year or next year. Well, after visiting one of the local dealerships today and settling on a fantastic offer, I am happy to report that we will be doing ED this fall.

The details of our build are in my signature below, but I'll restate them here:

2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe
M Sport Line
Exteror: Estoril Blue Metallic
Interior: Black Dakota - Aluminum Hex Trim - Blue Matte Trim Finishers
Packages: Cold Weather, Lighting, Premium, and Tech Packages
Misc: HK Sound, 18" 400M Wheels w/ All Seasons





Cold weather package was a must living in an area with 4 seasons and being married to a wife who always sets the temp on her side of the car to 80+. Lighting package was an impulse buy - damn those lights look freakin awesome (auto high beams are nice too). Premium package just made sense because I wanted leather seats, comfort access, and am already a Sirius/XM subscriber. HUD alone was enough to sell me on the tech package. I had loaner a few visits ago and when I realized a whole bunch of other useful stuff was displayed on the HUD besides speed, that was the moment I was sold. Well, I guess that and also being an engineer in the aviation industry where I'm much more accustomed to using such a display.

For the most part, the only packages I did not get were the driver assistant packages and the dynamic handling package. If active blind spot detection was an individual option, I probably would have ordered it - otherwise really wasn't interested in a bunch of cameras and dimples around the bumpers.

DHP and Msport brakes almost made the cut, but I see them as longer term maintenance worries. Msport pads will obviously cost more than regular pads and the occasional nuisance stability control faults caused by the A/S on my 5er were enough to actively steer me away from the extra complexities of the DHP (pun intended). Also, the roads on my daily commute around St. Louis are pretty good so I'm not too worried about having the stiffer Msport suspension.

I went with the 400M wheels with all seasons because I'm not a big fan of RFTs, and don't want to deal with the hassle of mounting new tires and selling the RFTs. Instead I'll just wear these out in a few years and then mount winter tires on the 400Ms. Don't yet know exactly what I'll buy for my summer wheels but I like the 433s that come on the current gen M6. If I went that route, I'd be looking for a set of 19" replicas as I'm sure the OEM wheels alone are in excess of $4k.

Going in on Monday to finalize the paper work and get things rolling on the build. Should end up having an early October delivery window. May try and plan it so that we pick up the car on my birthday which is October 7th - I'll be turning the big 3-1.

Pre-Delivery Updates

July 7, 2014

Completed the initial paperwork today, put down a $500 deposit, and filled out our pre-reservation request order form. Our dates in order of priority are Sept 29, Oct 6, and Oct 7. Should hear back by the end of the week with a production number and ED date.

July 15, 2014

Just received a call that we will be picking up at the Welt on September 29th at 10:50 AM!

July 16, 2014

Signed purchase order & terms, power of attorney, and winter driving conditions notification. Received production number - status is 105.​

September 10, 2014

Vehicle production started - scheduled to finish production on September 18.

Interesting note about the VIN. Digits 4-7 are typically the vehicle's model code which for a 2015 435i GC should be 4B13 per the order guide. However, mine as well as many other new cars I've found online are 4B1C. Also, looks like these are manufactured in Dingolfing.

September 20, 2014

Vehicle production completed per BMWUSA.


ED Trip Debrief


We started planning our ED trip shortly after we received confirmation of our pickup date (Sept 29th) towards the end of July. Neither my wife of I could be away from work very long so we planned the trip to be 1 week long - leaving Sat the 27th and returning a week later on Oct 4th. We chose the 29th so that we could experience a real, Bavarian Oktoberfest by being in tents filled with great music, crazy Germans, and 1000s of liters of real beer being consumed simultaneously. I'll tell you the "Oktoberfest" we have here in the states is no comparison ***8211; it's like comparing a prius to an M3.

Our high-level itinerary ended up being as follows:
Munich, Germany: Arrive Sept 28th and depart Sept 30th
Sept 28th: Get to hotel and explore downtown Munich (away from Oktoberfest festival)
Sept 29th: Take delivery in the morning then meet up with friends and head to Oktoberfest
Sept 30th: BMW Museum in the morning, drive to Neuschwanstein castle, drive to Oetz​
Oetz, Austria: Arrive Sept 30th and depart Oct 1st
Sept 30th: Dinner and relax at Nature resort
Oct 1st: Depart Oetz heading through Switzerland to Lake Como, Italy.
(Originally planned drive via Stelvio, but weather did not cooperate that morning, unfortunately)​
Lenno, Italy (Lake Como): Arrive Oct 1st and depart Oct 2nd
Oct 1st: Arrive in Lenno, explore town, discover tasty Italian wine priced cheaper than Franzia
Oct 2nd: Take Ferry into Bellagio, explore town, eat lunch, return to Lenno and drive to Verona​
Verona, Italy: Arrive Oct 2nd and depart Oct 3rd
Oct 2nd: Arrive at Villa Quaranta Wellness Resort, explore, enjoy private wine tasting, eat dinner, relax in hydrotherapy pool
Oct 3rd: Leave resort and drive to Innsbruck via San Leonardo pass. Visit Swarovski museum​
Munich, Germany: Arrive Oct 3rd and depart for home Oct 4th
Oct 3rd: Arrive at NH Munich near airport, get dinner, re-pack luggage, get rest
Oct 4th: Wash car at nearby Agip, drop off car at Loginout, fly home​

Re-Delivery Timeline

October 7, 2014 [Drop off +3 days]

Booked on the Elektra. Voyage Number CX441-ELX

October 12, 2014 [Drop off +8 days]

Received at Terminal in Bremerhaven

October 14, 2014 [Drop off +10 days]

Loaded on Vessel

October 27, 2014 [Drop off +23 days]

Discharged at NY (NJ)

October 28, 2014 [Drop off +24 days]

Customs Cleared: Vehicle enters VPC per BMWUSA tracking status indicating "Final Touches"

October 31, 2014 [Drop off +27 days]

Released to carrier: My CA called to let me know the car has been released to the carrier and should arrive early next week!

November 7, 2014 [Drop off +34 days]

Car Arrived at dealer: Picking up later today!

 

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Freedom isn't free!!
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Congrats. I would recommend getting the basic Drive Assistance pkg that has PDC and the rear camera.
 

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Congrats. I would recommend getting the basic Drive Assistance pkg that has PDC and the rear camera.
I agree. And I think the DHP is pretty awesome. I have to the top view cameras too. I think spending the money to see what's around you and with PDC is well worth the possible pain of a scrape, ding or rash.

I, of course, approve of your color choice both exterior and interior. I have that exactly.
 

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Over the past couple weeks, my wife and I have been debating between doing ED either this year or next year. Well, after visiting one of the local dealerships today and settling on a fantastic offer, I am happy to report that we will be doing ED this fall.

The details of our build are in my signature below, but I'll restate them here:

2015 BMW 435i Gran Coupe
M Sport Line
Exteror: Estoril Blue Metallic
Interior: Black Dakota - Aluminum Hex Trim - Blue Matte Trim Finishers
Packages: Cold Weather, Lighting, Premium, and Tech Packages
Misc: HK Sound, 18" 400M Wheels w/ All Seasons
Congratulations on the car, the birthday and the ED. Hope you got a good deal.
I pick up my 428GC MSport on July 17 - identical colors/trim, but with fewer packages. I went for the brakes and back up camera and, because our wives are similar but I am in CA, only the heated seats. Signed the loan today and am expecting the next 14 days will seem much longer.
I know in matters of taste that people often confuse good with similar, but it think you settled on a great birthday present.
Enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Just wanted to bump this thread to share a few small updates - see the first post as that's where I'll keep all the content.

