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Published: March 7th 2015
Departure Area at Philadelphia International
What a great airport. Barely anyone in line and quick, easy lines at security. Far less stressful than our experiences at Newark.
I had been waiting for the chance to do another BMW European Delivery about a month after our first BMW arrived in the USA. I had over two years to research and plan this. BMW Financial Services started reminding me that the lease on our 2012 BMW 128i was coming to an end almost 6 months before the actual expiration. I tried working with a number of local dealerships but none were willing to work with me solely over the internet. They wanted to set things up over the phone or have me come to their dealerships to discuss my requirements. I felt that doing things through email would give me a much better method of pulling up facts and comparisons. Having dealt with car salesmen and their high pressure BS in person many times over the past 45 years I felt having a tool like my PC at hand to calmly review their counter proposals would be the best route. I sent out my list of options and leasing desires to not just BMW dealers, but to Audi and Mercedes-Benz as well, None could grasp the concept of working over the internet. Eventually through the auspices of Bimmerfest.com I found
a dealership 1000 miles away in Florida, Braman BMW of West Palm Beach, who would do things my
way. Taking the European Delivery invoice price and adding $500 as profit for the dealership we quickly settled on a price. Everything was done through emails and paperwork was overnighted to us via FedEx. It took BMW about 6 weeks to get the car built and shipped to Munich for pickup. All along the way I feared something would screw up our plans. But the truth is, things couldn't have gone any smoother. I worried until the day before we left that somehow there would be a hidden cost I missed and somehow the lease payment would soar. Believe it or not, I was getting a new car with far many more options than the previous one for $25.00 per month less. I call that a good deal.
We flew out from Philly on Friday night on US Air. Not recommended if you're actually paying but we had frequent flyer miles. No frills at all, rather small plane, unspectacular service and weak entertainment screen. But the flight went smoothly and quickly. Kudos to the flight crew
The Most Fun Paperwork Can Ever Be
Immediately upon arrival in the lounge area I was summoned into the office area to sign a dozen sheets of paper absolving BMW of blame for any stupid acts I might perform while on vacation in my new car. I got to keep the pen which made it all worthwhile.
who landed us in an immense fog. No one in the cabin knew we were even near the ground until the wheels touched the tarmac. We were off the plane quickly and sprinted for the immigration line. This turned out to be the one and only disappointment in the trip so far. Normally the Germans are ultra-efficient but Pass Kontrolle was a mess - no designated lines. Just a mass of tired grouchy people (mostly Americans) trying to get to baggage
claim over and through each other. Morons. We were almost the last ones through the morass and when we reached the baggage
carousel, the luggage had still not arrived.
We had our bags a few minutes later after first utilizing the almost immaculate airport toilets (next time I may even do a costume change there upon arrival), As soon as we emerged from baggage claim into the terminal I saw the Sixt chauffeur provided by BMW with my name and the BMW logo held up on his IPad. He wheeled both our bags out to his humongous 5 series GT. A couple bottles of water and some candy awaited us in our luxurious back row seats. This car
Breakfast of Champions at the Welt
Despite being well-fed on the overnight flight, I had no hesitation in grabbing myself a hearty, healthy free Frühstück.
was more deluxe than most limos I've had to squeeze into over the years. Not my kind of car but it was impressive and elegant.
We never caught the guy's name but he quickly whisked us to the Welt. The fog didn't seem quite so nasty on the roads but I was praying this guy would be able to stop this 100 mph tank in time for any Stau we might ebcounter up ahead. I'd say we got there in record time. Our plane landed at 8:45 and we were in downtown Munich by 10:00. Incredibly, just as we reached the MINI dealership a half block away from the Welt, the sun emerged. Really!
Our chauffeur unloaded our bags and ushered us inside to the Welt reception desk. He reluctantly accepted the beer money I pressed into his palm then disappeared. For the next six hours we were in the capable and loving arms of the Volk of the Welt.
After just a few minutes of formalities where we registered our arrival and checked our gigantic suitcases, we were escorted upstairs to the adult fun zone - aka The Lounge. As soon as we exited the elevator
Gail Grabs a Weisswurst
Note the kids at the computers at the other end. Free WiFi and computers to use. The lounge is the best part of the whole European Delivery process.
a receptionist greeted us and asked if we wanted to handle our paperwork right away. This took just a few minutes for my signing of a dozen documents or so and then the BMW rep asked us if we wanted to move up our delivery to 10:30 instead of 1:30. I didn't want to miss out on the first of many Weisswurst I felt I had coming to me. We settled on an 11:00 am pick-up. Truth be known, 90% of the reason Gail agreed to let me do this whole ED for a second time was her fond memories of those little sausages. We popped open a couple of Hefe Weizens and loaded our plates with Wursts. mustard and a massive pretzel. I swear the lounge manager remembered my wife and I from the last time we wiped out their Weisswurst chafing dish. He fawned over us all day and ensured we always had something to gorge ourselves on.
