Odometer

I always see the photos in the back of the Roundel from member showing their odometer photos showing fun numbers figures, well I took a few of my own.

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Favorite Car Photos

I added some larger, edited, photos of the car from the trip.

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The European Delivery Experience: Conclusions

First off would like to thank the Bimmerfest Forum and all of its members for providing invaluable information regarding the whole process as well as their tips/experiences with their own European Deliveries. I took the time to write up my own experience to offer something back to the community and further help people plan their own trips. I truly do hope it helps provide some better feedback on what to expect from your experience and how to plan your own journey.

BMW provides us with this excellent program and I do hope many more people take part of it. It’s an experience like no other; I can assure you of that. The discounted pricing of the car, the experience of picking up the car at the BMW Welt, driving your car on the roads it was made for, and experiencing other foreign cultures, are just a few of the perks this program offers. You can plan your own journey and experience it in the car you have ordered for yourself; exactly how you wanted it built. The choices in trip planning are totally endless, all of Europe is beautiful! If you are interested in doing the European Delivery, talk to one of the specialists on the Bimmerfest Forum, they will take good care of you. Just remember, you can purchase your car through any dealer in the United States, it does not need to be a local dealership. Sometimes dealerships try to get you to simply buy a car of their lot, and make it seem like the European delivery is a huge hassle. It’s not a hassle at all, and the savings and experience are worth it if you have the time and patience.

We finished the journey with 2150 miles, which was done in exactly one week, accumulating to 50 hours of driving time. Originally, I had planned about 1000 miles on this trip, but when your on a long road trip and have your own car, plans can change in an instant with a simple idea. We drove and experienced the beauty of 5 countries; Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Now its just time to wait about a month or so to see my “new” car back in the United States. Patience is Virtue.

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“Bimmer Heaven”

Departed the hotel by 8:30am and stopped for breakfast on the way out of the city. There was a place called Bagels & Beans which made some very good sandwiches. It was very different than the “New York” style bagel, in regards to taste, but still delicious.

Today was drop off day in Bremerhaven, also called “Bimmer Heaven” since the cars ship out of this port city. The drive was an estimated 4 hours to Bremerhaven from Amsterdam. Once we drove through the border into Germany, there was a checkpoint. I am still unsure of what they were looking for, but we were one of the cars that got pulled to the side. I guess the export plates and shiny blue car stood out. The German Police were very polite, asked me for our passports and cart documents. I provided them with my license and the registration/insurance cards BMW provided me. They were back in about 10 minutes and set us on our way.

Since we had to drive through Bremen on the way to Bremerhaven, we stopped in to our hotel and checked in. Main reason being that for once the navigation had failed us; it could not locate the address provided by BMW on the drop off list. The receptionist was able to provide us turn by turn directions that she had printed out. I don’t know if it was a glitch in the navigation or simply hadn’t been updated in a while, but I wasn’t too happy about it. It took us about 45 mins to get up to Bremerhaven drop off, which was called BLG Logistics Autotec Center. We got the front gate, and an escort car had to come and we followed it to the building where they take care of all the paperwork. Once we got to the building I removed the front license plate so I could take it as a souvenir. I was surprised how easily it came off. We were greeted by the employees when we sat down; everyone was very nice and inviting. A lady approached us and I gave them the documents that BMW provided me with. She asked to give her a few minutes to type up the paperwork. Once she came back she had everything taken car of. I just needed to sign a few documents. I was very pleased with the service at this drop off point. Originally I was a little worried because it had seemed no one really spoke that well of English at this location, but once I saw all the documents she prepared I was relived. There was a notice from BMW and it listed the correct port the car was being shipped too, which was Newark NJ.

We asked when the car would be leaving the port, and she said by next Thursday or Friday, which was about a week wait. If it is indeed a week, I will be very pleased. Another 10 days or so to cross the Atlantic, then another week through customs and vehicle preparation, which is looking like about 4 weeks total from drop off to dealership. I will definitely keep you all updated to when I actually receive the car. I think its best to be reasonable and not set your expectation on receiving the car very soon. Delays seem to be a usual thing with the European Delivery cars, but I plan to stay hopeful of a quick turn around.

They took a condition report of the car, and gave me copies of all the documents. I had to give them one key, and then parked the car in the parking lot and said goodbye. I was relieved no one asked about what happened with the front plate, I think they understood I wanted to keep it. The escort car came back around to pick us up and drop us off at the front gate. The man at the gate called for a taxi and we took it to the local central train station.

The tickets back to Bremen were 10.70 Euros each, which was great considering how much a taxi would have cost us. The train took about 45 mins to reach Bremen since it had local stops, but it was a very smooth and relaxing ride. The train stopped at Bremen’s Central train station, which happened to be right next to our Marriot hotel. We stopped in for a drink, and then got directions to the downtown area. It was a 15 minute walk to downtown. Downtown Bremen had a nice charm to it all, it was very European; a city that I would recommend to anyone visiting Germany.

We settled in pretty early to get some rest and prepare for our departure in the morning. Our flight departs at 10:20am in Bremen Airport, which has a connecting flight in Frankfurt, back on our way to Newark NJ.

