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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My First ED & First M3! (Delivery August 24th) - Lots of photos (and teeth!)

Hello everyone!

After years of saving, planning, and, most importantly, garnering support from my amazing wife (I can already see her playfully teasing me for writing all of this), I am finally (or lucky to be) able to buy that amazing car - the F80 M3! Along with reaching out to board sponsors and other CAs recommended on this site, who are all very worth contacting for their polite, no-games approach, I was able to negotiate the best terms I could find with a local dealer in Charlotte who has ED experience :thumbup:. Now, being built on the week of August 8th is my very own F80 M3 in SOII with Black Extended Leather, DCT, Executive Package, and Black 437 M Wheels.

THE PLAN

I am scheduled to take delivery in Munich on August 24th, and I have enjoyed reading, learning from, and living vicariously through all of the ED journals on this site. I can only hope this thread evolves into something resembling any one of those. In any case, because I am obviously not yet able to share my ED experience, I thought I would start with my plans - which I have been shaping and reshaping for a couple of months now, and which are finally to the point where I think they are worth sharing. So, here goes nothing!

My wife and I will begin our journey on August 22nd. We are taking a business class flight from Charlotte, NC to Chicago, then Chicago to Heathrow, and finally from Heathrow to Munich. We feel business class is a must, because we will be flying overnight, and we need seats that we can sleep in. This way, we can hopefully defeat jet lag and enjoy Munich from the day we arrive, August 23rd! From there, our planned itinerary is as follows:

Day 1; August 23; Munich
After arriving in Munich around noon, the plan is to use the complimentary Sixt service to travel from the airport to our first hotel, the Leonardo Royal Hotel. We chose this hotel due to its proximity to the Welt and its multiple recommendations from other festers. We plan on exploring some popular spots in Munich this day, although plans are being left open to account for how we feel after the flight.

Day 2; August 24; Munich -> Meersburg
This is my delivery day! Check in is at 8:20 am, and delivery is at 9:50 am. We will walk to and have breakfast at the Welt before taking delivery. After delivery, depending on whether we already did this on the 23rd, we will tour the BMW Museum. We have the factor tour scheduled for 11:45, and we will try and have an early lunch beforehand in the premium lounge. Afterwards, our plans take us to Meersburg, a beautiful town on Lake Constance where my wife's family has traveled before and has highly recommended. On our way to Meersburg, however, we will visit and tour Neuschwanstein Castle (tickets will be pre-booked) and Hohenschwangau Castle. Depending on timing, we may also stop in Fussen and explore that area as well. In any case, after arriving in Meersburg we will check into our second hotel, Gasthof sum Baren. My wife's family stayed here during their trip, and it looks amazing. We will see what we can do in Meersburg with any time we have left in the day.

Day 3; August 25; Meersburg -> Triberg (day trip)
We will be staying in Meersburg for three nights and taking day trips from there. Our first day trip takes us to Triberg, the Black Forest, and Lake Titisee. We plan to spend the day exploring these areas and returning to Meersburg at night.

Day 4; August 26; Meersburg -> Tubingen (day trip)
This day still needs some fine tuning, but after our second night in Meersburg, we will take our second day trip to Tubingen, stopping along the way at Lichtenstein Castle. Depending on how long we stay in Tubingen, we may return to Meersburg that day and explore the town, including the Stilthouse Museum.

Day 5; August 27; Meersburg -> Wasserauen (day trip) -> Lindau
After our last night in Meersburg, it's off to Wasserauen, Switzerland, for a day of hiking in the beautiful Appenzellerland area. We will park in Wasserauen at the cable car that will take us to Ebenalp. From there, we are hiking on this general route: Berggasthaus Aescher > Schafler > Seealpsee > Wasserauen. After returning to the car, we will drive to Lindau, an island on Lake Constance, to stay the night at Hotel Garni Reulein (and to cut time off of our next trip).

Day 6; August 28; Lindau -> Salzburg
After breakfast in Lindau, we will travel to Salzburg, Austria. We plan to spend two days here exploring all of the popular Sound of Music spots and anything else we desire. As important, we are extremely excited about the B&B we are staying at: Die Haslachmühle. If any festers have any experience here, we would love to hear it. It comes highly recommended.

Day 7; August 29; Salzburg
Today we will plan to continue exploring Salzburg! Depending on timing, we will try and take a day trip to Hallstatt.

Day 8; August 30; Salzburg -> Berchtesgaden (day trip) -> Munich
On our final day :bawling:, we will leave Salzburg and explore Berchtesgaden and the Eagle's Nest. Following that, we will continue on to Munich and, depending on the time we have, explore anything we missed the first day. Our final night will be spent at Hotel im Hof, within walking distance of the Marienplatz and other hot spots (originally, this was going to be Hotel Uhland, but I was uncomfortable reserving my booking with credit card information via email or fax where it could be viewed/stored by anybody - they did mention they are working on an online booking option). If there is time, we will wash the car in preparation for drop off the next day.