Precisely at 11 Benjamin, our delivery specialist, introduced himself. He gallantly asked if we wanted to keep eating and delay the delivery. Knowing those sausages would soon be reeking their vengeance on us I declined hoping we could get
Time to Get Serious
Round One of German Thanksgiving
away before too much damage was done to all those nice people sitting in the lounge. Benjamin was the greatest. A very very funny and knowledgeable guy. We didn't dawdle with all the propaganda stuff they show you down in the demo area. We went quickly to the Stairway to Heaven. On our previous ED we were lucky enough to see our new baby pop up into the world as she emerged from the elevator rising from the Welt basement. Today our car was already spinning around for us on a turntable. Oh how she sparkled! I knew she would never look that clean ever again.
Benjamin spent a good deal of time introducing us to all the new toys that I had ordered on our 2015 X1 128x (Ultimate package, H/K sound and Winter Package). I was (and still am) totally confused by the auto transmission. I never get it right the first time I need to get in gear or put her in Park. He not only went over all the points of the Navigation system and media menus but also gave us great travel advice, secret info about the Germans and convinced us BMW is simply
the greatest company in the World. All with plenty of humor thrown in. I wanted to take him with us on the rest of our week long trip.
Alas, he soon had another victim awaiting. After our victory lap we had the Welt guys park our car while we did the museum and returned for more eats in the lounge. Honestly, I was not all that impressed by the museum. I like Audi's far better. Maybe I just burned out on museums after having visited so many over the past 40 years of touring Europe. We got to stay a little bit longer than intended when Gail thought she lost her IPad Mini. We had half the staff of the Welt tearing the place apart looking for it. Eventually, after another round of Wursts and pretzels, we realized that Benjamin probably moved it around in the backseat of the car when he hopped in to give us our lessons. Sure enough, we found it buried under a bag. After apologizing to the Welt personnel and thanking them for one of the best days ever, we headed-off toward Bad Reichenhall for our first of two nights at the Vier Jahreszeiten.
By the way, yes we did get a full tank of gas, two safety vests, a ten Euro voucher for the gift shop and a free engraved key ring. This time the girl doing the engraving was far friendlier than the one on our previous visit in 2012.
Leaving the Welt I was depending not only on the new car's navigation system but also my Garmin Nuvi
just in case. Escaping Munich on a Saturday afternoon was a breeze. Both nav systems had us arriving in Bad Reichenhall in less than an hour and a half. In a fit of hubris I blurted out to my wife "I don't understand why so many guys on Bimmerfest and Bavaria Ben's website complain about Munich traffic. We've never had a problem. You just have to time your departure". Sure enough, within 5 minutes we found ourselves in the nastiest traffic jam I ever faced. It was stop and go for close to 30 miles! The car computer had us averaging 23 miles per hour. The road was full of cars with ski racks from virtually every country we could think of in Europe. Even Andorra. Meanwhile tandem
Welt Lounge Panorama
Maybe on the next ED we'll spend the first night at hotel near the Welt. Then we can get drunk all day and not have to worry about driving.
semis hogged the two right lanes as they tried to reach rest stops before the Sunday curfew began. A huge mess. Finally after a total delay of almost an hour and a half the A8 Autobahn branched-off in different directions with most of the traffic heading South toward Kufstein, Austria. Even though we were now on a mere two lane eastbound highway we breezed on toward Bad Reichenhall. Now I was getting a chance to fall in love with this car. So many electronic toys to distract me from driving. Luckily I couldn't find my IPod cord so I was forced to listen to that horrible German pop music. It kept me wide awake all the way. Of course I continually cycled through all the pages of info on the nav system and steering wheel stalk.
We had stayed at the Vier Jahreszeiten in Bad Reichenhall previously. We were not all disappointed upon our return. It's a modest little establishment with private parking, a quiet location and very reasonable rates. And the free breakfast is fantastic. The proprietors were very helpful with suggestions and money-saving tips for visiting the local attractions.
After quickly dropping a few things off
in our room we headed-off to nearby Salzburg for dinner. The huge public parking lot for the Altstadt (Old City) is situated inside the mountain towering over old Salzburg. Plenty of parking and no worries regarding door-smashers or bumper scrapers. We were able to locate an isolated space right by the elevator bank.
On our visit at Christmas in 2013 the Sternbrau was closed due to renovations. We were eager to return and were very happy to duck inside to escape the bitter cold on the nearly deserted Getreidegasse. Having passed by all those beckoning bottles of beer as we departed from the Welt I was dying for ein Mass. I don't remember how the beer tasted but it was certainly a big glass. Once I put a serious dent in my drink I decided to peruse the menu. After all those sausages at the Welt I had had enough of animal flesh for the day. My wife and I both ordered a magnificent spinach infused Knodel. It was divine. And it was about this time I began to feel the effects of going 35 hours without sleep. Fortunately the stores were closed and Gail was also flagging at
this point. After a brisk walk through the Getreidegasse to find an ATM and check out real estate prices in the shop windows, we had enough and decided to head back to the hotel. The rest is a blur. I recall the room being a little chilly but under that down comforter I was quite comfortable. I was in bed by 10:30 and was unconscious until 8:30 the next morning.
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