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Amsterdam

We left the hotel in Dusseldorf, Germany at 8:30am and headed toward Amsterdam. This road trip was quick; it was about 2 hours away making it a very easy going drive. By 11am we had checked in to the hotel and dropped off our luggage. We set out to walk the town. We stopped by the Heineken Experience, which was a pretty cool tour through the original brewery. At the end of the tour they allowed you to have two beers in their bar area. The tour wasn’t anything spectacular but pretty interesting none the less. We made it through the tour in about an hour, and made our way toward the Van Gogh Museum, which was down the street. The Van Gogh Museum was very good. They pretty much had all of his work inside. The line to get in was out the door, about 45 minutes long, but it was worth it. I would recommend both of these museums to anyone visiting Amsterdam.

The rest of the day we spent walking around the city. Amsterdam, like most other older European cities are very walk able. They also have trams going through the city in case you rather take public transportation, but I feel walking is the best way to experience the city and everything it has to offer. Amsterdam is a great city to visit, although I don’t think I would want to stay for longer than 2-3 nights. One night was enough for me and I think that’s why we planned a rather short stay here. Amsterdam is a very laid back city compiled of people from all around the world. Nearly everyone speaks English here, which is a bonus if you are not familiar with other languages. One thing about Amsterdam is that nearly all the locals use a bicycle as their main transportation. There are so many bicycles parked in the city, I would estimate a 1:1 ratio between people and bicycles, although I will need to look up that statistic at a later time. Using a car in Amsterdam is a little but unreasonable, the streets are very tight and the parking is scarce. If you find parking it is expensive. For the 24 hours that we parked in the hotel’s parking, it was 30 Euros. I saw other parking lots that charged 45 Euro. The weather in Amsterdam was really great today, sunny and in the high 60’s. There are many waterways which make it very unique. It is indeed one of the largest port cities in Europe for exports and imports. If you can, visit Amsterdam while you are in Europe, you wont regret it.

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Porsche & Benz Musuems

We set out for the Porsche Museum first thing in the morning today. What an excellent museum. Really enjoyed the whole exhibition Porsche offered. They nearly had every car in their history, at least all the important ones. They had an array of historical race cars which was an amazing sight to see. What I love about the Porsche design is that most of the designs are timeless. Porsche car designs 20 years ago are still better than most designs today. At the top of the exhibit we saw the newest cars in the line up, which was something that the other museums we visited so far did not offer.

By noon we left and headed toward the Mercedes Benz museum. The drive was about 20 minutes away. When we arrived the museum was very packed, and had to wait in line to park for about half hour. We couldn’t believe it was taking so long. Once we pulled up to the gates we realized the visitors were waiting for the smaller lot, and the one across the street had a few floors worth of spaces, so we drove right in. Once inside, we sat down for a little bit and had lunch. The bistro sold some really great sandwiches and we got a chance to relax. We took the escalator up the stairs and were unpleasantly surprised when we noticed a very long line. The museum was over packed and the lady on the loud speaker made an announcement that they could not let everyone in at once. The waiting time was close to an hour. Once we got through we took an elevator up to the top and were told we make our way down by walking. The museum started with some of the first automobiles of all time. Mercedes as a company dates way back, it really seems like they had their hands in a little bit of everything. The museum was a multiple-level spiraling exhibition. It took a few hours to get down to the bottom, but you could easily spend all day inside. This was the type of auto museum that you did not need to be a car nut to enjoy; it was very informative from all aspects and included a lot of historical connections. Our favorite part was the motorsports section, all the way at the first floor. I guess they saved the best part for last!

Both of these museums I would highly recommend to anyone passing through Stuttgart, just make sure you dedicate a good amount of time for each museum; these are not museums you want to rush through.

We left at about 5pm and drove nearly 5 hours to pick up my mother at Weeze Airport. I was very glad to see her; she flew in from Poland to meet up with us. Then it was another hour to the Marriot Hotel. On the way to the airport we hit a section of the autobahn with unlimited speed limit. An Audi passed us and I figured I would try to keep up with him. Eventually a car got in my lane, which allowed him to put some distance on us. The road was very empty and I was pushing the car for close to 15 minutes without interruption at speed between 110-140mph. I never did catch up to that Audi, my guess is that he had the car maxed out, pushing over 150mph. I am very amazed with how stable this car feels at such high speeds. It inspires total confidence. I had a smile from ear to ear, but a part of me was sad because I knew that this was probably the last time I would be able to do such a thing.

We arrived at the hotel with 1790 miles on the odometer. It was now time to catch some rest; all the walking and driving really drained our energy.

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Driving on the German Auto Bahn

Well after putting all these miles on the car, I have to admit that driving in the US with this car will not be the same. The Germans are far superior drivers compared to what we put up with the US. They are respectful and courteous, best of all very safe because they are conscious of their environment. They are also patient and don’t pull any dangerous stunts that you see people in the US do such as the 3-lane change. The majority of drivers also do not tail gate, they leave a safe distance between them and the car in front. Many parts of the autobahn that we have driven on had unrestricted speed limits. The left most lane is only for passing, no one here does passing on any other lane.

Earlier on the way to the race track I had a chance to basically max out the car for a brief moment, reaching 150mph. This type of speed is completely unacceptable in the US and I can see why now; the majority of drivers just do not know how to drive properly. Here in Germany the drivers are aware, they know when you are traveling at a higher rate of speed and simply move out of your way. Germany does not have those lane hoggers we do in the US, which think the left lane is simply another normal lane.

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