BimmerFest BMW Forum banner
1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Object of Desire:
2006 Silver Gray Metallic 650i Convertible w/ Black Dakota Leather Interior
Options: Active Steering, Sport Pkg, Comfort Access, HD Radio, Cold Weather Pkg

July 10 - July 25, 2006

Munich: 2 Days
We flew a red eye directly into Munich and decided to spend a day visiting the city rather than heading straight to the delivery center (this way we could show up early rather than later in the day: previous experience revealed it's much nicer and less hectic this way). We stayed at the Platzl Hotel right across from the HB and had an enjoyable day acclimating ourselves to Bavaria. The next morning we checked out and, after breakfast, journeyed by taxi to the ED center.

Delivery Center:
There were a few folks already there when we arrived (a mother & daughter picking up a 3er and a whole family taking delivery of a 7er). We hung out in the cafe; whilst they were prepping the car but didn't have long to wait.

Bernhard is the man. While going over the paperwork, he asked about our journey and the roads we planned to take. He actually suggested alternate autobahn routes to get us on three-lane ones with less traffic that would afford us the opportunity to really stretch the legs of the car. We also asked about purchasing a wind screen for the back seat and he told us it was no longer possible at the DC but there was a dealership (or rather, THE dealership) five minutes down the road.

Bernhard also gave us one of the ED's Europe nav disk as I had left ours back in the States (how pissed was I when I discovered that?). Luckily, we knew where our disk was and e-mailed my mother-in-law who was watering the plants back home and had her FedEx it to him the next day.

Bernhard then transitioned us to a very sweet girl name Christiani to review the vehicle. She was originally assigned to advise the family with the 7er, but felt more comfortable with the 6 so they swapped. She took us to the floor (my wife calls it the 'nursery') and we had her focus primarily on the iDrive since this is our first time with this option. Keys, locks, controls: the usual stuff (she got a real kick out of my referring to the automatic air circulation button as the 'Bavarian Countryside Button'). After 20 minutes of familiarization we loaded up, plugged in the iPod, punched Stuttgart into the nav and were off (after a quick stop at the mother of all BMW dealerships to pick up a wind deflector).

Stuttgart: 3 Days.
On our way to Stuttgart we were able to stretch the legs of the car for the first time. It was challenging because of all the truck traffic, but we were able to reach a peak speed of 140 mph. With the top down. Average cruising speed was probably around to 90 mph.

We visited friends in a Stuttgart suburb and had originally planned on staying just one night, but they convinced us to stay longer. We visited the local biergartens and took a day trip to Rothenburg (which we're pretty sure is where they filmed Shrek... oh, wait)...

Bodensee: 1/2 Day.

On our way from Stuttgart to Innsbruck we stopped for lunch in Lindau on Lake Bodensee. There's a blimp factory nearby and we were able to see one hanging in the air over the lake. Leaving there we encountered a hail storm with ice chunks the size of acorns (!!!). We sheltered under an overpass until it let up so luckily there was no damage but lots of leaves, twigs and other crap all over the car. We pulled into a gas station to clean them off and purchase our Austria highway vignette and safety vests.
... and put US $98 worth of gas in the car.

The direct autobahn route from Bodensee to Innsbruck was under construction so we took an alternate route through the Austrian foothills: most beautiful detour ever. The roads were nice and twisty and the scenery was straight out of the Sound of Music.

Innsbruck: 1 Day.

We lodged at the Goldener Adler which is in a vehicle restricted area (the nav system never seemed to tire of telling us that) so we had to park in an underground garage about two blocks away. Beautiful city, great hotel: I'd highly recommend staying there if Innsbruck is on your itinerary (nicest Best Western I've ever seen and without question the nicest 3-star I've stayed at).

Fun drive down the Brenner pass to Verona and into Venice. Most of it is two-lanes and full of trucks but there are a few spots where you can let the car run. Great scenery for a highway: lots of castles. It's remarkable when you think of all the armies that have marched up and down that pass over the ages.

Venice: 4 Days.

There's something unsettling about having to leave your brand new car unlocked in an Italian parking garage for four days with keys in the ignition (especially after having signed paperwork back in Munich stating the insurance policy would not cover theft of the vehicle under such circumstances). I was more concerned about our stuff getting stolen than losing the car, so I found an isolated spot way in the back corner and locked everything in the trunk. I then left the valet key with the car so it could be driven without providing access to the trunk or glove. I also reclined the seat to the fullest extent so I would know upon returning whether anyone had driven it.