However, I would like to note the particularly high number of 'fester deliveries on the same date as us. According to the ED Bimmerfest calendar, there will be at least 6 of us all taking delivery on September 29th. I suppose Oktoberfest may or may not have had some influence.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/calendar.php?do=getinfo&day=2014-9-29&c=3
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Sunday, September 28th

Depart from Chicago O'Hare on Saturday the 27th. This was just a full day after the FAA guy started the air traffic control center on fire and then stabbed himself to make it look like he was assaulted. Luckily, the only impact this had on our flight was a couple of connecting passengers landed a little late so we waited 15 mins for them. Aside of that, no issues departing the US. Happened to have a really nice view of the sunset from where we were sitting in the really nice 777 aircraft and how it was positioned while we were taxiing.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485155859" title="IMG_0785 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3940/15485155859_6f8f4ef951.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_0785"></a>

Arrive and gather essentials that we couldn't get in the states. For the most part this was just Euros and a pre-paid sim card for use overseas. Make sure to check with your bank in advance, but you should be able to save a good amount of money on transaction fees and get substantially better rates just by using your ATM/debit card in an ATM at a European bank. The cash exchange agencies were asking around $1.33/Euro while EURUSD at the time was closer to $1.29. We use Ally Bank which charges a 1% fee for overseas withdrawals so over the course of our trip we ended up paying just around $1.29 on average (the day we returned the Euro feel all the way down to $1.26 and change).

We had Rolf pick us up from Munich Airport at Terminal 2. He was waiting for us just to the right of where you exit customs and has a very nice 316d touring that he drove us to our hotel in. Instead of sensatec as you would find in the US, the EU spec vehicles have a nice fabric with a hex inlay pattern. He was a great driver and gave us all sort of tips and pointers for getting around Munich and surviving Oktoberfest. Unfortunately, the agreement BMW has with another limousine service has had an effect of drawing away some of Rolf's potential customers, so if you're taking delivery at the Welt anytime soon, show your bimmerfest support for a good, long-time friend and a fellow BMW enthusiast and make your arrangements with Rolf!

After about a 30-35 minute drive from the airport to our hotel which was the Leonardo Royal in Olympia Park, we put away our bags and made our way into central Munich. I chose the Leonardo Royal for 3 main reasons:
1. It was reasonably priced given that it was during Oktoberfest

2. It is very close to the U3 (one of the lines in Munich's subway system - called the U-bahn) which made getting around very inexpensive and easy ***8211; it was about $30 for a 3 day pass that both my wife and myself could use.

3. The first stop heading towards downtown Munich from the hotel is the BMW Welt. From the time we left our hotel, we could be at the Welt in 10-15 minutes depending on how well we timed the train. Central Munich was about a 25 minute ride from the hotel.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051135534" title="DSC00077 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7565/15051135534_1af814154d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00077"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485703168" title="DSC00084 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3940/15485703168_abc37839e2.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00084"></a>


We got off the train at Odeonsplatz where we immediately found ourselves in the middle of a smaller, isolated Oktoberfest festival. We walked around a little bit to grab some food at the smaller tents and also grabbed a couple half liter beers. All the instructions regarding etiquette that we read online were completely true - after finding some open space on a bench we just asked politely if we could sit down and sure enough 5 minutes later we had started up a nice conversation with the locals.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485888707" title="DSC00093 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3937/15485888707_3cd2719dc7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00093"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051132434" title="DSC00094 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3936/15051132434_8ace13db65.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00094"></a>


After a little over an hour at this small festival we headed down to Hofbrahaus Munich which was about 3 blocks away. My wife had been there before (not during Oktoberfest) so she had an idea of what to expect. As for me, the environment completely surpassed my expectations of what I imagined a true German beer hall to be. Once again, we found some empty space on bench that wasn't too far from where the band was playing. We met a very nice daughter/dad duo ***8211; she came into Munich see her family and enjoy Oktoberfest. Both of them spoke great English so it was very easy to talk with them. 3 Liters of beer and 2 hours later we were sad to leave.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485212179" title="DSC00134 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3955/15485212179_123db9c82b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00134"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051128384" title="DSC00130 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7498/15051128384_18bedcdc3b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00130"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15486286500" title="DSC00128 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3946/15486286500_a95aa94d01.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00128"></a>

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647359746" title="DSC00149 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5597/15647359746_6223b5e750.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00149"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485882107" title="DSC00140 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5613/15485882107_feac35239f.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00140"></a>

After that we decided to walk around Munich and get whatever pictures we could. The wife took some great pictures of the various buildings. I pointed out a couple interesting things such as a creepy/artsy sandman and what I'm guessing was an F30 335i with select M performance pants. The taxi's there are all this horrible cream-beige color, granted I'd ride in one of those any day compared to the crap that's used for taxis in the US. We headed back to the U-bahn and upon arriving back at our hotel we made the rookie travelers mistake and fell asleep ***8211; I blame the 3L of beer. We both work up a few hours later which was around 9PM and failed to go back to sleep. After a couple hours of just lying on the bed, we both gave up on trying to fall to sleep given the anticipation of a new car along with the fact that in the US (central time) it was midday. A deck of cards helped to pass the time, but even so we both got caught in a frozen time warp. It wasn't until the sun started to rise that things really started to feel like they were moving along again.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051131684" title="DSC00111 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5604/15051131684_d239e54023.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00111"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051130374" title="DSC00115 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3940/15051130374_dc165a9d55.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00115"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672671192" title="DSC00173 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7523/15672671192_6f6efd5ebb.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00173"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671089845" title="DSC00165 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3941/15671089845_6f18142ce7.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00165"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672670262" title="DSC00177 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7521/15672670262_b69084d8a4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00177"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672619442" title="IMG_6090 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7520/15672619442_8ccf507429.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6090"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051721883" title="DSC00163 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3944/15051721883_0457b5b6b5.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00163"></a>

Monday, September 29th

7:00 AM - At this point we were both pretty hungry as our lunch and dinner were German pretzels and Oktoberfest beer, but did not want to drop $30 (each) on a room service hamburger so we just powered through and got ready knowing that there would be food in the premium lounge at the Welt.

9:00 AM ***8211; After a short walk to the U-bahn and an even shorter trip on the subway itself from Oberweisenfeld to Olympiapark-Zentrum we arrive at the Welt. We took a few quick pictures outside and then headed in where they guided us to the red carpet elevator leading up to the premium lounge. We signed a few papers and then received our packet with all the necessary paperwork as well as a couple Oktoberfest heart-shaped gingerbread cookies.
I locked up my backpack in a very appropriately-numbered locker and then we finally filled our empty stomachs, partially. The meat and cheese breakfast has certainly re-defined my view as to what the breakfast of champions truly is. Makes Cheerios and Wheaties look like rabbit food. Also, the German white sausages (remove the skin) with spicy mustard are a superior alternative to our American sausages swimming in a pool of grease and maple syrup. No wonder why obesity reigns supreme here!

