Friday, April 28, 2006

The drive from Salzburg back to Munich was rather boring, autobahn and all. Still havn't pushed it over 100 yet as I'd like to at least get a few more miles on the car first. Cruising at 90-100 for short bursts is pretty fun though. Sure do close on slower cars fast though. Have to
really pay attention to your surroundings, not that you don't in the US, but more so. It's a good thing we don't have autobahn's in the US now that I've experienced them. Some woman putting on her make-up or some guy showing off to his friends in the car would probably kill several people a day. ( I know they're generalizations but you get the point) The road from Munich to Reutte however was very fun. Lots of twisties and I was fortunate not to have to follow anyone for most of the way.
Arrived at the hotel (Hotel Moserhof) at about 1pm. It's a great little hotel that I'd recommend to anyone wanting to visit Neuschwanstein, or just Bavaria/Tirol. Free parking (with about 5 covered parking spaces and many others uncovered) Free wireless internet in the lobby and great restaraunt. (family business, could use another server or 2)
When I woke up this morning it was pouring and I almost decided not to go to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, but I didn't come down here to sit around all day. Fortunately though, I didn't have to wait in lines even though I didn't reserve a ticket ahead of time. Both castles were pretty interesting and made me wish I knew more of the Wagnerian stories. The tours were a bit overpriced for their length, go figure for such a tourist trap. Guess it balances out with the free 2+ hour BMW factory tour. The walk to each castle was the only real downside. I decided I didn't want to pay the ~3 euro's for 2 really short bus rides so I just
walked to both. I got pretty soaked walking to Neuschwanstein but a little water never killed anyone. If not for the rain I probably would have stopped at a few more places in the area but instead just did more of a driving tour along part of the RomantischeStrasse and the AlpenStrasse. The Zugspitze looked a bit cloudy to make the 32 euro tram ride worthwhile.
I got Back in time to get dried off and do a little typing before dinner. Planning on driving up the RomantischeStrasse and spending an afternoon and morning in Rothenburg.
To Be Continued...
Well, I'm not exactly sure what happened to Thursdays blog but along with my other post only being saved as a draft I don't seem to have any of the entry that I wrote from Thursday in Salzburg. Guess I need to start where I left off and see what I can remember.
I woke up the next morning to start exploring Salzburg. I didn't exactly get an early start but after my long night I wasn't too worried. After a nice buffet breakfast at the Hotel Golden Krone (crown, not old lady, can't find the stupid umlauts (sp?)) I went to a small internet cafe and posted the last message(apparently as a draft >,< ) and got some info about places to visit and a little weather update, which didn't look so good.
After that, I figured a good place to start would be Rick Steve's walking tour of the old town and it's many churches. That took a little while and provided quite a few photo opportunities. I had lunch at a small open air market in the middle of town. Some wurst, kraut and a Coca-cola to drink makes for a pretty decent lunch.
After lunch and a little bit of shopping, I took a nice hike up to Hohen Salzburg for a self guided tour of the old castle. They had some nice displays of the building of the castle and how it evolved over the years. There was also an interesting military history. Side note, I hate trying to remember all the stuff I did a couple days later. I had such a nice entry written before I lost it. :-( After the castle I walked through the town a bit more and did some people watching.
Took a walk through the Mirabell gardens and took more pictures there. At that point my legs were getting a bit tired so I decided head back to my hotel room for a few minutes before dinner. I went to a nice little Italian restaraunt for dinner that was above some of the shops in the center of old Salzburg. I was hoping for Chinese but they were closed. The lasagna was good but the Cesar salad was a bit odd. Very sweet compared to what I'm used to. Oh well, it was good anyway. Afterwords I went back to the hotel to try and get a room booked for the next day in Vienna. Little did I know the Vienna Festival is going on, which I found out the next morning from the hotel owner. I guess I didn't do quite enough research on that one. Change of plans then. Decided to head to Reutte in Tirol instead. Spend a day looking at castles, alps and such. Little did I know the drizzle in Salzburg would turn into serious rain in Bavaria/Tirol but more about that later.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I'm not exactly sure where to start. It was quite a day yesterday and I still wasn't checked into my room by 10pm if that gives you any indication. I guess the beginning would be the best place though.
First thing in the morning after packing all my bags I spent a few minutes calling around to find a place to stay in Salzburg. It wasn't too hard and I was fortunate that the place I called second had good rates, an open room and was willing to stay up to let me in when I arrived that night. So, it was off to Freimann and the delivery center.

The delivery itself went pretty well. I arrived around 10am and was driving by 11am. I had a nice brunch at the bistro at the delivery center and had time to sign the Bimmerfest book and read through some past entrys.
I had some free time after the delivery and before my factory tour so I decided to drive out to Dachau as it seemed like about the right distance and time to fill my time slot. I've been to the holocaust museum in D.C. but it's not quite the same as actually being there. It was a good experience though. The self guided tour was nice and the exhibits were in both german and english (very helpful).