We visited Venice on our first ED but had to return since it's one of the most remarkably beautiful places on earth. We did the usual: gondola ride, San Marco (there's an Egyptian mummy in the museum there!), Rialto Bridge, and Belinis at Harry's (my wife sweetalked us past a police barrier and the Harry's bar staff to get us in after they had officially closed. Nice!). Returned to the garage to find the car in the same spot and the seat still reclined. Sweet.

Pontremoli: 1/2 Day

This was one of the most interesting aspects of the trip. On our drive from Venice to La Spezia we stopped at a charming little town named Pontremoli. Some friends of ours have family that own an estate there and they arranged for us to stop in for an afternoon visit.

What a place. The estate was built in the 18th century and is simply enormous. It felt like a museum but you could actually use the furniture. The walls and ceilings are covered with wonderfully vibrant frescoes, some of which bear damage to them caused by Napoleon's troops! While there, they served water from the estate's own spring and wine from their vineyard. All the while I just couldn't believe this was someone's personal residence. Wonderful, generous people.

La Spezia: 1 Day.

A nice seaside town, but nothing particularly noteworthy about it. I'd skip it in lieu of a longer visit to Cinque Terre just up the road. We stayed at a hotel with ample parking and a kickass breakfast buffet.

Monterosso al Mare (Cinque Terre): 3 Days.

Love this place. The drive here is great because the roads are so twisty (wish I had taken a photo of the nav screen map: looked like someone dropped a ramen noodle on it) and because the views of the sea and cliffs are so spectacular. We stayed at the same B&B we lodged at on a previous visit and parked the car in a newly built garage at the entrance of the old part of town. We hiked the trail to the other towns and had great meals along the route. Took the train back and had a refreshing swim in the ocean. We left early on the third day for our 5-hour drive south to the Amalfi coast (had to fill up with gas twice).

Sorrento: 3 days.

Do not drive in this town.
I've driven in some crazy traffic before: New York, Tokyo, DC, LA, Florence, Rome. Sorrento, in my opinion, is the worst. First off, the nav system has no problem sending you down a road that is three inches wider than your car (with the mirrors folded in). Twice we had to turn around/back up because the car wouldn't fit (thanks in part to 'creative' Italian parking). I pulled an Austin Powers both times. Secondly, there is an absolute blizzard of Vespas, motorcycles, Smart cars, micro trucks, bicycles and pedestrians assailing you from all directions. Scooters will pass you on both sides so a two-lane road ends up handling six lanes of traffic. Lines, stop signs, horns, lights, all mean nothing. On top of it all, I was driving a car that was almost twice as big as the average vehicle size so I felt like a bull in a china shop. Basically, you have to be very assertive and force your way through it. My attitude became 'scooters are more maneuverable so it's up to them to avoid me'. After that, just nudge your way through and do everything with purpose. You can't be hesitant about anything: they sense fear!
Or, just don't drive here.

Other than that, Sorrento was great. The hotel staff (once they saw the car), let us park it in the small staff garage under the hotel free of charge where it stayed until we left. We spent the next couple of days meandering about the town's shops and cafes and visited Pompeii (traveling there by train).

After three days in Sorrento, we packed up and headed to our final destination...

Rome: 4 Days.

During the drive between Sorrento and Rome we picked up a speeding buddy: a blue E46 M3 with UK tags was cutting a swath down the passing lane of the Autostrada with his left turn signal perpetually blinking. We fell in behind him and let him lead us up the coast of Italy for a good 20 miles. He gradually began to outpace us at about 140 mph when I started to lose my nerve with visions of my beautiful new car in pieces strewn across an Amalfi highway. That would have been bad form.

On our previous ED we opted to return to Munich and relinquish the car at the Harms office there. On this journey, we deiced to end in Rome. This proved challenging: we did not realize that Harms has no office in Rome and so, unlike our previous experience, a representative would come to us. As a result, we drove ourselves crazy trying to find the non-existent Roman Harms office (it was a Saturday, of course, so we couldn't call anyone). Our apartment was in a traffic-limited area and there were no convenient local parking garages (plus I'd heard all kinds of horror stories of thievery in Rome). Frustrating! We ultimately found the quiet and newly constructed garage 'E' at Fiumicino to park the car. FCO is a 30-min train ride from where we stayed so this option seemed safe and relatively convenient.

For the next two days we engaged in the typical tourist behavior: mailed postcards in the Vatican, tossed a coin in the Trevi fountain, climbed the Spanish Steps, toured the Colosseum and spent too much money on Via Condotti. The most bizarre site was the Capuchin crypt that is literally wallpapered with the bones and skulls of the departed monks. Creepy.