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051716923" title="DSC00191 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5606/15051716923_c6fbbd68c0.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00191"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647354766" title="DSC00188 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7496/15647354766_d37119f6f1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00188"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647353096" title="DSC00199 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3937/15647353096_8c5c6cd6ee.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00199"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485872697" title="DSC00203 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3934/15485872697_f0f88cd8ea.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00203"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485871747" title="DSC00204 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7491/15485871747_c552a3c3c0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00204"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671082165" title="DSC00206 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5597/15671082165_677a482202.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00206"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671080015" title="DSC00209 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7501/15671080015_9ac838a3a7.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00209"></a>

9:30 AM ***8211; Seeing as this was our first time doing European Delivery, we decided to do the "full" delivery including the safety feature/product demo. Because of this, we had just about an hour to explore before we had to be back up at the meeting point in the premium lounge. As we headed down, we met Ibiza and his wife ***8211; both of whom were very well coordinated in their blue BMW shirts. Luckily, he reminded me that there are indeed two books to sign so I didn't make the rookie mistake of writing in the "regular" book only. After signing "Das buch" we headed down to the main floor of the Welt to take some pictures and put our $10 gift certificate to use (we got a coffee mug) as well as get our keychain engraved. We went with "2 Years" seeing as this trip was timed to cover our 2nd anniversary, my birthday, and Oktoberfest.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051709123" title="DSC00211 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5616/15051709123_ea7fe2ae05.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00211"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485155529" title="IMG_0812 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7471/15485155529_996b9343c6.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_0812"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485638718" title="DSC00219 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7540/15485638718_e116092dea.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00219"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051704183" title="DSC00237 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15051704183_9280607032.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00237"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051123744" title="DSC00232 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3941/15051123744_2d5ab6bdc9.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00232"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051706163" title="DSC00229 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3952/15051706163_4cea43b35e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00229"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15486266710" title="DSC00225 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7496/15486266710_33697f8225.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00225"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15486267720" title="DSC00222 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7483/15486267720_42dd4c8a63.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00222"></a>

10:30 AM ***8211; Finally! It is time to begin the whole delivery process! We headed back up to the premium lounge where we met our outstanding delivery specialist ***8211; Sven. After our introductions, Sven took us down a floor to the product briefing area. The soft-touch horizontal projection screens (image projects from above - surface is not back lit) are great on the wrists and the personalized welcome screen was a nice touch ***8211; yeah my middle name is awesome! I've been saying it all along that if we are to make a movement towards touch interfaces, they either need to be horizontal or canted ***8211; vertical touch displays are an ergonomic catastrophe. I let my wife take the wheel in the simulator where we found ourselves in what appeared to be a black E92 328. The purpose of the simulator was really to demonstrate the functions of DSC, DTC, and ABS. I wonder when they'll change the skin on simulator to turn it into an F3x.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672654372" title="DSC00240 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5602/15672654372_2414ac8fb7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00240"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672653412" title="DSC00256 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7469/15672653412_b2ed64dacf.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00256"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669145821" title="DSC00258 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3950/15669145821_58fb70b165.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00258"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
10:50 AM ***8211; Ok NOW Finally! It is time to take actual delivery of our 435 Gran Coupe. I grabbed my bag out of the locker and relinquished the key to the next, rightfully entitled 435 owner. We then proceeded down the gallery (Hollywood) staircase to the premiere delivery floor. Our car was on the back (east) side of the floor so it provided some nice privacy from all the onlookers standing on the surrounding balconies. Sven cued up the lights and turntable as we finally caught our first glimpses of our new car. After many photos, uncontrollable smiles, and tears of joy (well no I didn't cry but you get the idea), Sven showed us a couple more tricks with the iDrive and put in the USB stick with the European maps on them and wished us the best. I mounted the gopro as best I could, but it was very hard to get a good preview image to show up as the camera lighting was saturated by all of the sunlight.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051699613" title="DSC00262 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5614/15051699613_7f7602e140.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00262"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669143131" title="DSC00267 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3955/15669143131_1d590d4776.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00267"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485184119" title="DSC00270 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3936/15485184119_88b4b97ee0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00270"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671066295" title="DSC00275 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5606/15671066295_af7d11cbbc.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00275"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647332446" title="DSC00291 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7556/15647332446_8e97274e0f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00291"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669138451" title="DSC00294 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3952/15669138451_9648e8b1e9.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00294"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051693643" title="DSC00297 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7558/15051693643_f135f9d2c7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00297"></a>

11:15 AM ***8211; We took 1.5 victory laps seeing as we started about half way around the track relative to the exit ramp. After exiting the birth canal, we headed over to the right so that we could get some pictures in front of the tornado. Very conveniently, we just happened to pass Merlosso and his wife (they were picking up their sweet Mineral Grey M235 that afternoon) right next to the tornado so they took our picture in front of it ***8211; thank you once again! My wife happened to get a great shot of the car at a very interesting angle - which I think looks almost like BMW marketing material. Shortly after our outside photo shoot, we met our friend Pam; parked the car in the Welt garage; and headed back to the hotel to change into our Oktoberfest gear.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669136811" title="DSC00320 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8277/15669136811_f885781673.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00320"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669135971" title="DSC00322 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7559/15669135971_bcfdece62d.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00322"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671060665" title="DSC00324 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7516/15671060665_f7fd07891e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00324"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485661648" title="DSC00327 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3949/15485661648_10f60ca7cd.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00327"></a>

12:45 PM ***8211; Just about an hour after leaving the Welt, we made it down to the festival where we quickly went to the Lowenbrau tent. Found an empty bench in a good location (not too close to the band and not too far from the bathrooms) after just a few minutes of looking. Ordered our first round of drinks, some pretzels, and a Bavarian half-baked chicken ***8211; which was amazing by the way. It was just the three of us for a little while and then we were joined by a guy along with his father who were both from Seattle. Not long after, an amazing group of college students who were studying abroad joined us. We had a great time with them, but of course a pick pocket just had to come by and swipe one of their bags (containing several hundred euro and a passport). There were some other folks from the states sitting at bench adjacent to us who noticed this and asked if the guy that took the bag was in our group to which we obviously told him no. Because of his quick actions and a miracle, we tracked him down (small Asian guy) inside the tent before he got away. Unfortunately, our new friends had to leave for a while to go down to the police station to help them file a report.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671058825" title="DSC00336 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15671058825_68a62ca2f3.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00336"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485846377" title="DSC00349 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7577/15485846377_2b46f7c9d2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00349"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485658728" title="DSC00350 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3936/15485658728_67d686c579.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00350"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051685873" title="DSC00353 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3943/15051685873_d3ba9fa20c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00353"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485170969" title="DSC00362 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7472/15485170969_33214e2be8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00362"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647320786" title="DSC00366 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5603/15647320786_84d5300318.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00366"></a>

5:00 PM? ***8211; Our friends returned, but at this point the tent was starting to get very hot and the benches were substantially more packed. Stayed around for a while to catch up and get all the details of what happened to the pick pocket guy ***8211; last we heard he was in a temporary holding cell. In the picture with the officer, the hero of the day (guy sitting at the adjacent table who noticed the pickpocket) is in the middle. For the rest of the evening we all took turns wearing the backpack facing forwards. Ein Prosit (a short song/chant that is a German salute to friendship and good times) continued to play every 15 minutes right on cue. That song is still engraved in my head a month later. Beer and pretzels constituted our dinner.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051668373" title="IMG_6115 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/15051668373_72f68c94de.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6115"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15672633692" title="DSC00400 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15672633692_3f1f08538a.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00400"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669113021" title="IMG_6104 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7467/15669113021_7bf6c09c45.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6104"></a>

8:00 PM ***8211; We finally left the tent to go explore other parts of the festival. What's the best way to enjoy an Oktoberfest buzz? How about a ride on a giant ferris wheel! After getting tickets and waiting what I'm guessing to be 10-15 minutes we finally got into the wheel. Must admit that it's a pretty awesome view when you get towards the top and can see the entire festival surrounding you.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647318816" title="DSC00407 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5614/15647318816_956967a2e2.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00407"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051083184" title="DSC00410 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7499/15051083184_1577023e6f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00410"></a>

9:00 PM ***8211; So now we made the really bad decision to enter another tent - Paulaner. Needless to say, it's hard to give a detailed account for the rest of the night. I just know we drank beer***8230;.......................................too much beer.