Day 9; August 31; Munich -> USA
Our flight today will leave at noon, so we will have breakfast, wash the car if needed, and drop it off near the airport. A sad day indeed, but now it will be time to look forward to redelivery in the US!

That's the general idea ;). This will be my first time in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. If you all have any thoughts, suggestions, or recommendations, I would love to read them!

Did I mention my wife is amazing?!

THE EXECUTION

So we are back from our amazing ED adventure! The information and advice we received from this forum and its members was also invaluable to our trip's success, so a big thanks to everyone who has posted! After this experience, I (and my wife) are convinced, as many others have been, that the only way to buy your new BMW is through the ED program. Every minute was spectacular, and having our new car made every day on our vacation that much more enjoyable. I have done my best to capture the essence of our trip, below, but nothing can compare to the experience itself or the mark it leaves on you. Without further delay, here it goes!

(I am writing this piecemeal, so bear with me on delays - there are 8 days, in total, coming up!)

Day 1; August 22/23; USA -> Munich

Our first "day" was actually two, due to our flight between the Chicago and London going overnight. We were scheduled to fly from Charlotte to Chicago, Chicago to London, and, finally, London to Munich - a total flying time of about 10 hours. Despite the two layovers ahead of us and the total length of travel, we were really looking forward to the experience. Why? Because this was the first time we were flying business class and, having been in coach our entire lives, were excited for the upgrade!

We arrived at the airport in CLT around noon for our 2 pm flight. The flight time was actually very convenient, because it allowed us some flexibility to prepare for the flights the day of. We had a minor hiccup and check-in because the kiosk would not read my passport, and we had to wait in the customer service line for about 45 minutes to be helped. Fortunately, after that everything at the airport went very smoothly. The flight to Chicago was quick and effortless. The longest flight, from Chicago to London, was where business class really shined! British Airways was our host for the flight, and the service we received was top notch and the 747 seats were great. Our anniversary is September 14th (3 years!), and we decided that, along with all the other reasons for the trip, this would also be part of our anniversary celebration. This got us some extra special treatment on the flight to London - in the form of first-class's champagne! As some advice, be sure you over-photograph your trip - even the smallest memories are fun to look back on, and my wife did an awesome job of documenting everything. We ended up using our phones for most of the photos because of their ease of use and because my DSLR became a burden during all of the hiking!

The documentation begins immediately upon our arrival at the airport!


We enjoyed the complimentary food and drinks at the business class lounge, a first for both of us!


Loving our business class seats - and endless drink menu - in 19A and 19B of the Boeing 747.





We finally landed in Munich around noon. Munich is six hours ahead of EST, so in EST time we had been traveling from noon on the 22nd to 6am on the 23rd, about 18 hours and, despite the fully reclining seats, did not get much sleep on the plane. Nonetheless, we were too excited to miss a whole day in Munich! After getting our bags, we were greeted at the airport by our Sixt driver who would take us to our first hotel, the Leonardo Royal Hotel - which is located one stop U-Bahn stop from the Welt and about 5 U-bahn stops from Odeonsplatz in downtown Munich. We hopped in his 7 series and took off toward our first destination. For those who do not know, ED participants can schedule one complimentary Sixt driver service, and most people use it to either get to their hotel from the airport or get to the Welt from their hotel. If you want to use Sixt to get from the airport to your hotel, all you need to do is email them with your flight information, production number, and mobile phone number, and they will be there to pick you up when you arrive! This service was some serious stress relief for us, because once we landed we had no need to worry about how we would get to our next destination, and after we made it to the hotel we could easily use the U-Bahn to get around. After checking in, we went straight to the U-Bahn station near our hotel - Oberwiesenfeld. Buying tickets was easy with a credit card (be sure to set up a pin for your card, which is required at a lot of these types of payment stations in Germany), but the pricing was a little confusing for us not used to this form of public transportation. The stations are located in certain "zones," each with a color. The ticket you have to purchase depends on (1) the number of stops and (2) whether you are going through multiple zones. Fortunately, all of our travel was in a single zone, so we only had to determine ticket price based on the number of stops - one zone with four or less stops is the cheapest ticket, and one zone with more than four stops is the next best option we found. In any case, after you buy your ticket be sure to get it stamped at the automated kiosk, which was "tickets" and is usually near the stairs down to the train. We were never checked for tickets, but I have read there is a flat 40 Euro fine for not having the proper, stamped ticket!