Thomas from Harms called on Sunday afternoon to arrange our appointment for the next day. We met at the apartment and rode out to the airport together. He was a great guy: very professional and efficient (i.e. very German). After about 15 minutes of vehicle inspection and paperwork I waved goodbye to the car and off they went. The following day we returned to FCO to board out flight back to the states which, by and large, was uneventful.

Now I get to sit here and longingly gaze at photos of my car until it arrives. In the meantime I think I'll start planning our next ED!

(Hmmm: I thought I embedded photos in this post but nobody can see them? Let me try another way)
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
223 Posts
Great writeup, now lets see the pictures!!
 

·
Powder Days
Joined
·
1,998 Posts
windnsea00 said:
Great writeup, now lets see the pictures!!
+1 :)

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
232 Posts
Wonderful pictures!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us.
I had a similar trip on May 2005, going again in October.
Wonderful pictures, makes me want to be there today....

I hope your car arrives soon and in perfect shape to complete your experience.

I too returned to Munich to drop off the car, this time I am thinking about letting them take it in Rome.
 

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
2006_750Li_ED said:
Thank you for sharing your wonderful trip with us.
I had a similar trip on May 2005, going again in October.
Wonderful pictures, makes me want to be there today....

I hope your car arrives soon and in perfect shape to complete your experience.

I too returned to Munich to drop off the car, this time I am thinking about letting them take it in Rome.
If you're going to Venice and interested in staying in the same hotel we did, let me know: they gave us a 10% discount voucher that I'm sure will expire before we ever get back there. I'll mail it to you.

-HudZo
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
Thanks for your offer, if I will stay there overnight I might take your offer, can you name the hotels you had in Italy?
It is hard to find a hotel with parking. I found a great hotel in Florence that had ample parking and it was in a great location with a great price.
 

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
2006_750Li_ED said:
Thanks for your offer, if I will stay there overnight I might take your offer, can you name the hotels you had in Italy?
It is hard to find a hotel with parking. I found a great hotel in Florence that had ample parking and it was in a great location with a great price.
Hotels:
Munich - Platzl Hotel (great hotel w/ good location. Don't know about parking: didn't have the car yet)
Innsbruck - Goldener Adler (A+: Romantic and rustic but swank modern rooms. Great location! Garage parking 2 blocks away: the hotel will give you a discount ticket)
Venice - Hotel American-Dinesen (pathetic name, I know, but a very chaming hotel with a super-friendly staff and free internet in the lobby. Our room was neat and clean with a recently remodeled bathroom. No parking, but then again no place does: it's Venice!)
La Spezia - The Jolly (what's up with these hotel names? The hotel was neat and clean. Good breakfast, but other than that nothing special. Plenty of parking right in front although it's not covered.)
Monterosso al Mare - Locanda Il Maestrale (love this place. Very charming, family-owned and smack in the middle of the old town with lofted rooms. If you stay here, ask to reserve the Monteross room. No parking, but there is a spanking-new covered garage 100 m up the road: 32 Euro for 3 days)
Sorrento - Hotel Villa Maria (good but not great although the mega-friendly staff was nice. Parking is a bitch anywhere in this town: they put us in the private hotel staff garage.)
Rome - "Caravaggio" (this was actually an apartment you can rent by the day from www.yourhomeinrome.net. The location was great, the apt was fantastic and the rental agent, Amalia, was an absolute gem. No parking, but we had already ditched the car by then)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
374 Posts
HudZo said:
Venice: 4 Days.

There's something unsettling about having to leave your brand new car unlocked in an Italian parking garage for four days with keys in the ignition (especially after having signed paperwork back in Munich stating the insurance policy would not cover theft of the vehicle under such circumstances). I was more concerned about our stuff getting stolen than losing the car, so I found an isolated spot way in the back corner and locked everything in the trunk. I then left the valet key with the car so it could be driven without providing access to the trunk or glove. I also reclined the seat to the fullest extent so I would know upon returning whether anyone had driven it.
Does this leave-your-key-in-the-ignition thing apply to all parking garages around Venice? We'll be in Venice for a few days in October and am a bit alarmed to hear about this.
 

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Contact Patch said:
Does this leave-your-key-in-the-ignition thing apply to all parking garages around Venice? We'll be in Venice for a few days in October and am a bit alarmed to hear about this.
I've been there twice and this was the standard operating procedure from both garages I went to (I'm talking Piazzale Roma here). I've also heard similar stories from everyone I know who has visited Venice by car. The first time I protested and the garage attendants kind of shrugged and gestured to the other vehicles: every single one I looked in was unlocked with keys in the ignition.