Tuesday, September 30th

8:00 AM ***8211; We'll the good news is that my alarm is going off so at least my phone works. After waking up I did my obligatory cell phone-wallet-keys assessment ***8211; only to remember my normal keys are sitting at my parents place all the way back in Chicago and that the keys which will soon take up that real estate in my pocket are securely locked away in the closet safe along with our passports and the packet of delivery paperwork. Opened my wallet and everything was in place; a quick check of the room didn't reveal any lions, tigers, or babies (oh my...); wife and friend seemed just fine and the bathroom was in good shape so looks like we survived Oktoberfest unscathed other than the worst hangover headache I've ever experienced ***8211; honestly, I would have preferred a migraine at the time.

9:00 AM ***8211; At this point I've showered (which helped a little) and continued to drink lots of water in order to detox my system. Unfortunately, both these have had limited success so I had to revert to desperate measures - $30 room service hamburger desperate measures. Took about 20 minutes to come up and it was actually a really good burger, but it didn't really help my headache. Back to bed, we don't need to be on the road until the early afternoon.

11:00 AM ***8211; We are all up and ready to leave. My wife is perfectly fine ***8211; no headache or anything. I guess German beer discriminates between those with blonde hair and blue eyes over those of us with the double saddle brown combination. Said our goodbyes as our friend was meeting up with her husband who was enroute on a train to do another day of Oktoberfest (shivers). Headed over to the Welt and grabbed a couple of those juice drinks from the premium lounge and then walked over to the BMW museum to take advantage of our complementary admission. It was only semi-interesting to me as I'm not really a classic car guy. Found myself spending more time only at the Bond car exhibit and the future concepts exhibits.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669123801" title="DSC00418 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5615/15669123801_fbd7aa9ae8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00418"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15486236460" title="DSC00437 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7551/15486236460_83154b1958.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00437"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669121561" title="DSC00440 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7473/15669121561_03fb98356f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00440"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15486234070" title="DSC00445 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3941/15486234070_a785ca35da.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00445"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15671045025" title="DSC00454 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5613/15671045025_32dc648d90.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00454"></a>

1:00 PM ***8211; OK finally all set to leave Munich. I still wasn't feeling very good so aside my victory lap around the Welt, my wife was the lucky one to put the first 10 or so miles on the car. She drove for a little while, but didn't feel comfortable driving around Munich so after we stopped at a gas station to get a pair of safety vests, I drove the rest of the way. iDrive worked great and put us on a really nice set of back roads to Neuschwanstein Castle after I told it to avoid highways ***8211; also HUD***8230;....................................... just amazing***8230;........................................ So glad I spent the extra on the tech package. The countryside in southern Germany is truly awesome ***8211; very glad we didn't take the autobahn. I know we'd be returning to Germany at the end of our trip and the car will be better broken in then so I figure this was a smarter way to break-in the car.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15485645158" title="DSC00477 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7504/15485645158_5a62af38a0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00477"></a>

3:00 PM ***8211; Just passing by Schwangau now (small town right near Fussen and Neuschwanstein castle which will be abbreviated as NC from here on out). Found the official Bimmerfest NC spot very easily. Just look for the lone tree about 100 yards off the left side of the road at the last turn off before entering Hohenschwangau via Colomanstrabe. Snapped a few pictures of the car and then a local couple happened to pass through on their bicycles ***8211; one of which was a photographer so she offered to take our picture (Thanks! If you ever happen to read this).

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15051672363" title="DSC00505 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3940/15051672363_9841a0116a.jpg" width="500" height="461" alt="DSC00505"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669116021" title="DSC00510 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7569/15669116021_35bbc6134e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00510"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15647310026" title="DSC00492 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5609/15647310026_2b32e6434a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00492"></a>

3:30 PM ***8211; Car is parked and we started to walk around the town to try and find where we get tickets for NC. The kiosk was way up the hill and there were very limited times when the tour was offered in English so we ended up having to wait until the 5:30 time slot. We wandered around the area and went to the gift shop where my wife bought a nutcracker Christmas ornament (at least she didn't want a 500 euro cuckoo clock). With plenty of time to pass until 5:00, which is when we were told to be at the bus stop which takes you up the pass to the castle, we went to one of the restaurants to get a small bite to eat ***8211; my wife just had to order a beer. Needless to say I stuck with water and an espresso.

5:00 PM ***8211; We get in line for the bus which picks us up right on time, but then doesn't depart until around 5:10. After what seemed to be about a 10 minute ride up the mountain we got off the bus and started following the path towards the castle. Little to our knowledge did we know the path was probably a good half mile so we just barely missed our tour time. I was a bit disappointed they didn't tell us to get on an earlier bus so that we wouldn't have to jog to make the tour punctually. We got things sorted out but had to take an audio-guided tour instead. Below is a picture of our car parked from the top of the pass nearby where the bus dropoff/pickup is.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15669114961" title="DSC00529 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3937/15669114961_f3b08640d3.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00529"></a>

6:00 PM ***8211; So yeah it's dark and misting outside at this point. We began our walk back to the bus pickup very leisurely and waited a few minutes for the bus to show up. Got on the bus and waited forever because it was apparently the last bus of the day. I was still shocked at how poorly NC was organized in terms of the logistics of transporting people up and down the pass and ensuring you made your scheduled tour on time. We finally got back down the bottom of the mountain, and after we walked to our car and validated our parking it was after 7PM! Yes, it was cool to see, but if I knew it was going to be a 4 hour time commitment, some more photos from the ground would have sufficed.

After 7:00 PM ***8211; Do you think driving in the US sucks when it's raining and misting on the windshield? If so don't do ED when it's raining and misting. The German back roads weren't too bad, but NC is right at the base of the northern Swiss Alps so our drive to Oetz took us into the mountains pretty quickly. A few lessons learned ***8211; it sucks to be the lead driver in a pack of cars. I didn't get the fancy drivers assistant+ package so I wasn't always sure of what the speed limit was so I had no reference for what speed traffic normally moves at in these conditions. Everyone was stuck at my speed ***8211; which was slow (but I guess not slow enough for anyone to want to pass when the paint markers allowed). Because the roads are so dark and narrow without any divider for the different directions of traffic, you easily get blinded by oncoming traffic where as if you're behind a car you at least have a pair of red lights keeping your pupils in check. Oh you want to know what really sucks ***8211; when you are the lead car and the oncoming traffic is a massive truck and there's a barrier 6 inches away from the passenger side of your car. Yeah, that will test your manlihood (or lack thereof).

Some of the cool things on the miserable drive into Oetz were the tunnels ***8211; geez they are much longer than the tunnels in the US (though I guess they have to be given the terrain). Also, I was actually really happy to be behind a truck for once. You have to keep enough distance so the water coming off its tires doesn't mess up your visibility, but I never really had to worry about being too far towards either side of the lane when I was behind a truck. Oh right we stopped to get an Austrian vignette at some point too.