Our Hotel - the only the entire trip that had A/C!


Our first time using the U-Bahn system, and boarding at Oberwiesenfeld near the hotel.

When we arrived in Odeonsplatz a few stops later, we immediately began exploring all of the places I had listed on the itinerary. I did not expect to be able to hit them all in just half of a day, but we did! That luck allowed us some added flexibility on our last day of vacation (which was also in Munich). Here is generally where we went:

1. Odeonsplat: Here, we exited the U-Bahn station and fully realized we were on this great adventure.
2. Marienplatz: Here, we gawked at the Neues Rathaus and the glockenspiel, along with other great architecture. Right around the corner was St. Peter's Church, our next destination.
3. St. Peter's Church: Here, we paid the 6 euro fee to climb the tower, which has some of the best views Munich has to offer. The climb is approximately 300 steps, and is a little challenging but totally worth it. The area up top is tight, so prepare to be patient waiting as others are taking photos and enjoying the view too.
4. Viktualienmarkt: One of the "must see places" in most guide books, this area is a large outdoor market with a spectacular shaded beer garden. Here is where we got our first taste of German beer and the really face-paced and interesting way beer is ordered in these areas.
5. Englischer Garten: A beautiful area covering a number of acres where you can watch people surfing on the river running through it. This place also has its own beer garden, and there were a number of young adults around - along with ourselves - enjoying the sun and the water.
6. Hofbrauhaus: Another must see place, although for us it was not as exciting or interesting as it had been hyped up to be. The Viktualienmarkt and its beer garden felt much more authentic and fun. Nonetheless, we enjoyed beers together here and took it all in.
7. Sendlinger Tor: Not a major stop, but a good place for a photo op and near Asam Church as well.
8. Asam Church: Another of the less popular places to visit, but beautiful nonetheless.

We probably stumbled upon a handful of other places not on the itinerary during our tour, but those were the most notable ones that I recall! After a lot of walking, we had worked up quite an appetite. We stumbled upon a cool restaurant, the Kleinschmecker, just south of the Marienplatz. The food was unique and really tasty, and we were lucky enough to meet the young, enthusiastic owner. Afterwards, it was pretty late and with an 8:30 check-in time at the Welt the following morning, we decided to head back to the hotel and rest up for the exciting delivery day to come!



The popular attraction Neues Rathaus in the Marienplatz.


This is a great example of the blue signs identifying the various U-Bahn stations.


The fantastic view from St. Peter's church - the scene behind us was also nice :)


The Viktualienmarkt


Enjoying our first beers in Germany at the Viktualienmarkt beer garden!


A bird in the tree above decided to leave a present on my back, although the local couple sitting beside us said it was good luck. Based on how great the trip was, I would agree!


We stumbled upon a park and my wife had to conquer this rope tower before we continued on!


Our first dinner in Germany, at the Kleinschmecker.



Day 2; August 24; Munich -> Meersburg


Wow! That was only the first day, and there was so much more to come. Unlike some of my fellow ED'ers, I slept like a baby the night before delivery day, although that was likely due to having been up for 30+ hours. On the other hand, just like my fellow ED'ers, I woke up full of excitement! Our check in time was 8:20 and delivery was scheduled for 9:50. Due to some trouble choosing outfits (we had planned to dress up, then decided against it and went comfortable/casual), we arrive a little later than planned - around 8:40. Nonetheless, it didn't seem to matter, and we were greeted warmly by the ED lounge representative, who took us back to her desk and spent about 15 minutes with us filling out paperwork. Moreover, they said if we wanted, we could take delivery early at 9:10 - and of course we agreed! As we headed to the lounge buffet for a quick breakfast, I was lucky enough to catch my car being pulled up to the delivery spot right at the bottom of the stairs. This was when it really hit me that today I was getting the car, and I could not stop smiling. At 9:10 we met our delivery specialist, Tobias, and took delivery, an experience that was very special and one of the highlights of the trip. Everything was perfect. I even got Tobias to take a photo of us that I had been planning for sometime - a recreation of one of my favorite photos from our wedding day!











Been planning this photo for a long time!

