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Date: Wed, 09 Sep 1998 02:40:00 -0700
From: John Edward Miller <>
Subject: Re: Euro delivery

> I am buying a new BMW this Fall and am considering taking advantage of the
> Euro-delivery program. Is this a good idea? Is it well organized? Is it
> fun? Is it worth it? Is it a pain?

We're currently waiting for our 540i to show up; according to the paperwork it should have gotten into Port Hueneme last Friday.

In late July we flew into Frankfurt, took the ICE to Munich, took delivery, drove from there to Mittenwald, Interlaken by way of the Lake Constance ferry and the Wittelsbach castles, through Chamonix to Taillores, up through the Dijon area, a day around Verdun, two days in Cologne including a day trip back to the Nurburgring and five laps of the old circuit (in drizzly weather, half wet, half dry - kept the bikers away, but I saw a fair bit of the DSC light! It works!), then out to Paris where we dropped the car under Avenue Foch. 2013 miles in a little under two weeks. Add on a couple days in Munich at the beginning and a few days in Paris at the end and all told we spent 17 days.

Is it a good idea? Whether it really saves you any money depends on what model you buy and, of course, how much you spend on a trip you might or might not have otherwise taken. Do you want the vacation?

Is it well organized? Well, the Niederlassung dealership in Munich did okay...they were reasonably thorough showing us around the car, but they let us out the door with the car without checking a bit of ID. It was delivered with imbalanced wheels and I'm not sure the front end alignment was quite right (the SP2000s were just like every set of SP8000s I've ever owned; they're greasy and slippery for the first 1000 miles.) The dropoff in Paris was painless, once we got through morning rush-hour traffic to get there! Otherwise, the trip is as well organized as you make it. We planned probably too much; even in late July there's few places we went that we couldn't have gotten a decent place to stay w/o a reservation.

Is it fun? Pizza really is the universal food in Europe, which suits me just fine - we stayed on the fringes of a residential district in Frankfurt; walked for an hour and found fifteen Italian restaurants, one Japanese, not a wurst anywhere. Munich is great, and it's not *quite* as hard to shop outside business hours as the tour books make out (I fell in love with big German down pillows, and we found a bedding shop downtown and bought one at 7:45PM on a Monday) just not on Sunday. Spent an evening at the Hirschgarten, a day at the Deutsches Museum, Englischer Garten, botanical gardens at Nymphenburg, etc. Ate kebab, drank speizi and beer. Only waited half an hour in line at Neuschwanstein (get there early!) Toured the Zeppelin Museum (I blew it, however; did not buy a Zeppelin NT polo shirt.) Went through lots of $4.50/gallon gasoline (average fuel consumption 18.2mpg) - no wonder you never see a locally-owned 540, they're all 520/ 523i and 525tds but they'll still do 200kph on the A1. Speaking of the A1, covered plenty of German Autobahn at speeds ranging from 135mph to 5mph (lots of road construction, especially around Cologne.) My highschool German, unused for 20 years, proved marginally useful; when you're wearing a "Buttonwillow Raceway Park" polo shirt and you start to stumble im Deutsch the average German starts speaking English at you. Found only one customs agent that cared at all about our weird German export license plate (the German guy when boarding the Constance ferry) - otherwise, there *were* no customs agents. Paddled across Lac d'Annecy and back. Had a couple spectacularly good meals and only one bad one (a snack-shop in Interlaken; okay, so it looked like crap but it was late and we were desperate.) Spent a lot of time wandering interesting places and eating ham sandwiches in eastern France. Missed all the wineries (no, repeat no, one is around at 10AM) French autoroute tollbooths take Visa - just head for the "Telepeage" sign. Toured some of the Verdun area (the battlefield area's an absolutely beautiful park now. If you care at all about the history of the place, don't try to do it in two hours - you could walk for two days and not see it all - and you need to walk to feel the place. We'd only allotted about half a day. Oh well.) Got rained on in Cologne (the Eighth Air Force gave the Germans excuse to build a lot of ugly '60s buildings and a few beautiful Rhine bridges), walked for miles, and my wife ate pig's knuckle. Drove the Nordschleife - that in itself was almost worth the trip, of course. Pastry shop in Adenau just up the road would be worth a trip back in itself; load up the baggage with 200 lb of cherry streusel. Got up at 4:30AM, drove to Paris, experienced Parisian driving (the drivers are sane, or at least predictable; the roads are unfathomable and the signals are cuckoo.) Did the usual things one Has To Say One's Done in Paris - did the Eiffel Tower Crush, saw all the boxed Bonapartes at the Invalides, toured as much of the Louvre as one can do in five-plus hours, walked for hours past the Cordeliers and all the rest of the history books, watched lightning hit the Eiffel Tower from our hotel room window.

Is it a pain? Not so far, but we don't have the car back yet. Yes, there's one of those Web travelogue things coming from all this as soon as I get the notes sorted out.


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