The Old Folks Meet an Old Friend and Make Some New Ones Too.

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April 24th 2018
Published: May 30th 2018
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This must be the placeThis must be the placeThis must be the place

Our two favorite brands are featured inside BMW Welt. Five MINI Coopers and three BMWs with a possible fourth waiting inside for us.
As mentioned previously my one and only complaint about the LetoMotel Munich (forgetting the cruise ship size tiny rooms) was the fact that breakfast was not included. A bakery occupied the same building but that appealed to neither of us.

I had read online that some customers had gone to BMW Welt a day earlier than their scheduled pick up day simply to do the paperwork first and save themselves time on the big day. They were then permitted to go up to the Lounge to partake of the amenities high above the facility. Since the Welt was just two subway stops away we figured it was worth a try. Maybe we could even get the car a day earlier. It was worth a try.

The location of the Olympia Zentrum U-Bahn stop couldn't be any more convenient to BMW's facilities in Munich. As soon as we exited the station we saw row upon row of tethered bicycles owned by the BMW plant workers. Across the street was the main entrance to the factory. A hundred yards away was the front door of BMW Welt with the four towers of the cylinders-shaped headquarters building just
The Munich BMW factoryThe Munich BMW factoryThe Munich BMW factory

To the left is just a small part of the Munich plant. A guided tour is available and it encompasses a nearly three mile walk through just a few of the shops. On the right are the main offices.
a little further away. I found it ironic that there was not an automobile parking lot for the employees anywhere nearby.

With the kind of immaculate professionalism and courtesy we have always enjoyed in dealing with BMW, the concierge at the entrance listened to us explain our early check-in idea and immediately guided us to the elevator up to the Lounge level. No questions, no challenges. Upon reaching the top floor staff members met us and led us to the Lounge front desk. Once we explained that we had hoped to do our paperwork a day early the representative apologized and said that the car was still inbound and the paperwork would not be there until later that day. Like a true schnorrer I then asked if we might use the lounge instead. “Why of course Herr Lund, help yourself”.

Big mistake on their part. In this manner we got ourselves a nice breakfast and a chance to explore the many changes that the Lounge had undergone since our last visit. Instead of maintaining the “living room” motif of leather sofas and coffee tables which probably resulted in coffee spills and Semmelbrot crumbs landing
Past the vortex and in through the entrancePast the vortex and in through the entrancePast the vortex and in through the entrance

The unique architecture of BMW Welt draws millions of visitors each year. It made us feel special to walk inside and get immediate VIP treatment from the staff.
in all the cracks and crevices, the Lounge looked more like a restaurant now. Most of the room was decorated with square tables complimented by booths and dining room chairs. There were still a few long sofas at the back of the room. Most likely for those that had flown in that same day and needed to catch 40 winks. The buffet table was hidden from view by a wall now. And best of all, the WiFi was lightning fast.

As we sat down to eat our breakfast Weisswurst, orange juice, a hard roll and deli meats I got a message from our buddy, Jurgen. He thought my previous day's message about being in Munich was a joke. I texted him back saying we were now in BMW Welt eating sausages. He told us he was also in town leading a tour. We agreed to meet him at the fish fountain in the Marienplatz at 1 o'clock.

We stayed up in the lounge for another hour and a half using the WiFi and watching other BMW customers picking up their cars. None were Americans. I could tell because none of the cars in the
View to the pickup area from the LoungeView to the pickup area from the LoungeView to the pickup area from the Lounge

The elevator in the center brings your car up from the staging area below. Your car is then driven a short distance to one of those revolving circular pods. Spotlights highlights your new purchase as it spins on the turntable.
receiving area below us had the red transit Munich license plates that warn the locals that an American is driving. Nobody acted as excited and giddy as I knew we would be the next day. The Germans are a stoic race. We were fascinated by two young couples sitting behind us in the Lounge. The girls wore dresses that showed more leg than a bikini. Their male counterparts looked like cast members of Jersey Shore. The girls seemed totally uninterested in the whole event while the two guys tried so hard to act macho and ultra cool as they picked up their man purses and headed downstairs to see their new car.

Things were rather slow up in the Lounge so before heading off to see Jurgen we went downstairs to look around in the Welt gift shop. I was surprised that the prices here were even more ridiculous than those at our local dealership. Nothing particularly appealed to either of us. $75 for a polo shirt is out of my price range. Jackets were over a hundred bucks. All around us a busload of Asian visitors was scooping up everything on the racks. BMW Welt is
Part of the new look LoungePart of the new look LoungePart of the new look Lounge

This photo might make the customer experience look a little like a diner. Believe me, it isn't. There is a nice selection of treats just beyond that wall and buyers are welcome to help themselves.
considered one of the top two attractions in Munich. Based on all the selfie posers we kept bumping into this has to be true.

We were at the fish fountain a half hour early. I hadn't counted on German efficiency when I calculated how long it would take us to get from the Welt to Marienplatz. It looked like this was a popular meeting spot as all around us people were hugging and shaking hands. I'm glad we got here early because while we waited a zeppelin passed overhead. Very cool.

