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      09-20-2015, 07:06 AM   #1
Jedi_M
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Jedi M's BMW European Delivery Extravaganza

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1 – Introduction

I took European Delivery of my 2015 BMW M3 MG/SO in July and combined this with a 3 week vacation in Europe. This was my first BMW, first European Delivery and first time driving a car in Europe so I am writing my experiences geared more to people who will be doing their first ED in hopes that they get some insight from my journey and can plan according for their own ED. I have included a pdf file of ED travel checklists which will aid in preparing for your trip. I actually ordered my car and got a production number back in February but wanted to do my ED in warmer and potentially drier weather so I scheduled a July pickup, which turned out to be the case on both counts.

The trip starting point was at BMW Welt Munich and I always wanted to visit Amsterdam which has a BMW drop-off location there, so that became my final trip destination. Between these two points, I added some additional cites that I have not previously visited which ended up in a V-shaped driving route that ended up 1,460 miles long. I tried to allocate enough time in each city to be able see the things that I was interested in and not feel too rushed, which worked out perfectly for me. With 14 days of free auto insurance included in ED, I decided to extend my vacation by arriving a half week prior to my pick up in Munich and dropping off in Amsterdam and spending a half week there prior to flying back to the US giving me the 3 week long vacation.

The 7% ED discount (reducing to 5% starting January 1, 2016) covered 90% of my total 3 week vacation cost, which included air fare, hotels, food, gas, vignettes and attraction fees. It was a no brainer for me to select the ED option not just for a free vacation, but also for the opportunity to drive my own car in the environment that it was meant to be driven in; the Autobahn, dramatic alpine roads, European towns and the Nurburgring. The whole BMW Welt delivery experience was also quite unique and memorable. All the BMW employees that I met really treated me as a special member of their automotive family.

My experiences include the following locations and topics which are arranged in chronological order:

1 - Introduction
2 - Munich
3 - BMW Welt
4 - Delivery Experience
5 - Salzburg
6 - Berchtesgaden
7 - Fussen
8 - Varenna and Lake Como
9 - Swiss Alpine Passes
10 - Lucerne
11 - Stuttgart
12 - Koblenz
13 - Nurburgring
14 - Amsterdam Drop-Off
15 - Amsterdam
16 - Redelivery Tracking
17 - Accessories


General Travel Observations
The portions of the Autobahn that I drove on had less than 20% unlimited speed zones. Most of the Autobahn is speed restricted with 30, 50, 80 100, 110, 120 and 130 kph speed limit zones. Anytime that the Autobahn passes a rest area, off ramps, through cities or construction zones, the speed limits kick in and it is becoming rare that the Autobahn just passes through undeveloped countryside with no speed limit. This is where the HUD option with real-time maximum speed limit display becomes invaluable in notifying you of these constantly changing speed limits. The iDrive real-time traffic works in the US but not while driving in Europe because of different satellite standards used.

The quality of the Autobahn road surface is much higher than in the US with typically smooth surfaces, no pot holes, cracks or imperfections. In order to maintain these high standards, there are always construction zones where the road is being repaired which drops the speed limits to a slow crawl. Keep this in mind when budgeting your travel drive times to your destinations.

There is a much higher percentage of truck traffic on the Autobahn than on US highways. This means that there is a steady stream of semi-trucks in the right lane and you spend a lot of time going into the left lane and back into the right lane to pass these trucks. My guess is that more land shipping is done by trucks in Europe compared to the use of rail in the US for the shipping of goods.

You cannot turn right on a red light. You must wait for a green arrow or light. The traffic lights are also located on the side of the road where you are stopping instead of on the father side. This means that if you are first at a stop light, you have to crane you neck and look up to see when the light turns green. At a stoplight, the light turns yellow right before it turns green like at a drag strip to alert you of the impending green light. I have seen people start to accelerate once they see the yellow light.

Traffic circles are frequently used in lieu of four way intersections with stop signs which is more efficient when there is less traffic. Think of them as auto-go-rounds where you need to figure out if you want to take the 1st, 2nd or 3rd turn. Focus on what your Nav system is instructing you to do in order to take the correct turn off.

Hope you like eating cold cut meats, cheese, yogurt, granola and Nutella for breakfast because most of the hotel breakfasts seemed to consist of these staples.

Air conditioning and ice in drinks are frowned upon especially in hotter weather. When in Italy, force yourself to consume gelato as a substitute for cooling off. Stop looking for a Starbucks in Italy for an iced tea or coffee because they don’t exist.

Selfie sticks are all the rage which dominates all attractions throughout the world. Social media dictates that people are required to post photos of themselves standing in front of every attraction that they visit along with photos of every meal that they eat. What is real annoying are selfie sticks with GoPro cameras with people continuously filming an attraction non-stop. Some popular attractions like Disneyland are banning the use of them which I hope spreads like wildfire.

If you are travelling to Switzerland, make sure you have a Swiss vignette before crossing the border. I was checked by manned border crossings both while entering and exiting the country. If they catch you without a vignette, there will be a stiff penalty of a minimum 460 euros. As a comparison, no one checked for my Austria vignette while travelling in Austria. Also don’t go over the speed limit because of the speed cameras. Everything is also much more expensive than neighboring Italy, Germany and Austria so consider limiting your visit time there. I have no regrets visiting Switzerland and would do it again because of Lucerne and the beautiful alpine roads.

I found it much easier, faster and more accurate to enter ALL of my driving destinations using GPS coordinates rather than by address in the iDrive Nav system. The Nav system accepts both decimal degrees (DD) and degrees, minutes, seconds (DMS) GPS formats, but I used decimal degrees because it was faster to enter. If you do not know how to enter GPS coordinates into the Nav system, ask your Delivery Specialist to instruct you how to do this. The Nav system worked perfectly during my entire trip, except for when driving inside tunnels where it went off the reservation but picked up right after exiting them. I used the following web site to get the GSP coordinates for all the destinations that I was planning to drive to prior to my trip:

GPS Coordinates:
http://www.gps-coordinates.net/

Attachments:

European Delivery checklist pdf file – Use this to aid in preparing for your trip
Trip Itinerary Calendar Blank Excel Spreadsheet – Use this create your own trip calendar
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Attached Images
File Type: pdf European Delivery Travel Checklist.pdf (95.5 KB, 733 views)
Attached Files
File Type: zip Trip Itinerary Calendar.zip (7.9 KB, 265 views)

Last edited by Jedi_M; 12-27-2015 at 12:13 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:07 AM   #2
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2 – Munich

Attractions
Neues Rathaus
Marienplatz
Munich Residenz
Frauenkirche
Peterskirche (St. Peters Church – Climb the tower)
Viktualienmarkt
Feldherrnhalle (monumental loggia)
Theatinerkirche (Theatine Church)
Eisbach Wave / English Garden
Nymphenburg Palace
New Pinakothek
Pinakothek der Moderne
Museum Brandhorst

I had a transfer flight in Frankfurt on my way to Munich where I had to go through customs check. At this airport, I used my checking Fidelity ATM / debit card at a Deutsche Bank ATM to get some euros. Fidelity does not charge for ATM fees so I got the current exchange rate and zero foreign transaction fees. I used my debit card throughout my trip at ATM’s to get cash and had no problems. I also had chip credit cards but limited their use as much as possible.