After delivery, we had about 1.5 hours to kill, so we valeted the car and sauntered on over to the museum. On the way, we met a nice couple and asked them to take our photo. We found out later that we had met Nati, a fellow forum member who I had planned to meet at the factor tour later that day! The museum was interesting, but nothing compared to the factory tour. Definitely worth the two hours. After the tour, we rushed to get the car and to drive to Neuschwanstein - we had a tour appointment in less than two hours. Unfortunately, I was under the impression we could drive up closer to the castle, but DO NOT TRY THIS! You will awkwardly be driving through crowds of people only to be turned around shortly thereafter by a guard. Instead, you need to park near the bottom of the hill up to the castle in town - which is where the ticket office is anyway - and hike 20-30 min up the hill to the castle. Due to this unforeseen circumstance, we were not going to make our pre-booked tour. We quickly made it through the pre-booked ticket line, however, and were able to book the last tour of the day - at 6:30. This was a blessing in disguise, because it allowed us time to have lunch - which we had not had time to eat yet - partway up the hill. The castle was really cool, and the tour was worth it but not as long or in-depth as I thought it would be. Afterward, we hiked around behind the castle to a bridge with beautiful views, I believe it's called Mary's Bridge. This is by far one of the best spots to see the castle and great views below. If you can, I would advise going here before noon because by the time we arrived in the evening, the sun was behind the castle and it washed out our photos. After getting our fill of the Castle and surrounding countryside, we proceeded on to our next destination, Meersburg, where we would spend the next two days! It was pretty late, we hadn't had dinner, and we arrived in Meersburg around 10:00 pm. We hastily searched for an open restaurant and found what I think was probably the last restaurant open in the area (failed to document the name). It turned out to be great, and we were happy to have some food and a beer after the long day!





The classic photo spot (I think - we didn't bring a good reference!)

Day 3; August 25; Meersburg -> Triberg (day trip)


While in Meersburg, we stayed at the Gasthof zum Baren, where my wife and her family had stayed around 10 years ago on their trip to Germany. I would definitely recommend this place if you decide to stay on the Bodensee during your travels! For day 1 in Meersburg, we planned a day trip to Triberg and Titisee. There are some pretty great driving roads in this area, and for those of us who didn't have time to hit the Alpenstrasse (this guy!), it was a great alternative. Triberg is a fun little town known for its cuckoo clocks and waterfalls. We got there pretty early and had no trouble parking in the 3 large lots they have for visitors. The weather, as with almost every day on our trip, was perfect!

The Gasthof zum Baren in Meersburg - Amazing!


House of 1000 Clocks in Triberg




Views for days. My wife, who works in the renewables industry, loved seeing all of the solar and wind farms - including the one in the background of this photo!


We really enjoyed stopped and taking in the views at this field on the way to Titisee - although my ankle brushed some stinging nettles and that was not pleasant!




After Triberg, we drove to Titisee - a drive that was very rewarding and highly recommended for its winding roads and nice views! Once we arrived, we started a hike around the lake, with the goal of hiking the entire thing. Unfortunately, when we made it about halfway around, we had trouble finding a trail around the second half. We asked someone at the nearby campground for help, and she confirmed what we feared, there was no true way to hike around. We had run low on water by this time and purchased some more from the campground; however, despite our best efforts to confirm that it was "sans gas", we received carbonated water which is the standard in Germany, but to me, and especially my wife, it's hard to stomach. To top things off, we stopped at another area and had the exact same experience! Well, a little thirsty, we decided to hike back around the first half of the lake and consider it the equivalent of having hiked the entire lake! Afterwards, we were exhausted, so we got in the car and headed back to Meersburg for dinner.

For dinner, my wife had planned for us to eat at a restaurant overlooking the water that she and her family had enjoyed on their visit around 10 years ago - Gutsschänke. Unfortunately, it was full for dinner so we had to find another place. We had no trouble stumbling upon another place to eat outside, although without the water view - Alte Bank. This place was great and we enjoyed the food. Moreover, during our dinner a traveling group of craftsmen arrived, caught everyone's attention, and began telling their story and purpose. This was, of course, all in German and we had no idea what they were saying; however, we knew something was up because the other guests were nodding their heads and reaching for coins. Luckily, our dinner neighbors noted our confusion and explained to us what was happening. These men were carpenters who finished their apprenticeship and were now tasked with traveling for 3 years, never going within 50 km of their homes. They were there to collect money as they continued their journey. It was a memorable experience, and they were nice enough to take a photo with us (we also gave a donation!).

After dinner, we made it back to Gutsschanke and were able to get a table for dessert. We enjoyed our time eating dessert and taking in the view as the sun set, and then returned home to prepare for our next day!


Preparing to hike around ****ee


The traveling carpenters!