9:00 PM ***8211; We finally made it to the resort. Unfortunately, this is a very short stay given how late we got in. After putting things away in our room we headed down for dinner which was included in our stay. I had a Bavarian chicken dish very similar to chicken cordon bleu ***8211; in fact it was probably just chicken cordon bleu, but Bavarian chicken just sounds more authentic. We both had a chicken soup also which was pretty amazing as was the home-baked bread. Our room was furnished like a very clean cabin with a nice balcony and hot tub. After being out in the cold misty rain at NC and surviving a 2 hour drive where I was 50% blind, 60% hung over, and 90% hungry, this was by far the best bath I've ever had in a hot tub. Long exhausting day with and even longer drive tomorrow ***8211; time to get to bed and pass out to American movies with Austrian voice-overs.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064442604" title="DSC00554 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3943/15064442604_7546630870.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00554"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682457701" title="DSC00557 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7466/15682457701_a63da7fc3c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00557"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660747436" title="IMG_6168 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8561/15660747436_25089f71c6.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6168"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Wednesday, October 1st

8:00 AM ***8211; We both woke up pretty early no problems. I immediately reconnected to the wifi so that I could check the weather around Stelvio to see whether or not it was going to be worth it to take that route into Italy. Unfortunately, the forecast was pretty poor and the live webcams @ Stelvio showed wet roads and thick fog ***8211; Stelvio is out, we'll stick to the Austrian and Switzerland Autobahns until we get closer to Italy where we can take back roads along Lake Como. Grabbed some breakfast from the nice buffet they set up and took some pictures of the surrounding area. The staff and location of this resort is amazing ***8211; will definitely make it a point to return here for longer during out next ED. The best man in my wedding loves to ski and just visited to give a guest lecture for one of my classes. He drives an Audi right now, but after showing him all the pictures and videos he says he could be convinced. So perhaps my wife and I can tag along if he decides to do ED***8230;......................the right way.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498593189" title="IMG_6171 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7477/15498593189_ca5776439d.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6171"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499066818" title="IMG_6175 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7524/15499066818_7eec3faafc.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6175"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498596139" title="IMG_6178 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8419/15498596139_0e06d81d06.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6178"></a>

10:00 AM ***8211; Back on the road, filled up about ¼ tank so that we would have plenty of fuel to get us to Lenno (small town on the west side of Lake Como) just in case we had to reroute for any unforeseen circumstances. Fuel was 1.594 euro/liter which was roughly $7.85/gal at the time - yeah we are spoiled in the US. Got stopped at the Switzerland border for about 5 minutes while the border patrol checked our passports and registration. When I asked them if there was a problem because I didn't have a vignette, the officer there told me I didn't need to get one since I was just passing through and would be out of the country in a few hours ***8211; that saved us just over $40. Unlike last night, this drive was really nice and I really started to enjoy the car, however by no means did it feel like my car yet. I don't think that will really set in until its sitting in the driveway.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499068618" title="IMG_6183 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3944/15499068618_56f5b25d6d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6183"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499654300" title="IMG_6231 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7545/15499654300_6971a98228.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6231"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065097643" title="IMG_6241 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15065097643_cf03448c1c.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6241"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065028043" title="DSC00577 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7471/15065028043_a9d9e8dd38.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00577"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498531569" title="DSC00578 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15498531569_cee84934d4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00578"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660690926" title="DSC00596 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7530/15660690926_b3f5693266.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00596"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660692346" title="DSC00614 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3939/15660692346_4cbdd5ae78.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00614"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064971323" title="IMG_6319 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7481/15064971323_9bdfc9c47d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6319"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498474929" title="IMG_0822 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5598/15498474929_036b652f03.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0822"></a>

12:00 PM ***8211; Stopped in a small town called Zernez in the middle of Austria. We went into a hotel/restaurant, called Hotel A La Staziun, to get a very small bite to eat. They had all sorts of signs posted about their ice cream so we got a banana split since it was one of the only things we could make out on the menu. Explored the town for maybe 10 minutes or so, and then continued on our way. The sun finally started to break the clouds a little bit which made both of us happy as we were getting tired of the fog and clouds. Not too far after we started our descent down the alps. Was able to have a little bit of fun in the hairpins, but the traffic and the roads really didn't permit me to really open up the N55. Must admit that I wanted to go a bit slower down the descent while we were still at the top because of the amazing views.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064967543" title="IMG_6273 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7562/15064967543_307716cba3.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6273"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15685930012" title="IMG_0831 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7525/15685930012_e0272820f8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0831"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660630746" title="IMG_6338 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5613/15660630746_db78d69690.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6338"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498943178" title="IMG_6287 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7499/15498943178_97eec48d77.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6287"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499530980" title="IMG_0845 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3942/15499530980_7880ed6162.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0845"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684400285" title="DSC00629 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5602/15684400285_35fc2b7ea4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00629"></a>

2:00 PM ***8211; At this point we've been driving through Italy for a little while and are starting to get towards the northern tip of Lake Como. Left the car to snap a few pics of the Alps and wow ***8211; it must have been nearly 20 degrees (F) warmer outside, talk about a temperature gradient. Anyways we continued along the road which kept passing into small towns with very tight roadways. Sidewalks ***8211; who needs them? Once again, I was very happy whenever I was not the lead car as it seemed everyone went much faster than the speed limit when we were outside of the towns, but also followed the speed limit very strictly when passing through tunnels ***8211; I think I may have seen some speed cameras in them? Took some more pictures of the car with the lake in the background. Note that all the parking spots were outlined in blue paint without any wheel chair logos so that is not a handicapped spot.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498543329" title="DSC00639 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3949/15498543329_7f62581130.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00639"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682482661" title="DSC00644 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8608/15682482661_370d51df77.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00644"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064976803" title="IMG_0876 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7566/15064976803_4d5a82dab6.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_0876"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499599800" title="DSC00646 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7542/15499599800_e0a5234298.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00646"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064978573" title="IMG_0891 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3945/15064978573_c014208dd5.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0891"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064979193" title="IMG_0893 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7543/15064979193_6f58cbf328.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0893"></a>

4:00 PM ***8211; Still unscathed other than the flattened, dead remains of the mini winged beasts of the sky, we arrived at our hotel which was the Albergo Lenno. It's very conveniently located right where the ferry picks up in Lenno and also near a small strip of restaurants and cafes. They assigned me a parking spot right next to a nice big concrete post and told me no one else would be parking on the other side so I had rock star parking for the evening. Interesting how the definition of a good parking spot varies so widely between enthusiasts and***8230;....................... well***8230;....................... you know***8230;....................... the "inconsiderates."

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065045393" title="DSC00658 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7570/15065045393_83f1cbe25b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00658"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064475244" title="DSC00670 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7487/15064475244_1ce692374e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00670"></a>

4:30 PM ***8211; Finished dropping off our stuff in the room which has a large balcony overlooking Lake Como. Before we went exploring, the hotel staff offered us some complementary beverages which we enjoyed out on their Veranda. Can't remember exactly what we ordered, but it was a mixed drink with white wine and some type of strawberry liquor (perhaps just strawberry schnapps)? After finishing our drink we were still a bit hungry so we walked down to one of the other restaurants and had a Panini consisting of prosciutto and a few other Italian meats along with some goat cheese. Definitely going to try that recipe when we get back home ***8211; it was damn good. Wandered up the road and found the coolest affordable wine store ever. In addition to buying wines by the bottle, the store had large steel wine dispensers (I'm sure all the win-o's are laughing right now as I don't know the technical term for whatever those things are called). At first I thought something wasn't right as the price was only 1-2 euro per liter which is still translates to a 750ml bottle of wine for less than $2 ***8211; that's house made Italian wine that's cheaper than Franzia***8230;...................... We bought a couple of bottles to bring back as souvenirs, but also bought a container of the house wine ***8211; in fact a 5L container of house wine. Figured it was only about $12 and that would have us covered the rest of the trip, easily. Oh, side note - if you ever buy a 5L jug of wine with the form factor shown below, make sure to ask for a funnel or else you're really only getting 4.5L :(

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064982803" title="IMG_6350 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15064982803_86be23ab22.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6350"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498549019" title="DSC00664 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7489/15498549019_19f50eb824.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00664"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682490051" title="DSC00683 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5597/15682490051_0b246a2159.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00683"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499024788" title="DSC00687 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7513/15499024788_434648eb8e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00687"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682492891" title="DSC00698 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7571/15682492891_190f46572b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00698"></a>