I had scheduled Sixt to pick me up at the Munich Airport and take me to my hotel in Downtown Munich. My transfer flight from Frankfurt was on time and after picking up my baggage, I exited the departure area down a corridor and the driver was waiting for me holding a sign with my full name on it. He took my rolling suitcase and we proceeded to the limo parked just outside. The limo turned out to be a nice clean black 7 series BMW, which seemed appropriate. I would have been disappointed if I got picked up in a Mercedes or Audi. The driver was fairly young and spoke English fluently. The drive to my Central Downtown hotel located next to Sendlinger-Tor Platz took about 25 minutes with no traffic and once at the hotel, I tipped the driver 10 euros. I have read from other forum members using Sixt that some of their drivers refuse or were hesitant to take a tip, but my driver readily accepted and appreciated it. I think that he had picked up other US BMW ED members that tipped and now we have collectively spoiled them with our generosity, which I think is a good thing.

The heart of Munich is centered around the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) and Marienplatz. Between Marienplatz and Karlsplatz is the popular Neuhauser pedestrianized retail street. Nearby is the Munich Residenz which has an extensive collection of art and jewelry along with some amazing interior spaces. I enjoy art and going to museums so there are a variety of them to choose from in the Museum District to the north. The Pinakothek der Moderne has a good collection of contemporary art and furniture design. It is convenient to take the U-Bahn to these and other attractions like the Nymphenburg Palace which are located a distance away from the City Center.

There are many beer halls and gardens to choose from for lunch and dinner. Augustiner Keller next to the train station is a popular choice for a beer garden and Zum Augustiner beer hall located on Neuhauser is in a convenient central location. The climb up the tower of St. Peter's Church affords great views of Marienplatz and the rest of the City. Viktualienmarkt or farmers market is located right next to St. Peter’s and is a popular outdoor market with places to eat. There are plenty of shopping opportunities all around Downtown. The Eisbach is a small man-made river that flows through English Garden with a man-made wave created in one section called the Eisbach Wave and is popular for viewing river surfers. I did not go to Dachau concentration camp because I have previously visited Sachsenhausen outside of Berlin. If you have never visited a concentration camp, Dachau would be worth a visit.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 09:32 PM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:08 AM   #3
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3 - BMW Welt

Attractions
BMW Welt (World)
Premium Lounge
BMW Plant tour
BMW Museum
Olympiaturm in Olympiapark (TV Tower)

I allocated the entire day before my scheduled pick-up day to check-in at the Premium Lounge, tour BMW Welt, take the factory tour, visit the Museum and go to the top of Olympiaturm which worked out well.

Roughly 90 per cent of customers picking up their vehicle at BMW Welt come from all over Germany. You actually have to pay $200 for an in-country delivery experience at Welt. Many of them bring their families, collect their new BMW and then drive straight to Italy or Austria for a holiday, before heading for home. They make a vacation out of the experience. One in ten customers makes the journey across the Atlantic from the US or Canada. Approximately 80 to 120 vehicle deliveries take place at Welt every day. Disregarding the European deliveries, BMW Welt in itself is a major tourist attraction in Munich with easy access from Downtown by taking the U3 subway line and getting off at the Olympiazentrum station. This U-Bahn station is located right next to the BMW Welt north entry.

BMW Welt consists of rotating exhibitions of their entire product line of cars, BMWi, SUV and motorcycles. There are also display areas for the Mini and Rolls Royce brands which they own. The BMW merchandise shop on the ground level is where you can use your 10 euro gift voucher, get the engraved keychain and two safety vests. I also purchased BMW Welt and ///M baseball caps. The Premium Lounge is on the 3rd level with the delivery platform on the level directly below it. The lounge is accessed by the glass elevators located directly behind the north information desk. If you need to check in luggage at delivery time, go to the south information desk where they will take them and drop-off your luggage next to your vehicle on the delivery platform for you to load in your vehicle.

As an ED customer, BMW treats you like a premium member with exclusive privileges while you are visiting Welt. Along with the free tours and museum access, you are given unlimited access to the Premium Lounge which includes the following areas:

-Delivery office area where you initially check-in and go through your paperwork
-Use of wardrobe lockers to store personal items while at Welt
-Sign in guest book
-Internet stations for browsing and emailing
-Lounge seating and dining area
-Food and beverage station (Breakfast and Lunch)
-Restrooms
-Overlook balcony located above the grand stairway that you will walk down to the vehicle delivery platform where you will get introduced to your vehicle, load your luggage, do a victory lap and exit.

When you initially check in at the office area, they will confirm all of your tour reservations along with pick-up time and issue you a Welt card which looks like a credit card and has your entire itinerary printed on the back side of it. Once you initially check in at the Premium Lounge, you can come back and visit any time afterward. There are no visit limits. For example, you can arrive at Welt in the morning, have breakfast in the lounge, explore the Welt, take the English Plant tour, have lunch at the lounge and explore the museum afterwards. This access will also be available to family and friends that you bring with you as long as you check everyone in and keep to a reasonable quantity.

The Plant tour starts out with a 20 minute introduction and short video of the history of BMW in a presentation room located behind the BMW merchandise store on the ground level and the tour lasts a total 2 hours. After the introduction, the group walks across the street and enters the Plant. No photos or videos are allowed during the tour so I have no photos. If you are lucky enough to do the tour during Octoberfest, you will be treated to some beer tasting in the paint section. Otherwise, it is just a water break during the rest of the year. In this area, they also had an M3 carbon fiber roof panel and a conventional metal roof next to each other both on movable hinges so that you can compare the weight of the two. 90% of the manufacturing is fully automated with robotics and BMW spends considerable R&D designing, building and maintaining their robotic workforce. The few humans that you see on the assembly line at the end do basic tasks and importantly test every vehicle which go through a battery of automated tests before they are released.

The BMW Museum has a mix of vehicles on display. The general organization, flow and layout seemed disjointed and confusing compared to the Mercedes and Porsche Museums which I visited later on my vacation. I only spent 1.5 hours in the Museum which was enough time for me to go through this relatively small Museum.