[A LOT] MORE TO COME!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Day 4; August 26; Meersburg (biking day)

This day we had our first change in plans - for the better I think. We had originally planned (as you can see in "THE PLAN"), to go north to Tubingen and Lichtenstein Castle. This trip would probably take most of the day, including about 4 hours of driving. After evaluating the night before, we decided to call an audible and, instead, enjoy Meersburg and the Bodensee for the day. In the morning, we rented bikes from a flower shop in town - yes, the flower shop also rented bikes! We hopped on and started east from Meersburg toward Friedrichshafen. It took us most of the morning and afternoon to get to Friedrichshafen, but the ride was great, and the views endless! Once we arrived in Friedrichshafen, we had a dilemma. The ride back would be more difficult, and we only had about 3 hours before it was time to return the bikes. Fortunately, the town was a ferry stop and we were able to get ferry tickets back to Meersburg (the ferry's have no problem with you bringing bikes, for an additional fee). The benefit of the ferry was that we made it back to Meersburg with bike rental time to spare, so we started west, and enjoyed a short ride past fields of sunflowers before turning back to return the bikes. After returning the bikes, we tried a new restaurant (I forgot to document the name), which had a pretty good view but was probably our least favorite of the Meersburg trip. We ended our day by returning to the hotel, ordering dessert (they also have a restaurant), and updating our journal on the day's events!



The garage provided by the Baren - SOMM3R (I named my car that day!) loved it





Day 5; August 27; Meersburg -> Wasserauen -> Lindau

This day was one of my favorites! We woke up early, full of excitement, because today we were heading to Appenzellerland, in Switzerland, for a hike through the beautiful mountains. If anyone has a need to fill a day during their ED, I would absolutely recommend doing this hike. Additionally, to save time and effort, be sure to purchase online all of the vignettes for the countries you will be visiting (for us, it was Switzerland and Austria). Anyway, before I get into the hiking, I have to share a cow story because it was probably my most stressful time of the trip (keep in mind we were on vacation, to stress levels were at an all time low throughout!). We were almost to our destination, Wasserauen, when we came upon a line of stopped cars. As we sat there waiting, we noticed men leading a herd of cows down our side of the street, unnervingly close to the cars. I have been known to stress about my car, and my wife immediately began recording as my stress level rocketed, and I prepared the worst (i.e. damage) as the cows came closer and closer to where we were stopped. As they passed, each cow seemed to get a bit closer to the car. Finally, one of the cows plowed through my mirror (fortunately it was just popped in). Not to be outdone, another cow decided that instead of walking parallel to the cars with the others, she would weave between each parked car and check out the drivers over the hood, before continuing on. This cow, with a metal collar dangling dangerously low around its neck, walked right up to my hood, shook its head, and continued on - leaving a nice amount of drool on the car and, fortunately, not hitting the car with the collar. Whew! The video of the cow incident is below, showing the hilarious contrast between my stressing out and my wife's laughter...:)


The Cow Incident (with a bit of cursing, so NSFW)
https://vimeo.com/186501405

The only visible "damage" from the cow incident, thankfully!

Getting past the cows, we soon arrived at our destination, Wasserauen. We changed into our hiking gear and headed to the nearby lift, which would take us up the mountain to Ebenalp, the starting point of our hike. When we arrived at Ebenalp, my jaw dropped at the sheer beauty and vastness of the views. Easily the most expansive we had the entire trip. Our hike took us from Ebenalp to Aescher to Seealpsee and then back to Wasserauen. We stopped and enjoyed each of these places along the way, but, in my opinion, the best place by far was Seealpsee. It's a beautiful lake down the mountain surrounded by mountains. It's hard, if not impossible, to describe all of the views we were lucky enough to enjoy, but hopefully these photos help!

Two booties!


At the top of Ebenalp - thinking "WOW!"


Aescher


Seealpsee - OH...MY...GOD





After hiking our legs numb, we stumbled to the car and drove from Wasserauen to our evening destination, Lindau. We decided not to stay in Wasserauen, and instead drive an additional hour to Lindau, so that we could cut our trip to Salzburg the next day. As it turned out, Lindau was very pretty and, although we did not have time to really embrace it, we had a nice dinner in town and returned to a great view at our hotel.

