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Ok, here is the story of our ED Trip.

First, I want to thank all the bimmerfest members who helped me along the way, including but not limited to:

Adrian for leasing us the car at such a fantastic deal. Adrian, you were pleasant to work with, you gave us a great, no haggle deal and I highly recommend you (depending, of course, on how soon you truck the ride back to us!)

Beewang for renting us the European Navigation DVD. We could not have done it without the nav. Bee was fast, efficient and cheap. By all means if you are considering nav, rent from Bee.

LDV330, Iversonm, Mullman BayAreaBMWFan, Jspira and many others who answered all my dumb questions, offered advice and helped me learn all about ED leasing.

General impressions of ED:

Driving in Europe was more difficult than I expected. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but the signage was crazy in some places. The speeds were moderate for the most part. Strange having tiny little underpowered cars and super high performance porsches, etc. sharing the road.

On and off ramps on autobahh/autostrada were *very* short. I almost met my maker once: a tiny little Fiat was in front of us, we were both entering the Abahn. I could see a few semi-trucks approaching in the right lane in my rearview mirror. We had plenty of power to merge safely, however, the Fiat did not and decided to come to a complete stop at the very end of the merge lane. Is this normal? I saw it on many, many occasions in Germany and Italy. I thought about cutting into the left lane but there was a stream of traffic, so I had to stop along with him.

Italian drivers were dangerous. Speeding up in tunnels (i.e. going from 100 to 130mph), straddling lanes and serious tailgating, quickly approaching from behind and slamming on brakes a few feet from rear bumper, etc. These are just things I observed, not experienced for the most part. I was comfortable, I think I am a very good driver and I am comfortable at triple digit speeds all day long.

The fastest we drove was on the autostrada from Venice to Florence, sustained speeds of around 115mph behind a 911.

Gas stations and rest stops kinda suck. I saw, on many occasions, lines at gas stations that were literally backing up the exits on the A-strada. Very dangerous IMO. Plus parking was a mess, some had no spots, or just helter skelter. I thought it was strange that I could not “pay at the pump” with a CC. Everyone has to actually enter the station, wait in line behind 10 other people and pay with a CC there (or cash). What a waste of time. This is strange and inefficient to me, because you can pay all the tolls with CC and I saw many Europeans doing this.

Ice cubes are at a super premium, it is amusing. I have heard this and was not surprised.

I knew we had to walk a ton, but I underestimated how much.

I was surprised at how small the Abahn/A-strada were, two lanes per side in most places I drove. Although the roads were super smooth, twisty and ultra fast. The tunnels were a blast, “tube” looking tunnels thru the mountains, twisty with people driving quite fast thru them.

The trip:


I couldn’t swing a good deal on the 2/1 Lufthansa so we flew Delta into Munich. Flight was long, it has been quite some time since I spent that much time in an airplane. Nothing exciting here, all I can say is airplane food has not improved since my last trip. I ordered a few Tanquery & tonics to put myself in a coma so I could sleep.

Munich airport was not as large as I expected, but we only saw a very small part. We hired Rolf to pick us up. Our flight was about 1 hour late, Rolf was there waiting patiently. He is the man. He is very knowledgeable and helpful. Following are some pictures of us loading luggage into Rolf’s 3 series wagon and driving to ED center.

One interesting note, Rolf asked if we were “rich” since we were getting an X3. He thought it was a very expensive vehicle. I got the impression he has no idea of what these vehicles can be leased for, taking into account the ED savings, etc. etc. Apparently Rolf thinks we are paying “full price” for these vehicles, or at least that is the impression I got. I didn’t discuss the specifics of our deal.

The food at the ED Center was good. Jenny was there and she was looking fine. Pickup was easy and straightforward. We waited about ½ hour and unexpectedly met another bimmerfest member and his girlfriend while waiting. (brimuo I think). (I didn’t see his name on the pickup list here).

Here are some pictures of pickup.

My wife was afraid to drive her new X3 out of the narrow garage door, so she made me do it.
 

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