The Olympiaturm located in Olympiapark and adjacent to the Welt gives you a bird’s eye view of not only the BMW campus but a 360 degree view of Munich itself. Just cross the pedestrian bridge over the road and take the path to the left to get to it. The tower observation platform is multi-level so the best place to take photos is on the outside platforms on the 2nd and 3rd levels. That way, there is not a layer of glass to obstruct your view and add a tint or reflections to your photos.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-24-2015 at 11:02 PM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:09 AM   #4
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4 - Delivery Experience

After getting an introduction of the car from my delivery specialist, I installed both the Austrian and Swiss vignettes on my windshield which I had pre-purchased online from tolltickets.com and took some photos in front of Welt of my pristine factory fresh car. The German green emissions sticker for driving in urban areas like Munich was installed by BMW for free at delivery. The country vignettes can be purchased at gas stations near the border but I did not want to hassle with stopping.

I brought a USB stick with 11GB of MP3 music files and requested my Delivery Specialist at the beginning of the delivery to transfer the music to the Navigation hard drive, which has 20GB of free space for music files. He pulled out the USB stick with European maps in the center console and it took about 20 minutes for the music files to transfer. He tried to reinsert the USB map stick in but the Nav system would not recognize it. He went and grabbed a new USB map stick and that worked. Now I had about a hundred music CDs to listen to during my trip. You can also pair the stereo to your iPhone via Bluetooth to listen to music but it is more convenient to have it directly on the hard drive so you don’t have to worry about constantly charging your iPhone. I asked my Delivery Specialist on how to set the music in the hard drive to shuffle mode, but he did not know how to do this. I later found this option myself on the far right menu and set the music to shuffle mode. You can also use the scroll dial on the steering wheel to skip to the next song.

Your BMW is built as a US spec vehicle. Because of this, the speedometer displays speed only in mph. If you selected the HUD option, have your Delivery Specialist change the HUD speed display format from mph to kph. The HUD has real-time maximum speed limit detection and display so seeing your actual speed in kph makes it easy to compare the speed limits in kph.

After leaving Welt, I headed to Salzburg taking the A8 Autobahn. One of the first things that I noticed was that most of the cars on the road were German brands such as BMW, Audi, VW, Mercedes and Porsche. The locals seem to prefer driving their home grown auto brands, which is not a bad thing in terms of choices. Most cars are also debadged which means that the model designation emblems have been removed from the trunk of the car. It is supposedly a cultural thing. They believe a model "badge" is ostentatious.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 07:47 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:10 AM   #5
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5 - Salzburg

Attractions
Salzburg Card (24, 48, 72 hr)
Fortress Hohensalzburg (SLB FestungsBahn funicular)
Monachsberg Lift (to Museum der Moderne)
Mirabell Palace and Gardens
Mozart Residence
Mozart's Birthplace
Salzburg Cathedral
Salzburg Museum
Panorama Museum
Salzach River Cruise
Sound of Music Tour

Once in Salzburg, I recommend getting a Salzburg Card if you are staying 2 or more nights. The hotel I was staying at sold the 48 hr version and you can also buy them at the Tourist Information office in Downtown. This card gives you free access to all the main attractions in the City along with free use of the bus public transit. The best and highest views of the City are from the Fortress Hohensalzburg which is accessed by taking the SLB FestungsBahn funicular. While at the Fortress, make sure to take the free guided audio tour which includes access to an outdoor observation deck located at the top of the fortress with spectacular 360 degree views of the City. If you have the time and interest, there are private tours of the locations used in the filming of the Sound of Music, which is popular activity but I decided to skip it.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 07:57 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:10 AM   #6
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6 - Berchtesgaden

Attractions
Salt Mine Berchtesgaden
Eagle’s Nest, Dokumentation Obersalzberg (via Eagle's Nest Historical Tours)
Eisriesenwelt Ice Cave

During my stay in Salzburg, I decided to spend a day in Berchtesgaden which is located 30 minutes to the south and is an easy drive through a beautiful valley. I visited both the Salt Mine Berchtesgaden and Eagle’s Nest but did not go to the ice cave which I am mentioning just as another option. Salt, the so-called "white gold" was once a very valuable trading commodity. It made Salzburg (Salt Fortress) the wealthy, magnificent city of the prince archbishops you still see to this day. Before taking the salt mine tour, you have to wear a jump suit which is provided to get you into the mood for cave exploring. You next get to ride a rail cart into the salt mine. The jump suit is also needed for you to slide down two wooden slides during the tour. There is also a short boat cruise through a cave lake. No photos or videos are allowed during the tour but people still took photos and the guides didn’t mind. It was a fun tour that lasted 1.5 hours.

I went to Eagle’s Nest by signing up with the Eagle’s Nest Historic Tours, which departs from the Berchtesgaden Visitor’s Center in downtown at 1:15pm. There is free public parking in a surface lot right across the street from the Visitor’s Center. The tour cost 53 euros and included all the bus transportation and tickets for the Dokumentation Obersalzberg and Eagle’s Nest itself. I thought that I learned more about the history of the rise and fall of Hitler by taking this professionally guided tour instead of just driving to it myself. You also cannot drive directly to the top of Eagle’s Nest but must take a shuttle bus from the Dokumentation Obersalzberg to the top because of the narrow access road and limited parking at the top. The weather was nice and warm during my visit with spectacular views of the surrounding mountain range and a distant view of Salzburg. It took a full day to visit the Salt Mines in the morning, lunch in downtown and the 4 hour Eagle’s Nest tour in the afternoon with a pleasant drive back to Salzburg.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 08:04 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:11 AM   #7
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7 - Fussen

Attractions
Linderhof Palace
Neuschwanstein Photo Spot
Neuschwanstein Castle
Marienbrucke lookout

In leaving Salzburg, I first headed to Linderhof Palace in Ettal which was on the way to Neuschwanstein Castle and Fussen. This palace was modelled after Versailles and both the interior tour and surrounding massive garden is definitely worth a visit. I happened to be in front of the palace when they turned on the water jet fountain. It reminded me of a geyser because of the dramatic column of water extending straight into the air. The other highlight is the Venus Grotto located north of the Palace.