View from our Lindau hotel
Day 6; August 28; Lundau-> Salzburg

We woke up early the next morning and continued on to Salzburg. We booked a two nights stay at a beautiful B&B (a recently rennovated mill) - Die Haslachmühle - located in the hills of Salzburg overlooking the city. It was the best place we stayed at the entire trip and the owners were great people, so I am highly recommending it here. You will not be disappointed! When we arrived, one of the owners was waiting at the door to greet us and give us a tour. Once we were checked in, we took the car into town (less than a 5 minute drive), and parked in a deck built into a mountain! We had a quick lunch and began exploring Salzburg. A fellow member on another forum recommended that I surprise my wife with a love lock on the bridge of locks in Salzburg, so I convinced her to go to the bridge with me, even thought it was out of the way of our planned destination, and surprised her. It was one of the best moments of our trip. Afterward, we continued exploring Salzburg. I was amazed at how beautiful Salzburg was and how much it had to offer in terms of the views and places to see - definitely our favorite city of the trip. We visited destinations including Mozart's home, Mirabell palace and gardens, St. Peters Church and catacombs, Nonnberg Abbey, and Hohensalzburg Castle. Hohensalzburg was the most memorable for me. It overlooks Salzburg and the hike to get up to is never ending, but worth it. You can freely explore the grounds and there are open exhibits throughout. However, if you go, definitely take the audio tour because it is full of interesting information about the fortress. After touring most of the attractions you can talk to in Salzburg, we hiked to a restaurant recommended by our B&B owner as one of the best restaurants for a view in Salzburg, Die Statdalm. There, we found a pretty good seat outside, but were lucky enough, due to my wife's persistence, to soon after snag a seat right up front with an amazing view.

Pulling up to the B&B


Parking deck built into the mountain


Our love lock!






Our friends were in Italy during our trip, and we had a drink location battle - this was our submission from Die Statdalm!


Day 7; August 29; Salzburg (Wolfgangsee and Eagles Nest)

This was the only overcast and rainy day we had the entire trip. If we had to choose one day for that type of weather, this day would be it. Our plan (which had changed from our original plan) took us in two opposite directions - first Wolfgangsee and second Berchtesgaden. Finishing off our Sound of Music destinations was Wolfgangsee - the flyover area at the beginning of the movie. This area is beautiful, and if you take the cable car (or hike) up the to top of the mountain overlooking the lake, you will discover amazing views of many other lakes separated by mountains scattered throughout the area. I say the overcast weather this day was ok, because we had already taken in such great views at Appenzell and thus did not feel cheated by missing out on perfect weather here. Truthfully, I am a little embarrassed to say that by this point of the trip I started getting a little numb to beautiful views - they were everywhere!


Overlooking Wolfgangsee




After Wolfgangsee, we headed the opposite direction to Oberwiesenfeld to tour the Eagle's Nest. The driving to the area where we would take the bus to the Eagle's Nest was nice and I'm glad we decided to make the trip, despite the bad weather. In fact, although it was raining and we were not very well equipped for the wet weather, we decided to hike as high as we could outside of the Eagle's Nest. This resulted in a frightening event. As my wife and I were hiking up, alone due to the rain, I felt the pressure around me change and almost immediately after a massive crack of thunder that felt like it was all around us. At this point, we threw caution to the wind and bounded back down to a safer elevation - fortunately without any injuries! Back inside, we were pretty disappointed with how little there was to tour. Luckily, a guided English language tour was passing by and we were able to listen in. This made the Eagle's Nest substantially more enjoyable, and I would recommend booking a tour if you go, because the Eagle's Nest is otherwise relatively not engaging. This is because, as we learned in the tour, the local government wanted to preserve the fort for tourism but did not want to glorify its dark history. Therefore, the Eagle's Nest is now maintained as a privately contracted restaurant. Interesting, huh?


The winding, wooded roads on the way to the Eagle's Nest


Out back of the Eagle's Nest


Hiking, right before the thunder


Despite the weather, we enjoyed some great views


These doors - two sets - protected the main entrance to the Eagle's Nest so effectively (along with an elevator to the top) that when US troops took the fort, they did so by climbing up the backside of the mountain.


This pizza, from L'Osteria in Salzburg, was amazing!


Saying goodbye to our B&B. Until next time!


Day 8; August 30; Salzburg -> Eisriesenwelt -> Munich

This day we decided to try something unique. We checked out of our hotel and drove south from Salzburg to Eisriesenwelt - claimed to be the largest ice cave in the world. To access the caves, you drive to a parking lot in Werfen and take a bus, specially designed to traverse up the mountain, to the ice cave ticket center. This part feels a bit touristy and makes you a bit concerned for how the excursion with turn out, but do not despair because this trip is worth it! Once you arrive at the ticket center, you have the opportunity to either hike for approximately 1.5 hours up to the cave, or take a cable car up and hike, instead, for about 20 minutes up to the cave. We chose the latter - and were glad of it. While riding the cable car up we caught glimpses of the 1.5 hour hiking trail, and it looked extremely treacherous. After the cable car, we began the final stretch up to the cave. This portion of the trip was filled with beautiful views, and it confirmed for us that this excursion was worth it. We had great weather this day and during the hike up it got quite warm; however, once you reach the mouth of the cave, the temperature unexpectedly drops to freezing! We had packed cold weather gear for the "spelunking" we were about to do, but we could have packed more, and I should emphasize that you cannot overdress for this part. Treat it like you are about to walk through a freezer for an hour, because you are. After changing, we walked up to the "English" speaking tour line, our group was kerosene lanterns, and we entered the cave. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to take pictures of the interior (for reasons unknown), but the ice monuments in the cavern were breathtaking and one of the most unique sights I had ever seen. The tour lasts for about an hour, has about 10 different stops throughout the cave, and you get a lot of interesting information from the guide during that time. If you have time on your own trip, I would absolutely recommend this excursion!