7:00 PM ***8211; Dinner time. Headed down to the main floor of our hotel to the dining room. Best tomato mozzarella appetizer ever. It's amazing how if you use top quality, fresh ingredients, the recipe for a fantastic meal becomes incredibly simple. Nothing out of the usual here other than to my surprise everything was included in the bill other than out fancy bottle of still water and the bottle of shiraz we ordered. Wish more hotels were like this around here! Not much else to report for the night other than the seemingly miniscule amount of wine we drank out of our bottomless plastic jug of house cabernet on the balcony. Oh to add to the cool view, Bellagio was nicely lit up and visible from across the lake that night ***8211; more on that tomorrow.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15686011072" title="DSC00715 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3950/15686011072_16371572e5.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00715"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thursday, October 2nd

9:00 AM ***8211; Woke up, connected to the wifi, and headed outside to take some pictures of Lake Como that morning. Everything looked absolutely fantastic outside ***8211; in fact so much so that I decided to take a picture and post a very very rare facebook status. Yes, status***8230;..................., it's just that***8230;...................., by taking a picture of water and mountains and adding some accompanying text I am declaring status over all my poor, unfortunate friends who are stuck at work right now staring at wall or a bunch of pixels***8230;................... Seriously, who has time to waste on social media sites when you're on vacation?!? Anyways, got our stuff together after having breakfast and checked out of the room. We made arrangements with the staff to keep our parking spot(s) later into the day as were going to take the ferry over to Bellagio for lunch and to remedy some souvenir shopping throughout the early afternoon. Both of our moms wanted cooking ingredients from Italy so we got them some good olive oil as well as some spices. My little brother (26) will be the beneficiary of a 1L beer mug from the Munich Hofbrauhaus and everyone else will get Swiss chocolate or Italian wine.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15685936942" title="IMG_0897 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7464/15685936942_51aa0550fb.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0897"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064983503" title="IMG_6356 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3938/15064983503_79c5b2fe7c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6356"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684345525" title="IMG_6358 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7546/15684345525_a1df821ecb.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6358"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498560109" title="DSC00725 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7468/15498560109_5b2652ecf1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00725"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064395334" title="DSC00733 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5605/15064395334_d11cb6ed89.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00733"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499616350" title="DSC00758 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8633/15499616350_fff86d7e49.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00758"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064488294" title="DSC00760 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7497/15064488294_48789bf1b7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00760"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499225837" title="DSC00764 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7477/15499225837_b4c0b7e486.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00764"></a>

12:00 PM ***8211; Oh, want to lose weight really fast ***8211; walk around Bellagio. The steps in the place are damn near vertical and there are tons of them. Of course, the food there is really good too as we had some amazing pizza for lunch so you need to maintain some discipline over your hypothalamus. There are tons of shops in the area too; in fact one of them makes purses that dogs love to chew up after they age back home for about a month. There was another cool wine store we went to that had some 100 point wines. Needless to say, while we love our family, we just don't love their taste buds THAT much. Met some nice folks from the US on the ferry ride from Lenno to Bellagio. You know how everyone there could tell we were tourists? Because it was 65 degrees out and we weren't in winter clothing. No wonder why those ice levels are so tough to beat in Super Mario Bros.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499037888" title="DSC00765 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7498/15499037888_6cd9443d21.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00765"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499038998" title="DSC00774 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3955/15499038998_8622f42807.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00774"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064987203" title="IMG_6379 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7505/15064987203_8a09251d2f.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6379"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498960478" title="IMG_6401 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5612/15498960478_292bab8ecc.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6401"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684350155" title="IMG_6419 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7525/15684350155_89993206c7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6419"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499546100" title="IMG_6435 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5610/15499546100_4e061275dc.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6435"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499547060" title="IMG_6441 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5615/15499547060_6e98c852f0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6441"></a>

3:00 PM ***8211; Back to Lenno and time to prepare for about a 2 hour drive to our next hotel which is the Villa Quaranta Park Hotel located just northwest of Verona. At first, I really didn't enjoy driving the same Italian back roads with narrow lanes, but after getting on the Autostrada (Italian highway system), I really wanted to be on the back roads again. The folks there want to drive fast like on the German autobahn, but there is much less discipline among the Italian drivers so you really need to be careful when switching lanes ***8211; especially as we were nearing Milan during what I imagine to be the start of a Friday evening rush hour. Geez - what I wouldn't have done for a banana peel, lightning bolt, or 3 red shells (first and only Mario Kart reference - I promise). Pretty boring drive in terms of scenery, but really needed to stay focused on the road. The toll system worked really well with my credit card (Chase Sapphire Preferred) so if you have a similar card, don't worry too much about having lots of cash in lower denominations for tolls.

5:00 PM ***8211; Arrived at Villa Quaranta Park Hotel (VQ) with a few hours of daylight to spare. Parked the car next to a nice F30 (320d I think) after dropping our bags off at the circle drive. Booked ourselves for a wine tasting at 6:30 followed by dinner at 7. Walked around and explored the hotel, but was a bit surprised to find that the wellness center and spa was open to the general public (needed to have a membership). Unfortunately, because of this and the fact they also do swimming lessons, there are limited times in which you have free reign over which pools you can relax in. Oh well ***8211; back to the room to go get ready for the evening.

So, VQ wins the award for the most awkward shower/bath of the trip. Not only does this hot tub/shower combo have this strange plastic shell, it also has a fully adjustable shower head as well as vertical jets lining the back walls of the shower enclosure itself. This thing was basically an iron maiden with water jets and was pretty awesome after I figured out how to use the 20 different knobs. Wonder what one of these things goes for and if there's some way to make it look a bit more chic. Yes, that is a bidet.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499548220" title="IMG_6466 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7516/15499548220_1d0eecf08a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6466"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682435301" title="IMG_6486 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5613/15682435301_2dc0d20cee.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6486"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064995233" title="IMG_6477 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7531/15064995233_ec332a17d9.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6477"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684354585" title="IMG_6469 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7562/15684354585_0e66983a86.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6469"></a>

6:30 PM ***8211; Well, apparently we were the only ones to sign up for the 6:30 wine tasting so we actually got a private wine tasting which was a nice surprise. Also, they had a nice dish of meats and cheeses out so this seemed to be a bit more of a wine pairing than a just a wine tasting. All of the wine in their cellar was from the Tomassi estate and tasted pretty good. We ordered 2 bottles from them to take back with us as souvenirs (unfortunately, the 2010 cabernet we got didn't age well and tasted more like a port wine when we opened it back home ***8211; still haven't opened the 2nd bottle yet, perhaps on the evening of re-delivery). Dinner was good, I had a filet with a port wine reduction and the wife had some seafood pasta dish combo.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660655216" title="IMG_6511 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7487/15660655216_c8c34f6ac6.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6511"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064424184" title="IMG_6516 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7574/15064424184_49cb1fb4bc.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6516"></a>

8:30 PM ***8211; Seeing as the pools all look to be occupied by classes tomorrow morning we had a half hour until the wellness center closed so we changed into our swimsuits, grabbed our robes, and headed down to the hydrotherapy pool. It wasn't bad, but we've certainly been to better. On our honeymoon we stayed at Secrets Wild Orchid in Montego Bay, Jamaica; now that place has an awesome hydrotherapy facility: hot water, cold water, soft jet streams, drown you in the face jet streams, etc.