The one hour drive from Linderhof to Neuschwanstein is scenic and passes next to Plansee Lake, a popular recreational area during the summer. I first drove to the “photo spot” next to the tree and took some photos of my car with Neuschwanstein Castle in the background. I have read from other members that the interior castle tour was nothing special, so I skipped that and took the blue bus up to Marienbrucke lookout. The bridge was packed with people trying to get a peak of the castle. Just slowly make your way to the center of the bridge and the crowds tend to clear up toward the other side. The view of the castle from this bridge is truly spectacular and jaw dropping. From here, it is an easy 30 minute walk down the hill to the castle and lower parking area. I stayed the night in Fussen before heading out to Varenna the next morning.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 10:14 PM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:12 AM   #8
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8 - Varenna and Lake Como

Attractions
Castle of Vezio
Church of San Giorgio
Bar Il Molo Restaurant (Great views)
Villa del Balbianello (closed on Monday and Wednesday, via Bellagio Water Limousines)
Villa Carlotta
Villa Melzi
Villa Monastero
Lake Como Greenway
Ferries to other towns (daily pass 15 euros)

After leaving Fussen, I programmed my hotel in Varenna and headed out. The route recommended by the Nav system looked like a longer route than I had anticipated and took me through Switzerland than back into the Italian alps and eventually to Lake Como. It was actually a beautiful drive going on some alpine roads. Once near Lake Como, the expressway went through a series of tunnels alongside the lake and I eventually got off on a winding road that ran along the edge of the lake to Varenna. I chose Varenna to stay in because of its ease of access from the expressway which turned out to be the case. I had no issues with narrow access roads like I have read from other forum members driving on the west side of Lake Como or to Bellagio.

Varenna is a small town that is less touristy but has a certain charm and beautiful skyline facing a small cove on the east side of the Lake. It is easy access to get to Bellagio, Menaggio, Cadenabbia, Villa Carlotta, Tremezzo and Lenno by ferry with an unlimited daily ferry pass to these towns costing 15 euros. There were also auto ferries which frequently crossed the Lake to these towns. I hiked up to Castle de Vezio which is located on top of a hill above Varenna. It had spectacular views of the Lake and included a bird sanctuary in the castle ruins. If you stay in or visit Varenna, make sure to eat lunch or dinner at Bar Il Molo Restaurant. It has good food, reasonable prices and has an incredible view of a small cove and beach facing the Lake. It was very hot while I visited Lake Como with highs in the 95-100 degree range and the many gelaterias in the towns helped to tolerate this hot weather.

Other than visiting these scenic towns, the popular attractions are the historic villas and gardens scattered throughout the Lake. The most popular ones are Villa del Balbianello, Villa Carlotta, Villa Melzi and Villa Monastero. I signed up for the Villa del Balbianello Group English tour using Bellagio Water Limousines, which leaves from the Bellagio Waterfront Landing. It is owned and run by a friendly married couple, Jennine and Luca. The 2.5 hour tour included visiting the Villa along with a tour of the immediate surrounding lake area and cost 50 euros. The water limousine docks directly at the foot of Villa del Balbianello and a separate English tour of the Villa itself is included. The Villa can be rented out for weddings and there happened to be one scheduled right before us leaving the dock. You can visit the Villa on your own by taking a ferry and hiking 20 minutes to get to it but the water limousine was so much nicer to visit directly from the Lake. The other villas can be easily visited on your own. Villa Carlotta has its own ferry landing right next to it.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 08:31 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:13 AM   #9
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9 – Swiss Alpine Passes

Attractions
St. Gotthard's Pass
Furka Pass
Hotel Belvedere
Rhone Glacier
Grimsel Pass
Susten Pass

After leaving Varenna, I headed toward Switzerland and was planning to take the St. Gotthard, Furka and Grimsel Passes to get to Lucerne. However, when I was approaching the turn off to get onto St. Gotthard, it started to rain and the mountains were shrouded in clouds. I decided not to take this alpine route due to the dangerous wet road conditions and low level visibility with the clouds. Instead, I took the 10.5 mile long St. Gotthard Tunnel directly to Lucerne which was an experience in itself. The next morning in Lucerne, the storm had passed over night and it was a beautiful warm and sunny day. I decided to drive out from Lucerne and at a minimum drive the Grimsel and Furka Passes to the Hotel Belvedere which took two hours. The mountains and roads were amazing with little traffic in the morning. Along the way, there were small areas where you could pull off and take photos of the scenery. I was surprised to see a lot of cyclist climbing up both passes. Furka Pass tops out close to 8,000 feet elevation so this combined with narrow roads with no bike lanes make it a very challenging ride. There were some very fit cyclists taking on this dangerous route.

The Furka Pass was used as a backdrop in the James Bond Goldfinger movie 51 years ago. If you watch the movie, the road adjacent to the Hotel Belvedere was unpaved dirt and the Rhone Glacier right next to the hotel was more substantial before global warming really kicked in. I took some photos along the way and headed back to Lucerne right before noon. Be warned that there are more vehicles on these roads in the afternoon with many slower trucks and buses to get stuck behind and few areas to pass, so I recommend driving these roads on a weekday morning to beat the traffic. I wish I had allocated an entire day to drive the St. Gotthard, Furka, Grimsel and Susten passes in a loop from Lucerne. It takes more time to drive these passes because of the slower traffic and the many stops that you would want to take along the way for photography and enjoying the stunning vistas.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 08:45 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:14 AM   #10
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10 - Lucerne

Attractions
Tourist Information Luzern (in main train station)
KKL Luzern / Museum of Art Lucerne
Museum Sammlung Rosengart (Picasso & Klee)
Chapel Bridge
Lion Monument
Glacier Garden
Museggmauer

After checking in to my hotel, I walked over to the main train station where the Tourist Information Office is located in and got some information on things to do in Lucerne. Right next to the rail station is KKL Luzern which contains a music concert hall and art museum. The front plaza faces the lake and there was a music festival happening with food vendors in tents surrounding the plaza. I grabbed some dinner from one of the vendors and listened to some of the performers.

For art lovers, the Museum Sammlung Rosengart is a must and has one of the largest collections of Picasso and Klee paintings in the world. It is definitely a world-class contemporary museum whose two patrons amassed an impressive private collection during their lifetime. They were patrons and friends with Picasso which helped and there were also many candid photos of Picasso and his family included in the collection. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed in this museum so I bought their catalog online after returning from my trip. I wanted to avoid carrying heavy items back with me.