A taste of the views you get on the hike to the cave


The cave in the backbroung


The entrance to the cave gives you an idea of how to dress


After enjoying the ice caves, it was time to return to Munich for our final evening in Germany. We arrived at our hotel, Hotel Im Hof, in the afternoon and were concerned because it did not look like the hotel had any parking available! To our surprise, the owners took us outside and proceeded to raise an additional two parking spaces that had been hidden underground. Talk about secure parking for the M3! After getting situated, we rented bikes from the hotel and, because we did not get an opportunity to explore the Olypiapark during our first visit to Munich, took off to explore the area. The park was pretty, but it was also a little eerie riding past the abandoned ticket lines and other unused areas. After the park, we had dinner at an Italian restaurant that was highly recommended by the hotel, and it was very good (although, true to form, I do not remember the name). Anyways, after dinner we returned to the hotel, a little bummed that we would be leaving in the morning.

About to tuck the M3 into the very cool underground parking structure at Hotel Im Hof


At Olympiapark


Day 9; August 31; Munich -> USA
This was not really a vacation day, but the day we had to reluctantly leave Germany and return home. We had mapped out a car wash near our hotel, but when we arrived I scoped it out and it was not touchless. No way was I putting the car through a 90s style carwash that would certainly end up marring my paint! Instead, we vaccumed out the interior and took the car - dirty exterior and all - to LoginOut which is conveniently located at the Munich airport. Upon dropping off the car and filling out the final paperwork, we were able to pay (40 euro - ugh) to have the car washed at LoginOut. At least this is a helpful FYI for those who are stressing about getting their car washed before leaving. Afterwards, I gave the car a final hug and we headed to our terminal for the long flight home. What an amazing experience - the post-vacation blues are hitting hard!

Until we meet again!

September 29 - Redelivery

I dropped the car off in Munich on August 31st. My research indicated it would take an about 45 days for redelivery, so I prepared myself for the long wait. Like most EDers, I tracked the car daily, and was excited to see it made landfall in Baltimore on the 23rd! My CA, Michael Dickerson, notified me the next day that the expected redelivery date was September 29 - almost 15 days earlier than anticipated! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but it was hard not to. Then, at 3pm on the 29th, me CA sent me a message that the car had arrived!!!! I got the ok to leave work a little early and drove from my office in Greensboro to my dealer in Charlotte. I was so happy to get the car early and only 29 days after drop off. From what I have read, that it extremely fast and I am definitely very lucky!

Shoutout to Michael Dickerson at Hendrick BMW Charlotte for a great first ED experience!


A big thank you to the forum and its members for all of the great ED reads and advice. I hope you enjoyed the journal, and I plan to update and refine this thread so stay tuned!

-Adam​
 

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I like your itinerary. Spending multiple nights in one location and doing day trips from that location is the way to do it.

One suggestion: On Day 6 when you drive from Lindau to Salzburg I recommend that you take the Alpenstrasse from Fussen to Salzburg - or at least some part of the Alpenstrasse between Fussen and Salzburg. Great views of the Alps, pretty lakes and cute little towns. The Alpenstrasse is particularly scenic between Fussen and Salzburg - not so beautiful between Lindau and Fussen.

The Alpenstrasse is an easy drive but not as fast as the autobahn. If the weather is miserable (rain, fog, or mist) and it's unlikely that you will be able to see the Alps then I would skip the Alpenstrasse as the whole reason for taking it is/are the views.
 

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i like your itinerary. Spending multiple nights in one location and doing day trips from that location is the way to do it.

One suggestion: On day 6 when you drive from lindau to salzburg i recommend that you take the alpenstrasse from fussen to salzburg - or at least some part of the alpenstrasse between fussen and salzburg. Great views of the alps, pretty lakes and cute little towns. The alpenstrasse is particularly scenic between fussen and salzburg - not so beautiful between lindau and fussen.

The alpenstrasse is an easy drive but not as fast as the autobahn. If the weather is miserable (rain, fog, or mist) and it's unlikely that you will be able to see the alps then i would skip the alpenstrasse as the whole reason for taking it is/are the views.
+1
 

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Congrats! I am awaiting the same delivery day confirmation! actually am planning the exact same dates as you are. 440i CV, hope for good news tomorrow.
 