I still had some extra time before the tour so I stopped by the Olympic Park to look around and the temporary BMW Museum. They didn't have a lot of cars but there was a good selection from the entire history. They had quite a few race cars in a side room, an M3 GTR, M1prototype and a Brabham turbo'd F1 car to name a few.
Finding the building I was supposed to be at for the tour was a bit interesting. The address that they gave me at the delivery center wasn't quite right and I ended up at the BMW/Mini service center about 2 blocks from where I was supposed to be. After a few inquirys I found it though. I won't go into the details of the tour here as I doubt many who read this are into lean manufacturing and just in time production but those who know me probably understand the tour was one of my favorite parts so far. The factory really has been organized well to take advantage of the limited space they have available. I would have liked to have someone who knew a little more detail about the process for a tour guide but the tour was still well done.
I was fortunate that this tour went rather quickly as I still had to drive to Salzburg. The nav worked great, for the most part, and even just having the moving map available was a huge help, Thanks Beewang. The tricky part came where they had closed off the A8 about half way to Salzburg. They diverted all the traffic to the B roads where it was slow going. Remember back at the beginning where I said the hotel had agreed to stay up to let me check in late? I was definitely starting to get a bit worried. The nav was pretty quick to update directions for me with my new paths even though for a while after each detour it would try and get my to take a legal u-turn or take some other road that would put me back on the original route.
In the end everything worked out and I got to the hotel and the owner was still there waiting for me. I was very grateful and just went upstairs to bed. Unpacking could wait.

P.S. Seems I only saved this one as a draft and it didn't post. OOPS!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Had a great day yesterday but was too tired to put up anything last night. It was about 65F and sunny all day. Probably about as perfect a spring day for sightseeing as you could get.
After much internal debate I decided to see the Deutsches Museum in the morning and then head to other sites in the afternoon. The museum had tons to see and the engineer in me loved all the technical exhibits. I have tons of pictures but I'll only include a couple here.
After that I decided to head to the museum annex the Verkehrszentrum. On the way I stopped at the Viktualien Markt for a little lunch and some much needed rest for my feet. The Markt was a nice open air market with tons to choose from and see. Then it was off to the Verkehrszentrum.

The trek to the Annex was somewhat of an adventure. Little did I know it was hidden behind some apartments and office buildings. It must have taken me 30 minutes just to find it after I was in the neighborhood. All the directions I had were that it was near the Oktoberfest grounds (Theresienwiese) and that there were signs. The signs were a bit vague, either that or I missed one or two of them. Once there though they had some nice exhibits on racing and on other types of transportation. The Formula 1 exhibit and the BMW Hydrogen powered 7'er were highlights. The whole thing seemed a bit small but It looked like it was under renovation so that could be the reason.

The subway is so convenient for all this sightseeing. I bought the 3 day ticket and it more than paid for itself. I spent the second half of the day walking around the city seeing some of the sites. I walked by the University, Karlsplatz, a quick look through the Hauptbahnhof and a walk through the English Garden.
Decided to go back to the hotel to drop off some of my things before heading out to dinner and ended up taking a short nap. I'm not used to all this walking. Could be a little jet lag still though.
I couldn't decide on where to eat dinner so I said what the heck and went to the Hofbrauhaus. It wasn't quite as touristy as I had feared and was a pretty enjoyable time overall. The food was decent and you can't help but smile as everyone's having such a good time.

When I finally got home I was so tired. I just crashed on the bed and fell asleep. I'll post more later. I'm off to get the car!!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

First day in Munich

Arrived in Munich today after two pretty uneventful flights. Fortunatly my connecting flight in Copenhagen was delayed by about 15min as I had to walk from one side of the terminal to the other when the gate for my second flight got changed. Nothing like a mile walk at 3am. Slept through the short flight from Copenhagen to Munich. I ended up taking the Lufthansa shuttle to Nordfriedhof and it wworked out well. All the info from Bimmerfest definitely made things easier.
Tonight I spent some time wandering around Marienplatz. Looking at some of the churches from the outside at least. I'm planning on spending tomorrow seeing some sights and hopefully can get some better pictures. Here are a couple from tonight.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Preparing to Depart

It's a beautiful day here in Seattle and I can't wait to get going. The three month wait from the time I ordered and the 5 months since I started looking has seemed like for ever but I'm glad it's finally here. Should be quite the adventure.
Packing has got to be one of the most nerve wracking things ever. I swear every time I look at my checklist to make sure I have everything I'm sure I've missed something. It never fails that I forget one thing or another but I'm really hoping I don't forget something important.
I should be heading out to the airport in around 4pm to catch my 6:55pm flight to Copenhagen and then my connection to Munich.