The old town of Lucerne is filled with shopping streets popular with tourists. There are plenty of opportunities to buy watches, knives and chocolate. Lucerne is a fairly compact city and it is easy to walk to all the major attractions including Chapel Bridge, Lion Monument, Glacier Garden and the Museggmauer towers. It is hard to take a bad photo in this picturesque city. With a central location in Europe and ease of access using trains and buses, Lucerne was packed with tourists from all over the world. Food is expensive, so one option is to grab a meal at the Manora Restaurant located on the top 5th floor of the Manor Department Store which is in the center of Downtown. It is a cafeteria where the food is good with reasonable prices and there is an outdoor terrace with nice views.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 11:18 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:14 AM   #11
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11 - Stuttgart

Attractions
Mercedes-Benz Museum and Dealership
Porsche Museum and Dealership
Downtown Stuttgart

I checked in to my hotel in Stammheim which was located one mile from the Porsche Museum and walked to it in 20 minutes. The museum is located in a commercial area appropriately named Porscheplatz with the building situated between a large traffic circle and the "Neuwirtshaus/Porscheplatz" S-Bahn railway station. Directly across the street is a large Porsche dealership showroom in a curved building which is also worth a visit. The museum is a dramatic piece of contemporary architecture which looks like it is floating above the entry plaza and supported with minimal structure and circulation. The plaza had several Porsche cars parked on display and their images were reflected in the underside of the museum which was clad in mirror tiles. The ground level has ticketing area, café, coffee bar and merchandise shop. You take an escalator up to the multi-level exhibit floor which goes through the history of Porsche from its beginnings to its current vehicle lineup. There are conference facilities on the upper levels which are closed to the public.

When I was visiting, I noticed some construction work being done on Porscheplatz in front of the Museum. I did not know what was planned but it turned out that they were building a sculpture called “Inspiration 911” paying tribute to the Porsche 911 model being built in Zuffenhausen with 901,930 and 991 variants installed on top of sweeping metal tire track pillars with the cars speeding towards the heavens. I unfortunately was not able to see the sculpture in person but I have included photos taken from the web.

The next morning, I tried taking the U-Bahn to get to the Mercedes Museum. The U-Bahn map shows a station called “NeckarPark” near the Museum. It turns out that this station is normally closed so I had to walk two miles to get to the Museum. The only way to get to the Museum is to drive to it and pay for parking which I recommend or to take the S-Bahn which has a station near the Museum.

This museum has a contemporary design which is triangular shape in plan and has a dramatic central atrium. It looks deceptively small on the outside but is a quite large once you enter and experience it. You enter by first purchasing a ticket then going to one of three futuristic streamlined elevators located in the central atrium that takes you up to the top floor of the Museum. The sequence and displays were well laid out starting with the beginning of the company at the top and going in chronological sequence as you progress down to the lower levels by taking ramps between each level. All the displays had excellent descriptions accompanying them and included general historical events from the time period, not just of Mercedes. The tying in of general historical events with the history of the growth of Mercedes along with its enormous size makes this the most interesting automotive museum with Porsche and BMW coming in a distant second and third. At the end and lowest level of the museum, there is a café to grab some lunch along with the merchandise shop to pick up souvenirs including a great selection of model cars.

There is also a connection to get to the adjacent Mercedes dealership which displays their entire lineup of current vehicles. This is the largest automotive dealership that I have ever seen and is three levels connected by escalators. It is the size of a mini mall with the top level displaying the AMG models including the new Mercedes-AMG GT S coupe. I visited the museum on the weekend which had a cars and coffee event where locals are able to drive and display their Mercedes in the entry plaza. The car which stole the limelight was a black Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing parked right in front of the entry which people flocked to see and photograph.

After leaving the museum, I took the U-Bahn into downtown Stuttgart and walked around in the afternoon. There were a lot of people shopping, eating and lounging in the parks but the Downtown itself was fairly nondescript.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 11:30 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:15 AM   #12
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12 - Koblenz

Attraction
Canyon Bicycles Showroom and Headquarters

I am an avid cyclist so when I was doing research on my trip and found out that the Canyon Bicycles headquarters and showroom is located 45 minutes east of the Nurburgring, I decided to visit. As a background, Canyon bicycles are popular in Europe and the UK but not the US because they are not distributed or sold here. However, Canyon sponsors the Moviestar and Team Katusha road racing and the Topeak Ergon mountain bike pro racing teams, so they produce some high-end bikes. They also make triathlon bikes. What I was really interested seeing in person was their prototype electronically controlled full-suspension road bike called Projekt MRSC connected (Magneto-Rheological Suspension Control).

The core technology of the Canyon Projekt MRSC is a carbon leaf-spring suspended bike with MR (magneto-rheological) fluid bearings which change their resistance when subjected to electrical current. These bearings are then controlled by an on-board CPU, effectively being opened up or locked-out, in response to on-board impact, position, and movement sensor feedback. The sensors detect riding conditions and rider inputs to be processed by the CPU and adjust the allowable movement of the suspension elements accordingly. The frameset highlight MR bearings are designed to look sculpted out of the frame.

While this is a concept bike, it might be better described as a proof-of-concept bike. Canyon’s engineers clearly see the spread of electronic integration as the way that bike design is moving forward in the near future. The interconnectivity of bikes with location data gathering and live position access via GPS, electronic suspension control and automatic emergency calls is a real thing now. Upping the ante is the use of innovative magnetically controlled fluid in the front and rear suspension and tying it all together is the next-gen technology proposed by Canyon.

The use of magneto-rheological shock absorption technology has been used in many vehicles including the Acura MDX, Audi TT and R8, Buick Lucerne, Cadillac ATS, CTS-V, DTS, XLR, SRX, STS, Chevrolet Corvette, Camaro ZL1, Ferrari 458 Italia, 599GTB, F12 Berlinetta, Holden HSV E-Series and Lamborghini Huracán. These systems were produced by the Delphi Corporation and now by BWI Group under the proprietary name MagneRide.

The automotive and bicycle companies might seem to have completely separate products and technologies but they actually have a lot of things in common. They both produce products geared to human transportation with similar broad goals like performance, aerodynamics, weight reduction, safety, reliability, durability, cost control and aesthetics (industrial design). For example, BMW’s increased use of carbon fiber in their i3, i8 and M cars as a strong weight saving material has already been used on road and mountain bikes for decades. Wind tunnel testing is integral to designing both vehicle and bikes to lower the coefficient of drag with the goal of higher fuel efficiency in cars and faster bikes being able to cut through the wind more efficiently. Canyon is now looking to take a technology previously used in the automotive industry and implementing it in bikes with the goal of achieving one of the holy grails in the bike industry which is a road bike that will automatically adjust to all types of road conditions to provide a comfortable ride. Whether this can be implemented successfully in a light weight, reliable and cost effective bike remains unknown at this point, but at least they seem to be an innovative, forward-looking company willing to explore emerging technologies.