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Exciting! If my plans work out, my delivery day will be the day before - August 23 - for my 230i. : )

Cutting it close because our flight home is the next day, but that's what it took to get a CarPlay build.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I like your itinerary. Spending multiple nights in one location and doing day trips from that location is the way to do it.

One suggestion: On Day 6 when you drive from Lindau to Salzburg I recommend that you take the Alpenstrasse from Fussen to Salzburg - or at least some part of the Alpenstrasse between Fussen and Salzburg. Great views of the Alps, pretty lakes and cute little towns. The Alpenstrasse is particularly scenic between Fussen and Salzburg - not so beautiful between Lindau and Fussen.

The Alpenstrasse is an easy drive but not as fast as the autobahn. If the weather is miserable (rain, fog, or mist) and it's unlikely that you will be able to see the Alps then I would skip the Alpenstrasse as the whole reason for taking it is/are the views.
Thank you for the suggestion! I am definitely going to take your advice and see what route I can come up with. I'll try and get your input afterward.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Exciting! If my plans work out, my delivery day will be the day before - August 23 - for my 230i. : )

Cutting it close because our flight home is the next day, but that's what it took to get a CarPlay build.
Nice! Do you have an opportunity to travel beforehand?
 

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As a nice surprise for your wife, considering bringing a "love lock" to lock to the Makartsteg pedestrian bridge in Salzburg. :thumb:
 

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Great suggestion...I will absolutely do this and I owe you one!
Thanks! I ordered a nicely engraved one from makelovelocks.com and then hid it in my luggage. I surprised her with it on the bridge. The idea is you lock it to the bridge and then toss the key in the river (you can skip this part if that offends your environmental senses). We then took some photos. It was a lot of fun, and a cool memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks! I ordered a nicely engraved one from makelovelocks.com and then hid it in my luggage. I surprised her with it on the bridge. The idea is you lock it to the bridge and then toss the key in the river (you can skip this part if that offends your environmental senses). We then took some photos. It was a lot of fun, and a cool memory.
Cool, definitely a fun idea my wife will love! Thanks for the engraving recommendation.

I like your itinerary. Spending multiple nights in one location and doing day trips from that location is the way to do it.

One suggestion: On Day 6 when you drive from Lindau to Salzburg I recommend that you take the Alpenstrasse from Fussen to Salzburg - or at least some part of the Alpenstrasse between Fussen and Salzburg. Great views of the Alps, pretty lakes and cute little towns. The Alpenstrasse is particularly scenic between Fussen and Salzburg - not so beautiful between Lindau and Fussen.

The Alpenstrasse is an easy drive but not as fast as the autobahn. If the weather is miserable (rain, fog, or mist) and it's unlikely that you will be able to see the Alps then I would skip the Alpenstrasse as the whole reason for taking it is/are the views.
Having some trouble making a good route through the Alpenstrasse without adding 2 or 3 hours to the trip. Do you have any routes you can share?
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
ED Packet Came Today!

So after not receiving my packet for a few weeks, I reached out to my CA to see what was causing the delay. He promptly contacted BMW and they sent out a replacement packet, which arrived today via Second Day Air. Thanks Michael! :thumbup:

Apparently the first packet was sent, but it never arrived so who know what happened :dunno:. In any case, here are its contents in case anyone is interested:

The Packet


Packet Opened


Welcome Letter - Country restrictions (EU only) might need some updating after Brexit ;)


Program Guide


Hotel, Flight, and Drop Off Information


Bag Tags


That's it!
 

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Thanks! I ordered a nicely engraved one from makelovelocks.com and then hid it in my luggage. I surprised her with it on the bridge. The idea is you lock it to the bridge and then toss the key in the river (you can skip this part if that offends your environmental senses). We then took some photos. It was a lot of fun, and a cool memory.
Awesome! I am planning to seeing Salzburg and I will surprise my wife with this idea!:thumbup:
 

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Thanks! I ordered a nicely engraved one from makelovelocks.com and then hid it in my luggage. I surprised her with it on the bridge. The idea is you lock it to the bridge and then toss the key in the river (you can skip this part if that offends your environmental senses). We then took some photos. It was a lot of fun, and a cool memory.
Great idea ordering an engraved one! We bought a red combination lock so as not to toss a key into the river. It's quite different, and we know exactly where it is. It was definitely a cool memory.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Great idea ordering an engraved one! We bought a red combination lock so as not to toss a key into the river. It's quite different, and we know exactly where it is. It was definitely a cool memory.
Hey, I can actually see it! I just ordered mine thanks to Gator's advice. Mine is red which, based on your pic, is a popular choice. I will have to be sure to add something to it so it's more noticeable. First, I have to be sure to intercept the package!
 
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