10:00 PM ***8211; Back to the room and time to enjoy some more of our remaining 4L of wine ***8211; yeah we are not going to come close to finishing this by Saturday. Played some cards next to the window with a nice view of another window. Lake Como blows this place out of the water ***8211; at least we shaved a couple hours off the drive tomorrow. Looks like there might be a sweet mountain pass that doesn't detour us too much out of the way.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Friday, October 3rd
10:00 AM ***8211; Did the usual wake up routine of checking the weather as well as my email. Also, performed some quick research on San Leonardo pass to make sure it was worth the small detour (it was). We woke up a bit later than expected and missed breakfast so we just showered, gathered up our stuff and hit the road. We also dumped out the remainder of our 5L wine jug (sadly). It obviously wasn't going to fit in either suitcase and with the twisty route I had planned, I didn't want to take any risks of it sliding around and spilling in the back. Did a quick last walk around of the hotel's grounds and then we hit the road. Stopped by a gas station quickly and filled up to about 7/8ths tank assuming this would be the last fill up that we would need ***8211; I think it was 50 euro or so for that fill up.

We got on the Autostrada and headed north towards Innsbruck on the A22. This was a much better drive that yesterday as there was less traffic and things were getting scenic again as we approached the south side of the Alps. Only real issue was that there was a decent amount of construction taking place so traffic was constantly merging left and right. Pulled over to a rest stop to get a sandwich for lunch ***8211; it was pretty bad. On the bright side both our Coke Zeros tasted just fine so the fake sugar and other synthetic stuff in kept us going throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064424614" title="IMG_6571 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7512/15064424614_33654e3810.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6571"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498501489" title="IMG_6618 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7511/15498501489_03f81436c4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6618"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499556140" title="IMG_6620 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15499556140_125fcc75f5.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6620"></a>

12:00 PM ***8211; Just turned off the A22 heading northwest to drive up to San Leonardo pass. We passed through a nice town with a bunch of traffic circles. In 2011, I spent a decent amount of time in the UK for work so this brought back some mediocrely fond memories. Though, I certainly prefer my left hand drive 435 with signs posted in kph over a right hand drive Vauxhall insignia with signs posted in mph. Just before heading up the pass at its base there was a nice restaurant where we stopped for some pictures and a quick restroom break. Got on the road and immediately got stuck behind a bus***8230;.....................great. Fortunately, the bus turned off pretty quickly and we were able climb the pass pretty freely with minimal "interruptions". Kept an eye out for traffic coming from above when going through the hair pins, but with all the trees it was pretty tough to see anything until about the last 50 feet or so at each sharp turn. Stopped a couple times on our way up to grab some quick pictures ***8211; air temperature is noticeably cooler and we still aren't even at the top yet.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064427424" title="IMG_6657 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3947/15064427424_b9aedba356.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6657"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498974688" title="IMG_6663 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5609/15498974688_d27cc52b8e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6663"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660660126" title="IMG_6674 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3951/15660660126_a78a8011f6.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6674"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660661126" title="IMG_6689 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3953/15660661126_5485cc2d3a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6689"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660661866" title="IMG_6692 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7577/15660661866_eddc8d2973.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6692"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498977268" title="IMG_6709 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3949/15498977268_2024ff684d.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6709"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498570209" title="DSC00809 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8556/15498570209_d40dab9033.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00809"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684431315" title="DSC00830 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7547/15684431315_e9c463d073.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00830"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15684434075" title="DSC00842 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7475/15684434075_706ac665c8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00842"></a>

After reaching the top and just starting our descent we stopped to get some more pictures facing north. By now, I'm sure you'll be able to tell which photos my wife took compared to the ones I took***8230;.................... Anyways, started heading down ***8211; didn't really need to give the car much pedal at all after I got stuck behind a slower couple of motorcyclists. I was behind them for about 5 minutes or so and when I went to pass I was really surprised how far the cyclist in front cut into the turn. I used my turn signal to indicate I was passing, but apparently only the rear cyclist really noticed. Now my goal was to catch up to the guy on his bike with the helmet mounted camera. I figure he should be pretty fun to chase ***8211; which he was. Had a great time going down the pass. Took one left turn a little quick which resulted in an unexpected wife bumping her head on the passenger side door ***8211; I'll consider that a marginal victory for the car's handling ***8211; the lower center of gravity really makes a noticeable difference compared to the F30's I've driven as well as my E60. Anyways, we reached the bottom without any problems ***8211; now I really love this car. Time to get back on the boring highways and go see some sparkly rocks.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15686030212" title="DSC00846 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8584/15686030212_670f6c0f81.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00846"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499238957" title="DSC00848 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3956/15499238957_45467a0d21.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00848"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065005073" title="IMG_6721 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7550/15065005073_58f58b1aa6.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6721"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15064431924" title="IMG_0910 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7474/15064431924_d7fbbcf7b4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0910"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499169887" title="IMG_0911 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7568/15499169887_7e6ee2a41a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0911"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499171127" title="IMG_0915 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7543/15499171127_09b7aa604b.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0915"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498981788" title="IMG_0916 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7485/15498981788_94c72ed81c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0916"></a>

3:00 PM ***8211; Final attraction of our ED vacation: The Swarovski kristalwelten museum just east of Innsbruck, Austria. This place was really easy to find and there was plenty of good parking. Bought our tickets and headed into the museum ***8211; we went at our own pace. My wife has been here before, but apparently they've changed things up quite a bit. If I had to describe this place in one word ***8211; freaking weird. The adjective "freaking" is absolutely necessary. This has to be one of the most awkward, cool, weird, disturbing, awesome, strange museum I've ever been to. In one room there are giant crystals, in another room there are groups of crystal "worshippers", and another room had a small maze. Like I said: awkward, cool, weird, disturbing, awesome, strange, etc. So now the big moment comes ***8211; we have entered the gift shop. I have conveniently "forgotten" the credit card in the car so all we have on hand right now is about 200 euro. If you've never taken a financial planning course before, let this strategy serve as a practical example of how to mitigate risk. In the end my wife was eyeing up an 80 euro pen with crystals filling the bottom half as well as a nice Christmas tree ornament for about 40 euro. In the end she thought the 80 euro pen was over-priced (phew). We both agreed the ornament was unlikely to survive the journey seeing as both our suitcases were already pretty packed given both its flimsy packaging and the 4 extra bottles of wine we've been toting around. Escaped the gift shop with remaining cash in hand and got back on the road with our last hotel as our next destination.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660667366" title="IMG_6737 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5609/15660667366_7aae888c6a.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6737"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499633730" title="DSC00868 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7500/15499633730_05aa3fd484.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00868"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499634850" title="DSC00879 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7571/15499634850_5419ff5bce.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00879"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682519511" title="DSC00884 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3948/15682519511_31cfc0abf7.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00884"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660737976" title="DSC00895 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7514/15660737976_ab05f4983f.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00895"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065081423" title="DSC00896 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3942/15065081423_809bfaffb9.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="DSC00896"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15660740556" title="DSC00905 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7481/15660740556_29b305445e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00905"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15686040972" title="DSC00907 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3954/15686040972_3dcee6011f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="DSC00907"></a>

5:00 PM ***8211; So I had this dream about a place without speed limits, impeccable lane etiquette, and drivers who aren't buried nose deep in their phablets. Oh wait, that's right this place is real and it exists in a network of narrow sections spread all across Germany. The German Autobahns are freakin awesome! I probably only spent about 20% of the time in the leftmost lane as I wasn't in much need to constantly travel at triple digits. A few good pulls out of the N55 was all I really needed for now. Longest run I had in the left lane was to catch up to an F10 that flew by me which was painted a very interesting dark brown color ***8211; so I had to get a closer look. I know I read elsewhere in these forums that the car most likely to pass you on the left is going to be a small, black, German-made hatchback ***8211; this is definitely the case. Only saw a handful of Porches all the way over on the left ***8211; most were in the 2nd to rightmost lane.