The Canyon showroom in Koblenz is the only location in the world where you can come and test ride their bicycles so people from all over Europe and the UK come here to purchase their bike. Their showroom has a very clean, contemporary and industrial aesthetics which is carried into their displays. I was not familiar with their product range but found that they make a very broad range of bikes, especially mountain bikes. I happened to visit during lunchtime and was able to see their entire staff eating lunch in the cafeteria which I thought was a relatively small group compared to the vast range of bikes that they offer. I left Koblenz and headed to my hotel near the Nurburgring.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 11:40 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:16 AM   #13
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13 - Nurburgring

Attractions
Ring Werk
Grand Prix Track
Ring Gift Shop
Paddock Gift Shop
BMW M Power Tribune (Gran Prix Track Viewing Area)

After checking into my hotel and emptying my car of my entire luggage, I headed to the Ring Werk facilities located next to the Gran Prix track. The Ring Werk consists of two gift shops to stock up on Nurburgring memorabilia, arena and event center, café and family-oriented indoor theme park focusing on the world of motorsport. The BMW M Power Tribune is the access to get to the Grand Prix track bleachers. When I was there, this track was being used as a practice day by teams entered in the upcoming 6 Hours of Nurburgring FIA World Endurance Championship race. My main interest was to shop in the gift shops and I bought a cap, mug and some Nurburgring stickers for my car.

Nurburgring Track Access

Attractions
Nordschleife (North Track - tourist drive track)
Ticket Office
Devil’s Diner / Restrooms
Gift Fan Shop
BMW M Ring Taxi rental
Parking Lots

I left the Ring Werk and drove to the Nordschleife track entry area which was 5 minutes away. This is the track used for the tourist drives and was open from 5:15pm to 7:30pm when I visited on a weekday in July. The Nordschleife track is clockwise in direction and 20.8 km (12.9 mi.) long with 300 meters (1,000 feet) of elevation change and 70+ corners. What makes this track unique is the fairly large elevation change combined with many challenging corners. It was raining on and off on the day that I visited which kept the number of tourist drivers low. Make sure you leave all your luggage at the hotel because you want to avoid driving around the track with objects sliding around in the car.

Refer to the image below for a map of the Nordschleife track entry area. The paved parking lots A and B were being used by the professional instructors and Ring taxis using the track prior to the track being available for the tourist drive. I parked in gravel parking lot C and there is additional space in the gravel parking lot D. I walked over to the ticket office which is located right next to the track entry gates and bought a 4 lap Ring Card for 100 euros which I thought was a relative bargain. It looks like a credit card and is used to access the track using a card reader. It also makes for a nice souvenir. There were no waivers to sign and no security check. The only thing that the track marshal would look for and prohibit is a noisy vehicle. Based on complaints from neighbors living adjacent to the track, they have prohibited vehicles that emit sounds over a specific decibel rating and are equipped with SPL meters to check on noisy vehicles. You should not have to worry about any new BMW vehicle. Expect all types of vehicles during tourist drive days from high performance sports cars to basic economy cars and motorcycles.

There is the Devil’s Diner which you can grab a burger and fries if you are hungry. There are free restrooms right below the diner on the ground level. Next to the diner is the BMW M Ring Taxi office if you want to get a taxi ride around the track. A pop up Nurburgring Fan Shop kiosk opens up at the same time when the track is open for tourist drives and has a smaller selection of souvenirs that are available at the larger Ring Werk shops.

About an hour before the tourist ride start time, the track marshals clear the track of the instructors and Ring Taxis. About 5 minutes before the tourist ride start time, the marshals allow the tourists to start a queuing line which is shown as a dashed green line on the map. The track marshals will reconfigure the entry access area with cones for the tourist setup. Once you get to the entry gate, you press your Ring Card on a card reader located on the left-side at each of the two entry gates until it lights up green and the gate opens. Drive forward slowly thru the zig-zag cones and you are on are now on the Ring!

At the end of the lap, slow down on the straight away following the posted speed limits. Keep to the right-hand side of the track to exit. You are required to exit the track following each lap. There may be a long line to exit so be patient. Keep to the left-hand side of the track if you want to immediately do another lap. There will likely be a line here as well but shorter. Pull up to the entry gates and swipe your card again. When the gate opens, proceed with your next lap.

On occasions, the track marshals will be forced to close the entire track down due to severe accidents. This happened to me after completing my third lap, which they closed the track down for 30 minutes. They will make an announcement over the PA system and then put up a barrier near the track entrance. This is your chance to let the car cool down, eat, stare at other interesting cars and motorcycles, meet fellow car nuts from all over the world, or go refuel your car. Once the track reopens you will know because they will make another announcement but also because many cars will all suddenly start in unison to que and create an instant traffic jam headed to the entry gates.

As I entered the track for the first time, it was pouring rain. After 10 minutes, it cleared up but the track was wet so I took my laps easy. The track is so large that it can be raining in one portion and sunny and clear in another portion. I was able to do my 4 laps with one 30 minute track closure and no incidents on my end. When doing my laps, I noticed several Ring photographers located at strategic places along the track taking photos of every vehicle as they passed by. It turned out to be a great and truly memorable experience being able to drive my own car on the Ring, which can only be done on an ED.

After arriving back from ED, I checked the following Ring Photographer web site to see if there were any photos of me driving on the Ring based on the specific day I was there and I found that two photographers were working that day. I selected two photos of me that I liked in the photo galleries and bought digital jpg copies online.

Ring Photographers:
http://www.ringportal.nl/en/calendar
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 11:53 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:17 AM   #14
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14 - Amsterdam Drop-Off

Right after I crossed the border from Germany into the Netherlands, I passed by two motorcyclists on the side of the freeway. They both had white jackets on and I stared at them to see if they were police. Well one of them got on the freeway and started following me while I was going under the speed limit. I initially assumed that he was going to chase someone else but I soon realized that he wanted me to stop. I followed him to an off-ramp where other police were waiting. He told me that I was being stopped as part of border security and wanted to check my papers. I gave him my passport, International driver’s license and paperwork from BMW Welt. Upon reviewing my passport, he asked me whether I was in the US Military, which I replied no. After 10 minutes, he came back, gave me back all the documents and said that I was free to go.

Upon hindsight, I think that they stopped me for the following reasons:
My car had tourist plates
I was driving a brand new expensive fast sport car
I stared intently at them while passing by and made eye contact
I was going under the speed limit

I probably looked like a foreigner in a new expensive fast car looking out for and trying to avoid police by going under the speed limit with something to hide. Based on this, I recommend not looking at police while passing them.

I also wondered why he thought that I was in the US Military, so I looked at my passport. On the lower right area, there is a section that has “M” United States, Department of State. I think that he misinterpreted the “M” as Military versus sex as in Male and has not reviewed a US passport before.

