In case you missed my previous articles, I am actually writing a series of posts about the BMW European Delivery. The 19-days trip that Paul has taken, it’s one of the best I have ever read and it gives a lot of useful details for anyone planning on going to Europe to pick up their BMW or, just to take a trip there. Lots of resources can be found in his articles and I thought I would share them with you.
In the first post about his BMW European Delivery, you can find some good information on how to pre-plan your trip. Next, Paul takes us through his first day in his European Delivery trip. In today’s article, you can read about his experience on picking up the car from the ED Center in Munich.
The flight was scheduled to arrive at 9:25AM, but pulled into the gate about 20 minutes late. Baggage pick up, Passport control and custom was swift and easy. We had learned on Bimmerfest about Rolf Raffelsieper and his well known airport pick-ups. Since Rolf was already booked for Friday morning, he had arranged for his colleague Peter to pick us up. As promised, Peter awaited us with a small BMW European Delivery sign, and helped us with our bags to his 3 series station wagon parked outside.
Wasting no time, we headed directly to the E.D. center, as Peter pointed out a few Munich landmarks along the way. We got to the center by around 11:00AM. The delivery process was incredibly smooth and quick (for us, at least). After we got our complimentary coffee and pastries from the breakfast bar and only had to wait less than half an hour before our names were called. We met another American couple, the Smiths from North Carolina, who were the folks that Rolf had picked up, and unfortunately for them, the speed of service was not universal. They had already been there about 40 minutes when we arrived and were still waiting (and understandably getting a bit testy) when we headed off with our deliver center associate to meet our new shiny new, Montego blue, hot little 335i couple..
We never caught our guy’s name, but he was very helpful and thorough in running through the paperwork and car operation. (except for the Comfort Access, AKA Convenient Access feature, as we later discovered when we couldn’t figure it out!). By a bit after noon, we were on our way to do a couple of quick errands on the way to our 1:15 factory tour.
We stopped at the large BMW retail dealership on the Frankfurter Ring to pick up some of the safety vest that we had learned (again, via bimmerfest) were required for driving in Austria. While we were there we picked up a couple of BMW souvenirs (cap, keychain) to celebrate the new acquisition. Directly across the street from the dealership is an ADAC office (the German equivalent of AAA), where we bought vignettes (window sticker road permits) for driving in the Czech Republic and Austria, and some maps (free as AAA members).
Finding the BMW factory was less of a challenge then finding were to park! After a bit of confusion over the directions from the guard at the gate, we got to the tour assembly area a bit late, but in time for the start. Our tour guide was Rolf (which he had told us when we met him with the Smiths at the ED Center), and he suited us up with our personal earpieces and wireless receivers for the tour.
The manufacturing tour is really spectacular. Seeing car bodies being created from giant rolls of flat sheet steel is amazing. We started in the stamping shop, saw “families” of robots spot weld unibody pieces together, and then moved to another part of the factory where a cluster of 12 robots glued and welded the internal body sides, roofs and exterior skin together in an incredibly choreographed array. We saw the painting operations, attachment of body to drive train, assembly of interior, and adjustment & testing.
Our plan for the first day in Germany was to dive directly into activities, have an early dinner and bedtime and push through jet-lag. After the factory tour concluded at around 3:30, we had a bit of time so we headed to the Schloss Nymphemburg for a cultural snack. This summer palace and gardens of the former Bavarian royalty was pretty much on the way to our hotel, so it was an easy and quick bit of sightseeing. We opted for the main palace only, since neither of us thought we had the stamina to handle the carriage house, bathhouse, porcelain shop or other offerings. This was a wise choice.
The gardens were lovely, but compared to some European palaces, the interior was a bit underwhelming, IMHO. It was amazing to think about the fact that Bavarian royalty was, as recently as the late 19th century, cavorting with the nobles of other empires and nation-states in a manner that wasn’t that unlike their ancestors had for many hundreds of years before. Boy are those days over. Of course we have our celebrity royalty today and mega-billionaires, but it just ain’t the same.
We followed the Garmin Navi GPS’s directions to the Arabella Sheraton Westpark and checked in around 5:30. The hotel choice was driven by the fact that we would only be staying in Munich for one night initially, and Paul was able to get a great deal using Starwood points. The room was comfortable and spacious, and the U-Bahn stop was about 50 feet from the door. We hopped on the subway to Odeonsplatz and walked to the HofBrau Haus from there. We were in the mood for beer, hearty German food and a loud, rowdy atmosphere even if it is a notoriously touristy place.
We sat at a table with a German couple name Dieter and Hana (or Leni??) who were from Koln and vacationing in Munich before going to the Chiemsee. We feasted on Masses of HB beer, schweinsnaxon, veal sausage, pretzels, etc. When we’d pushed ourselves to a good point of exhaustion, it was time to call it a (LONG!) day. We were in bed and asleep by 9:15.