Precisely at one I saw a gaggle of starry-eyed Americans wandering toward the fish fountain. Leading his people like a surfer Moses was our Jurgen. Obviously he made some sort of rude comment about the two of us because we could see his charges laughing as he pointed our way.

After discharging his group he headed our way and almost immediately informed us that he was hungry. We suggested going over to the nearby Viktualienmarkt. I knew he was happy to see us because he actually ordered a beer. This time we sat in the section where we wouldn't have to pay for waiter service. I went up to the bar window and grabbed three beers. He had much to tell us but first he disappeared to get himself something to eat.

We sat and caught up on all the things that had transpired since last we had seen him back in July 2017. He was still living both in the Canary Islands and Sardinia. His vineyard was doing fine but he needed a tractor. Then he pulled out his phone to show us picture after picture of his spoiled little daughter. The poor kid is just like her papa. He tried to act interested in our pictures of our kids and grand kids but it was more entertaining to just let him talk. The strangest stuff seems to happen to this guy when he's on tour. I can understand why he keeps doing it year after year. He is the most un-German German I ever met. He still doesn't understand our love for all things Teutonic. He laughs at our love of Würsts and beer. He wondered why we keep buying BMWs. The Bavarian accent makes him chuckle. He thinks it's always cold in Northern Europe
Temptations galoreTemptations galoreTemptations galore

I'm not really sure why the Welt offers free beer to customers about to hop into their new $50.000 cars, but here they still believe in individual accountability. Let the passengers get plastered and it's up to the new car driver to stay sober. By now I was beginning to get a bit "beered-out" so I drank orange juice instead.
even on a day like today with 75 degree temperatures.. He'd much rather be on a beach sipping wine and eating seafood.But he is every bit as efficient as his fellow countrymen. He's a stickler for schedules and always makes sure to spend time with each and every person on his tours.

He had to meet up again with his group after lunch so we didn't get to hear all his adventures. We agreed we might meet up again later in the afternoon . When he left we ordered another round of beer then heard American voices at the table behind us. They were from Washington state. They were as much in love with Germany as we were. It was a husband and wife, her mother and a baby. They had rented an Air BnB apartment nearby. Of peculiar interest to me was the fact that when they were in Rothenburg-ob-der-Tauber the apartment they had rented was owned by none other that Georg the Night Watchman. We had done the tour of the old town at least four times with him over the years. Their trip was ending while ours was just beginning. We discovered that they
BMW calls it "The Stairway to Heaven"BMW calls it "The Stairway to Heaven"BMW calls it "The Stairway to Heaven"

Tomorrow Gail and I would be walking down these same steps to pick up our new car. It's all designed to enhance the delivery experience. From here you can see your new car from various angles. It'll never look that clean ever again. The white car below is the M2 safety car that usually guides you as you make your way out of the Welt.
shared the same Wanderlust that we had. They had been everywhere around the world even though I doubt they had reached their thirties yet. We talked a bit about cars and beers then they headed-off somewhere else.

We decided sitting around like this was a waste of time. We decided to go visit a Munich site we had never been able to see on previous visits. Rick Steves had raved about the Chinese Tower at the Englischer Gardens. We got back on the subway to go take a look. Halfway between the Universität U-Bahn station and the Englischer Gardens I needed a restroom. As luck would have it there was a portable toilet just behind some bushes. The Germans think of everything.

It was a bit of a hike to get to this huge inner city park but it was a perfectly lovely stroll all the way. It felt ten degrees cooler under the shade of the tall trees. All around people had spread blankets and were trying to get a pre-Summer tan. We spotted the Chinese Tower from a fair distance. No one was there, but just a little farther up the path
An interesting groupAn interesting groupAn interesting group

Once again I was a little too slow getting my camera into position. These are the mini skirt Mommas and their slickster fellas on their way down to pick up their new car. Europeans have to pay hundreds of dollars for the experience of Welt delivery. Americans not only get free access to the Lounge but save on the price of the car over American delivery.
stood a huge beer garden. It didn't take much convincing to get Gail to join me for another round of beers. The setup was reminiscent of a state fair or carnival in the fact that you had to enter a cordoned-off area where food and beer booths had been established. You place your order at each and hand carry your goods to the exit gate where a clerk takes your money, charges you a deposit and gives you a slug with your change which meant nothing to us at the time.

We sat down in the perfect spot with me in the shade and Gail sitting in the sun she worshiped. We hadn't been sitting there more than a few minutes when across the wide expanse of outdoor tables I saw the same American family we had been talking to back in the Viktualienmarkt.. The young guy yelled out our names across the expanse as they headed our way. They had walked from the Viktualienmarkt to get here. After we explained how the ordering system worked they headed off to sit far away from us. They had enough of the two old farts bragging about their new BMW.

As the time to meet Jurgen again approached we went back to return our beer steins. The guy working the return booth asked us something neither of us understood then shrugged his shoulders as we walked away. After one more bathroom pit stop we passed by the mug returns window again just as a better informed customer reached in his pocket and handed the worker one of those slugs. Now we got it. We handed the guy our slugs and got back 2 Euro from our deposit.