Anyway, prior to dropping off my car in Amsterdam, I went to a car wash to get it cleaned as required by BMW. First of all, there is no car wash really close to the drop-off location that I could find. I went to one that was on the way to the drop-off called Dolphins Carwash right near the freeway. It has both self-serve ‘wasbox’ bays and an automated/manual ‘wasstraat’ option. If desired, you can wash the car yourself in one of the self-serve bays. I am not as sensitive as others about automated car washes and I wanted to save time so I opted for the automated option and went for a wash and wax that cost 8 euros and took 5 minutes. You stay inside your car during the entire time and just drive out the wash at the end. There is a person who manually takes a big soft soapy brush and wipes the front, hood, top, roof and rear at the same time that the car is going through a normal automated car wash. The car is blown dry at the end. My car was really dirty after 2 weeks of driving in 5 countries and the car came out clean except for some brake dust on the front wheels. There were no dents, chips, scratches, wheel rub or any other damage that I could see at the drop-off.

The drop-off location is at the Ter Haak Group office building. Park your vehicle near the building entry where you see the canopy on the left side. Before checking in, I recommend that you carefully and completely inspect your vehicle on your own for any damage that can be noted on the insurance report

After inspection, remove the following items from your car and place them in your luggage:

-one of the car keys
-USB stick with EU maps
-first aid kit (includes scissor)
-cargo net
-emergency vests
-1/4 or less in gas tank
-warning triangle and brackets (use Philips screwdriver provided in the trunk tool box to unscrew brackets)
-Front License Plate Holder (take with you or throw away if you do not want a front license plate installed by your dealer)

Go into the unoccupied entry lobby and walk up to the reception desk. Follow the written instructions on the desk and dial 423 to contact the drop-off inspector. They will ask you to sign some forms and then take all the paperwork that was given to you at BMW Welt for them to copy and enter into their system which took about 40 minutes. After this, you will go to your vehicle with the inspector and they will inspect the vehicle for any damage. Take all your luggage and belongings out of your car and ask them to temporarily store them in one of the ground level offices. They will then ask you to drive your car through a security gate on the left and park your vehicle behind the office building. When I was there, there were 11 others BMW and Audi vehicles parked waiting to get transported. Amsterdam is just a drop-off location and not a pick-up port. All the vehicles are transported back to the port located in Bremerhaven, Germany for actual shipping back to the US. Walk back into the office building and collect your luggage.

I had to go to a hotel located in central Amsterdam. I tried the Uber app first, but it said that there were no cars in the area available. This drop-off location is remotely located in a commercial / industrial area. I then asked for them to call me a taxi. The 20 minute taxi ride cost 50 euros, which I thought was high. The other option is to ask the taxi to drop you off at a nearby transit station, but then you have to figure out how to get into Amsterdam and then to your hotel carrying all your luggage.

Dolphins Carwash
Langsom 2
1066 EW Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 615 3835
Hours: M-W, 8am to 6pm, Fri 8am-7pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm
Web: http://www.wassenmetgevoel.nl/amsterdam.html
GPS: 52.341776, 4.794547
GPS: N 052° 20.304, E 04° 47.404

Car Wash Instructions (DCT Transmission):
Fold in the exterior mirrors
Deactivate the rain sensor (press the button on the wiper lever)
Drive into the automated car wash
Shift into N (neutral)

BMW Drop-Off
USA - United Stevedores Amsterdam
Ruijgoordweg 80
Havennummer: 7989
1047 HM Amsterdam
Phone: +31 (0) 20 611 6688
Email: usa-dropoff@usamsterdam.com
Hours of operation:
Monday through Friday 7:00AM to 3:00PM
GPS: 52.4164334, 4.7572417
GPS: N 052° 24.591, E 04° 45.261
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-20-2015 at 11:57 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:18 AM   #15
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15 - Amsterdam

Attractions
iamsterdam Visitor Centre (iamsterdam City Card, 24, 48, 72 hr)
Anne Frank House (reserve tickets online in advance for English introduction)
Westerkerk Church Tower
Tulip Museum
Van Gogh Museum
Rijksmuseum
Iamsterdam Sign (in front of Rijksmuseum)
Stedelijk Contemporary Museum
Diamond Museum / Coster Diamonds
Rembrandt House Museum
Museum Van Loon
Museum Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder
Amsterdam Museum
Begijnhof
Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt)
Heineken Experience
Canal Cruises
Eye Film Institute (take ferry behind the Central Train Station)
Nemo Science Center

After checking into my hotel, I walked over to the iamsterdam Visitor Center and bought a 72 hr iamsterdam City Card. This card will get you free access to many attractions along with some discounts on others. It will also give you free use of the trams and buses for the time period that you select. This card saved me lots of money and includes an excellent map of the City with all the attractions clearly located on it. The iamsterdam Visitor Center is in front of the Central Train Station. Directly to the left of the Visitor Centre is the GVB Public Transport Office where you can pick up a transit map with tram and bus lines. Amsterdam has so many canals laid out in a radial pattern that it is difficult to orient yourself so I constantly relied of the map. Instead of walking, all the locals use a bike to get around the City so be conscious of staying out of the often crowded bike lanes.

By far the two most popular attractions are the Ann Frank House and the Van Gough Museum. The line to get into the Ann Frank House can be as much as a 3-4 hour wait! The line is incredibly long because the House is very small with narrow stairs and not designed to handle millions of people slowly walking through it every year. I purchased a ticket online 3 months in advance and just had to wait 10 minutes to get in a separate entry which included a 30 minute English introduction which was excellent and the best 30 minutes of my time. I also recommend that you read the Diary of Ann Frank before you visit which I did. To avoid the horrendous lines, buy tickets online in advance or stop by around 7-8pm after having dinner. The lines are short that late with most people eating dinner and they are open till 10pm. Adjacent to the Ann Frank House is the Westerkerk Church Tower. They offer a tour to climb to the top of the tower with awesome views of the City. You have to make reservations in the lobby and book a tour in advance because each 30 minute tour is limited to only 6 people.

The second most popular attraction is the Van Gough Museum and is free with the iamsterdam Card. I recommend showing up around 8:45am to beat the long lines. They open at 9am. The English audio tour is extra but recommended.
After the Van Gough Museum, there is another museum right next door called the Stedelijk Contemporary Museum that is also free with the Card and currently has a great exhibit on Matisse paper cut-outs. I used the Iamsterdam City Card to take trams and buses to farther destinations to save on time and painful feet. You need to scan the card both when you enter and exit the vehicles.

Amsterdam is a city filled with an endless number of museums so if you have limited time or not interested in museums, than I recommend just going to the Ann Frank House and Van Gough Museum.

I asked my hotel to reserve an airport shuttle to go to Schiphol Amsterdam Airport and it cost 17 euros from my hotel to the airport.

You can reserve a shuttle at:
http://www.schipholhotelshuttle.nl/
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-21-2015 at 07:32 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:19 AM   #16
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16 - Redelivery Tracking

Most people who do ED are anxious about getting their vehicle back and like to track the progress and timing of their vehicle’s journey from Europe to the United States.