I don't know about parking on Tronchetto island but I'm sure you could park in Mestre and lock up the way you normally would (you can then get to Venice proper by train or bus--ferry if you park in Tronchetto).
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
586 Posts
Great pictures and write up. I bet you can hardly wait for that beauty to come home. We were in Rome 4 years ago....my car wouldn't come close to driving in that nut house:eek:
 

·
Beemin' in my Bimmer ;-)
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
HudZo said:
I don't know about parking on Tronchetto island but I'm sure you could park in Mestre and lock up the way you normally would (you can then get to Venice proper by train or bus--ferry if you park in Tronchetto).
HudZo, Great report of what sounds like a wonderful trip. The car looks beautiful!

Your call for assertive driving being required in Sorrento is spot on. I would say this attitude is necessary from Rome and South. Northern Italy seems to have more courteous drivers, similar to Austria and Germany.

We parked in Tronchetto and we were not required to leave our keys there. I'm not sure I could have dealt with that!

Thanks for the great report. :thumbup:
 

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
mdsbuc said:
Your call for assertive driving being required in Sorrento is spot on. I would say this attitude is necessary from Rome and South. Northern Italy seems to have more courteous drivers, similar to Austria and Germany.
Dude, you are so right on. It's like there's this invisible a$$hole parallel just about where Rome is: it's the evil twin of the north. It was a big shock coming down the coast from the north in Germany and Austria where everybody is courteous and respectful to seeing a guy yakkin on his cell weaving in and out of traffic at 110 mph. Adapt quick or perish!
 

·
Beemin' in my Bimmer ;-)
Joined
·
3,585 Posts
HudZo said:
Dude, you are so right on. It's like there's this invisible a$$hole parallel just about where Rome is: it's the evil twin of the north. It was a big shock coming down the coast from the north in Germany and Austria where everybody is courteous and respectful to seeing a guy yakkin on his cell weaving in and out of traffic at 110 mph. Adapt quick or perish!
When in Rome, drive like the Romans.:D If you don't, you're in for a
experience. :thumbup:
 

·
Happily Driving
Joined
·
7,205 Posts
Great writeup, and great car! :)
 

·
BMW Fahrer
Joined
·
4,674 Posts
HudZo said:
You can't be hesitant about anything: they sense fear!
Hahaha... :rofl: our very exact experience driving in Rome... they're like sharks...

Beautiful car and wonderful trip, thank you for sharing. :thumbup:
 

·
I roll thusly
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for the compliments all.
It makes the post-ED depression and re-delivery anxiety easier to endure.
...realizing that this forum is as much of a support group as anything else.
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
502 Posts
The European delivery is divided into several phases.
1) the anxiety of waiting for the trip, the planning, the expectation of the car
2) The "High", the actual trip, meeting the car, getting used to it, visiting beautiful new places and its fast conclusion- returning the car.
3) The waiting, by now you are so used to the car, the keys are in your pocket, but no car... you then look at the pictures to verify that the car really exists, then you start tracking your car, you find out if it went on the boat, which boat is it on. Some even track the boat on a daily basis, you go to a dealer to look at a similar car to be reminded of yours and the smell feels familiar (now you have the strength to wait another week)
4) Hidden 2nd waiting period : Boat arrives to the port, you think that you will re-unite with your car in 2 to 3 days, the car brings back all the good memories from the trip, then you find out that it is stuck unnecessarily at the Vehicle Preperation Center much longer than you anticipated. in the best case 5-7 days sometimes 2 weeks....
5) Car arrives, by that time you are so mad that it took so long, you rush to see it and there it is (hopefully in 1 piece, mine arrived scratched and needed to go to a body shop for 1 more week....) all of a sudden all the pleasant memories come back (the ones you pushed to a dark corner since it took so long and you got so upset about the additional delay), and all of the anxiety dissipates in 1 minute, all the waiting is forgotten and all of a sudden you are back together for ever (in my case 10 months), after 3 days you will have forgotten that you were ever apart and you roam around town knowing that you have a secret that only you know, you will bet with your wife that nobody would even guess that you were sitting inside this exact car not so long ago in Europe, roaming the Autobahn and sitting in traffic in Rome, you have a secretive smirk on your face and you go on with life.

So yes, this forum is absolutely a great place to be at, I discovered this forum while waiting for the car. You find out how to track your car, you learn to expect a letter from BMW. You learn how to track boats....
I would suggest to call HARMS and ask them if your car is on a boat and which boat it would be, they will also know the arrival date and port. I would strongly suggest NOT to look at the arrival date as the real arrival date, I would add 7-10 days to it.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top