7:00 PM ***8211; Arrived at the NH Munchen. Nothing too special about this place other than the really annoying need to get your free parking validated every time you went in and out of the parking lot. I guess it wouldn't have been such a hassle if they had a couple more people at the front desk seeing as the place was incredibly busy. We drove down the road to get dinner and repacked our suitcases once we got back to the room. I prepped the car for drop off ***8211; taking out the warning triangle, first aid kit, and any other trinkets we had lying around in the car. Relative to all the other nights of our trip, we remained pretty tame seeing as we were both very tired and were not looking forward to sitting on a plane for 8 hours tomorrow - let alone the impending warp about to occur once again in the space-time continuum.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15499566590" title="IMG_6741 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3943/15499566590_27754af5a1.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6741"></a>

Saturday, October 4th
8:00 AM ***8211; Woke up and did the usual morning ritual consisting of a quick email and weather check. Checked in for our flight, which was scheduled to depart at 3 PM, and got all of our stuff together. Wow, our time here passed by very quickly. Relaxed for a little bit before we had everything packed seeing as we weren't due to get to loginout (business that handles the drop off) until noon.

10:00 AM ***8211; Got back on the road and headed a few miles towards our 2nd to final destination, the Agip located near Munich International Airport. On the way there, a gray 335 with tourist plates flashed its lights at me (no I was not in the far left lane), but then immediately proceeded to turn off towards the airport ***8211; strange. Anyways, time for a car wash. I can't remember the exact amount, but I think it cost 1 euro to vacuum the car and 2 euros to turn on the whole washing hose and brush. Nonetheless, I quickly washed the car to prep it for shipment ***8211; note, I forgot to wash the underside, but it really didn't seem to make much of a difference given our quick re-delivery timeline.

In addition to the cleanliness of the washing stalls, I was also really impressed by the inside of the Agip station itself. For those of you near Philadelphia, imagine this place to be much like a full service Wawa, but just slightly nicer ***8211; have to admit, I'd still take an Italian pesto hoagie any day over the breakfast sandwich we had here. Between dinner from the other night and paying part of the lodging bill in cash, we had about 30 euro left to spend on breakfast and stocking stuffers.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15682451171" title="IMG_6765 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7466/15682451171_6dbb225daf.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6765"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15065013193" title="IMG_6773 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3945/15065013193_4ff1bd8330.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_6773"></a>

11:00 AM - Car wash and extended breakfast are all done. Threw in the address for loginout and sure enough the navigation system routed us to right to the northwest corner of terminal 2. FYI the door to enter loginout is somewhat hidden as it blends in with all the surrounding windows, but its along the north-facing wall of the building. Oh, remember that 335 that was flashing its lights at me? It was one of the ladies who work at loginout. She was trying to direct me to the exit she was getting off on because she thought we were lost trying to find loginout.

Anyways we handed over our packet of papers expecting to not see them again until we take re-delivery, but it seems they only needed a few of the papers in there and handed the rest back right away. Took one of our fobs and reminded us to remove the warning triangle and first aid kit (already packed). We were there for about 15 minutes and then that was it. Time to temporarily say goodbye to our 4GC that we had the pleasure of driving approximately 750 miles in. Parked along side an S class, a 535, and an M3. Also, in this picture farthest left "window" on the bottom row with "Service Markt" printed - that's the door to loginout.

Lastly, we headed over to airbrau which is the beer garden in Munich airport. They had an amazing meat/cheese appetizer that really hit the spot. Was pretty cold out so they had blankets available for everyone sitting outside - thought that was a nice touch. Drank our last 1L beers and then headed into the terminal to check in for our flight that afternoon. Mission accomplished.

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498986368" title="IMG_0919 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5603/15498986368_226462f834.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0919"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15685970372" title="IMG_0920 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7582/15685970372_0560938ac7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_0920"></a>
<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15498517129" title="IMG_6785 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7477/15498517129_c293a2149f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_6785"></a>
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Redelivery: Friday, November 7th
Total time for redelivery (accounting for daylight savings time): 34 days 9 hours 30 minutes 17.92 seconds ***8211; basically just shy of 3 million seconds.
Details of the re-delivery timeline are shown in my original post. Very impressive time to clear customs and the VPC, but not so impressive time to transport the car to my local dealer by the carrier (PTMG) ***8211; I must have been one of the first cars on truck. Nonetheless, I was incredibly happy to finally pick her up during my lunch time on Friday.

11:00 AM ***8211; My CA calls me and tells me that my car is ready for pickup ***8211; she had already setup BMW assist as well as the satellite radio ***8211; car just needed a quick wash. Arranged from a 12:30 PM pick-up time. Now, all I needed to do was get a quick approval from the wife and everything would be set.

12:20 PM ***8211; Did you really think I wouldn't be early to go pick up the car? Anyways, got to the dealership and immediately saw my car sitting out in front. That's the one great thing about estoril blue ***8211; it makes your car incredibly easy to find. Walked in and completely forgot I hadn't updated my insurance yet to include the new car. Unfortunately, I couldn't simply add the car online through Geico's website because the gran coupe isn't in their system (somehow?). Rather, I had to call them and get someone to add the car over the phone which took about 20 minutes. Nonetheless, everything was all set after that. They also happened to have the MSO on hand even though my car made it here relatively quickly ***8211; strong emphasis on the word relatively as each day still felt like a year to me. On a side note, from the loginout drop off to the dealer redelivery, various folks had the pleasure of driving this car a grand total of 7.9 miles.

Note that I did not have any signs or notes to save the Euro plates. Nonetheless, my rear plate was in the trunk and my front plate was still attached (obviously).

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15116985433" title="IMG_1003 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7515/15116985433_fca7546a3e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="IMG_1003"></a> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15736378315" title="IMG_1007 by dwlink435i, on Flickr"><img src="https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7566/15736378315_7806e68508.jpg" width="375" height="500" alt="IMG_1007"></a>

In terms of getting both cars back to our house, I simply parked my old car (530) in their lot, but happened to park it over by their section of used cars for sale. I just sold mine earlier this week with the buyer taking delivery on Saturday, however my "window sticker" was still on display so I figured given the location of the car on their lot ***8211; I should probably take it down so they don't accidentally try to sell it. Anyways, we went back by the dealer that evening to pick it up once we're both back home.

Closing Remarks
This experience was awesome! If you are at all considering buying or leasing a new BMW, I highly recommend it as long as you're capable of being patient. Signing of the purchase order to taking redelivery was exactly 4 months for us (July 7 to November 7) and that's on the quick side.

Being able to drive a nice car throughout Europe and also being able to just get up and go explore where and when you want is an extremely nice amenity to have. Depending on how long and how extravagant your trip is you can easily net out significantly less or significantly more than MSRP given that ED purchases can be had at a nice discount relative to a standard, US delivery purchase.

Lastly, we like to pass along our thanks to the sales and service team at Autohaus BMW, which is located just a few miles west of downtown St. Louis, for the great service we've received over our first year here and also the "un4gettable" sales experience we endured. We'd also like to give a very special thanks to Karen Lowery (our incredible CA) and Dan Wirick (our amazing SA who introduced us to Karen). You both have our friendship and business for many years to come ***8211; wife is due for an X5 in a few.
 

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Driving 'en Plein Air'
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How did I miss this thread :dunno: Great report and pictures :D
 

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Please forgive me for re-hatching an old thread but i was truly mesmerized by your ED experience. I wish to take the same experience !
 
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