There are a variety of variables involved in the transit process and timing of your vehicle delivery back to the US.
For example, I dropped off my car in Amsterdam and it took two weeks for it to get trucked to the port in Bremerhaven and get onto the Toledo vehicle carrier. I initially did not know the name of the vessel my car got onto in order to track it.

Call your dealer to get an update on the status and location of your vehicle.

You can also try calling BMW genius with your production number and they might be able to help you with transit status.
1.844.4GENIUS (443-6487)

There is a VDC phone number 1-800-932-0831 that you can ask for an update.

If you have your VIN, you can go to the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) 2wglobal.com web site to see the status of your car. The tracking can only start once your vehicle gets to Bremerhaven and has been scanned into their system which can take from 2-3 weeks from the day of drop-off. Once scanned, your vehicle will be assigned to a vessel which is based on the VDC destination.

Here are the steps:
1. Go to 2wglobal.com
2. Click on "Track & trace"
3. Where it says “Cargo ID” on the right empty box, enter your Full or last 7 digits of your VIN and click the “Track” button.

Once your vessel has departed Bremerhaven or other port, you can track its progress on the open oceans by using the vessel name to search for it on the following web sites:

Marine Traffic:

http://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/...tery:9/zoom:11

Fleetmon:

https://www.fleetmon.com/

If your vehicle is going to Port Hueneme in Oxnard, California then you can use these additional tracking web sites:

Panama Canal Web Cams:
http://www.pancanal.com/eng/photo/camera-java.html

Port Hueneme Calendar:
http://www.portofhueneme.org/vesselschedule/

Once your vehicle departs the VDC, you can track your vehicle on the following web site:

United Road:
http://www.unitedroad.com/search-by-vin.php

Port processing usually takes 1-2 weeks. That includes US Customs. All you will see is "discharged" as a status. This time can get longer if your vehicle is damaged and needs repairs.
Once it is cleared for trucking, (COFT) your dealer may get a notification.

Vehicle Delivery Center (VDC)
The BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) is the point of entry for BMW’s, Mini’s, and Rolls Royce’s into the United States. BMW currently has Four VDCs in the United States as follows:

The New Jersey VDC supports eight States.
The Baltimore VDC at the Port of Baltimore process cars destined for the Central and Eastern States.
The Brunswick, Georgia VDC receives cars destined for the Southeastern States.
The Port Hueneme VDC at Oxnard, California receives cars for the West Coast States.

A new VDC is currently under construction at the Port of Galveston, Texas which will serve Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas and is planned to become operational in early 2016.

There are five departments at the VDC, not including administrative and management functions:

Production – processes the car, performs the pre-delivery inspection, inspects for damage, removes shipping labels
Workshop – performs mechanical repairs, campaigns, software updates; installs accessories such as driving lights and power kits
Body Shop – performs body repair, paint, repairs of scratches and scuffs, paintless dent removal; installs body kits
Quality– monitors procedures, reports issues to the factory, ensures quality control throughout the facility
Parts – stocks and distributes replacement parts

Upon entering the VDC, the vehicles are washed and driven into the processing area at the VDC. After its bath, USA-specific supplies such as warranty information are added.

The vehicles are thoroughly inspected for any damage; for European Delivery vehicles, this includes damage that might have occurred when the car was in use in Europe as such repairs are covered by the special European Delivery insurance program. No damage was found but damage could have occurred during use in Europe and during transport. For cars with body damage, the VDC's repairs are virtually indistinguishable from the factory’s repairs.

Various stickers, such as the accessory installation warning sticker that goes on the windshield and the roadside assistance sticker, are placed on the vehicle.

The VDC is especially concerned with safety-related damage or defects such as a chipped windshield or gouges in wheels. All defective parts are immediately disposed of to ensure that such parts do not inadvertently end up on a car in the future.

VDC personnel also check for any factory defects such as "airbag light on." Any campaigns (normal updates) are performed if necessary and the car's paper trail is reviewed.

At this point, the vehicles are placed on what the VDC calls the "pad," which is where cars sit waiting to be trucked to the dealerships.

Redelivery
From the day I dropped off the car in Amsterdam to the day the car arrived at my local dealer in the San Francisco Bay Area was 7 weeks and 3 days. That is actually quite good considering that BMW states 8-10 weeks for West Coast re-deliveries.

The car arrived at my local dealership, BMW Concord. Thanks to Donna and Scott for a great reintroduction experience. Other than the European license plates and vignettes which I had requested to remain, it looked like a new showroom fresh car even with a Monroney sticker. They prepped and detailed the car so that it looked better now than when I picked it up at BMW Welt. They also confirmed that the 1,200 mile M service was done by the VDC.
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 09-22-2015 at 07:23 AM.
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      09-20-2015, 07:20 AM   #17
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17 – Accessories

I decided that I did not need any performance related modifications because the car is already fast enough for me and I don’t plan on taking it to the track. These modifications are typically much more expensive and you lose most of the costs when you sell the car.

I focused on minor exterior and interior accessory upgrades which were relatively inexpensive and gave me the most bang for the buck. The kidney grilles were replaced with IND gloss black painted kidney full grille set with M stripes and the front reflectors were replaced with color matching IND painted front reflectors. IND custom painted color matched license plate frame was used in the rear. Four color matched screw caps were also provided with the IND frame although I only used two. I bought the silver Nurburgring sticker at the Nurburgring Paddock gift shop. You can also purchase them from their web site for 7 euros each plus shipping.

In the interior, I ordered the BMW OEM DCT carbon fiber console trim from IND. The Pedal Haus Sports anodized black aluminum pedal set was ordered from EAS.

I purchased the IND items during their Labor Day sale where they gave 12% off of everything. The total cost of all these accessories was around $1,000. I did the installation of all the accessories myself with the help of installation videos and tips from the cosmetic forum threads. Thanks everyone.

The only other accessories planned shortly are Xpel Ultimate full front paint protection film and a personalized license plate
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Last edited by Jedi_M; 10-24-2015 at 03:37 PM.
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      09-20-2015, 08:44 AM   #18
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holy write up! Love it all so far! ill check back in later today when you have the rest posted up!
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      09-20-2015, 10:16 AM   #19
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Yea keep it coming great trip report. I wish I had the time to write my journal.
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      09-20-2015, 10:48 AM   #20
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Bravo!
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      09-20-2015, 11:38 AM   #21
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Wow!! Gorgeous pics, fantastic writeup...and looking forward to the rest. Looks and sounds like you had an absolute blast!!
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      09-20-2015, 12:11 PM   #22
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Beautiful template of European delivery, poetry.
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