We were running late. We half sprinted back to the U-Bahn stop. We were supposed to meet him at 4:30 but we arrived ten minutes late. He was no where to be seen. After ten more minutes he showed-up and made us scurry off with him to the Apple store. He wanted to check out the Ipad Pro and knew nothing about them. I'm not much of a tech guy myself but I knew what questions to ask. As luck would have it one of the workers was an American kid who had emigrated from Florida. We found out exactly what Jurgen needed/wanted and promised to
Waiting at the fish fountainWaiting at the fish fountainWaiting at the fish fountain

This little dog wanted no part of drinking out of this dirty fountain.
check on American pricing once we got home.

Jurgen still had time before meeting his group again at dinner. We found a nice little outdoor place serving ice cold beers. Lucky for us it was warm and we had been working up a sweat as we ran from beer stop to beer stop because this would be our 6th beer of the day. Good thing we weren't driving. Again it was a rather quick drink because he had to meet his tour group at dinner. He invited us to come along.

We had a nice buffet dinner in the Dinea restaurant in the Kaufhof department store. It was surprisingly good. I had the big salad, a Jägerschnitzel (cutlet in mushroom gravy), Pommes Frites, and broccoli. Not gourmet dining but a great deal for the price. An added bonus was the free rest rooms. While I was stuck listening to Jurgen stories Gail hobnobbed with members of the other tour group and let her dinner grow cold.

Here we had to bid adieu to Jurgen knowing that we would see him again in Rome this summer. No need for attending a play
CAT ZeppelinCAT ZeppelinCAT Zeppelin

While we awaited Jurgen this blimp slowly made its way over the Marienplatz. It was an ad for CAT tractors. They must've known Jurgen was shopping for one.
or sporting event when Jurgen's around to entertain. After the tour group left Gail finally got to her dinner. Once she finished that I decided to take a look in the men's department to see if they sold short pants designed for fat old men. I wasn't about to buy those peddlepushers or capris that many of the local geezers favored. It took some searching but we eventually found a department that featured summerwear. Sure enough they even carried a size too large for me. I didn't care if I looked like a non-German tourist. It was getting way too warm not to dress comfortably. That decision made I noticed as the days went along that their were plenty of guys wearing shorts during this early tease of Summer.

Even though it was approaching 9:00 pm it was still light outside. We decided to walk toward the Hofbrau house to see if anything intteresting might be happening. Nothing inside but a bunch of drunk American kids. There was a bigger crowd at the Hard Rock Cafe across the street. From there we walked on Maximillianstrasse toward the State Ballet and National Theater. Then we headed toward the
Maria and childMaria and childMaria and child

The statue of the lady for whom the Marienplatz is named stands in front of the Kaufhof department store.
Odeonplatz U-Bahn stop after passing the Residenz and the old post office. As darkness began to fall so did my eyelids. It was a quick subway ride back to the LetoMotel. We didn't bother turning on the TV or spending much time on the internet. We simply plugged in all our electronics for recharging and went to bed. Tomorrow was gonna be an even better day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 43, Displayed: 31


When you see something you want, buy itWhen you see something you want, buy it
When you see something you want, buy it

I really liked these unique Bavarian lawn balls but did not like the price. I told Gail I'd find one elsewhere for half the price. Never did. It probably would've broken on the flight home anyway.
Back to the ViktualienmarktBack to the Viktualienmarkt
Back to the Viktualienmarkt

And back for more beer and sausages.
A rare Jurgen sightingA rare Jurgen sighting
A rare Jurgen sighting

He actually had a beer with us. The man's usually a wine aficionado. Next time we meet even get him to eat a Wurst.
No, it isn't DisneyworldNo, it isn't Disneyworld
No, it isn't Disneyworld

But it isn't much older. This area of Munich was leveled in WWII. It has all been rebuilt since the 1940's so none of the "old" walls and towers are genuine.
And this is why the Bavarian flag is that shade of blueAnd this is why the Bavarian flag is that shade of blue
And this is why the Bavarian flag is that shade of blue

This would be just one of many picture perfect days in Bavaria. Back home it was still cold and damp. Here the temperatures were in the mid 70's by day and in the 50's at night. Perfect. Unless you're thin-blooded like our German friend.
Back on the U-BahnBack on the U-Bahn
Back on the U-Bahn

Unlike the London Tube riding the Munich subway system was a calm, almost dignified experience. Rarely crowded and devoid of pushy commuters it was a pleasure to ride. I think we got seats every time we got on.
Emerging into the Schwabing districtEmerging into the Schwabing district
Emerging into the Schwabing district

The Universität U-Bahn station is in the middle of two great Munich universities: Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität and the Technical University of Munich. This was another where everyone was getting around on bicycles. It was more dangerous being around them than the car traffic. They ride their bikes on the sidewalks and you don't hear them sneaking up on you until it's almost too late.

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