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Old May 12, 17, 9:02 am   #16
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In 2015 I posted our BMW pick up in Munich, and yes, we were picked up at the airport in a 750Ld, what a car. We enjoyed everything that came with, and enjoyed having our car in Europe for 2 weeks. I've been thinking about a GLE and do a ED, so love your writing how MB treats you!
Flightnurse, Thanks for reading. Now that you reminded me, I do remember your TR. You guys had a blast i recall!

I mentioned to the MB lady who processed our paper works that BMW offers a classy and luxurious pick up service. She said she'd make a note of it. Ha ha!

The GLE is a bigger vehicle than the GLC. I am sure it is a fine SUV. I currently drive an ML which sits high and drives like a truck (compared to the GLC).

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised to experience how smooth the entire process unfolded without issues.
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Old May 12, 17, 9:37 am   #17
  
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Flightnurse, Thanks for reading. Now that you reminded me, I do remember your TR. You guys had a blast i recall!

I mentioned to the MB lady who processed our paper works that BMW offers a classy and luxurious pick up service. She said she'd make a note of it. Ha ha!

The GLE is a bigger vehicle than the GLC. I am sure it is a fine SUV. I currently drive an ML which sits high and drives like a truck (compared to the GLC).

Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised to experience how smooth the entire process unfolded without issues.
The ML turned into GLE, I like the GLC a lot, but I think it might be too small for us. We loved our trip, I find in interesting that you license plate is completely different than ours, I assumed all tourist plates are "Z" plates.

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Old May 12, 17, 9:52 am   #18
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John, thank you so much for following this TR. I enjoyed reading many of your grand adventures as well!

Yes, these three regions are quite do-able in 2 weeks without feeling being rushed. I have been to all of these places before, except Berner Oberland. So it was really wonderful to re-visit and fill the gap that didn't get filled before.
Also did it never in one trip. Reason is, that I don't do such long vacations in Germany/ Austria/ Switzerland Guess it's the same with JohnRain. Was different in my childhood.
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Old May 12, 17, 12:55 pm   #19
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The ML turned into GLE, I like the GLC a lot, but I think it might be too small for us. We loved our trip, I find in interesting that you license plate is completely different than ours, I assumed all tourist plates are "Z" plates.

FlightNurse,

Two of you guys look great standing next to that black and mean looking machine!

I don’t know much about the German license plate system. My salesman told me about my plate something like:

BB - Böblingen, Baden-Württemberg. That signifies the City and Region
The little circular seal is the Registration Seal. On mine it says: Landratsamt Bolingen.
The rest, I don’t know what they are other than perhaps random numbers.
If your Z is for tourist; then G on mine means the same????? Maybe our German friends can enlighten us about the car license plate business.
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Old May 12, 17, 12:59 pm   #20
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Also did it never in one trip. Reason is, that I don't do such long vacations in Germany/ Austria/ Switzerland Guess it's the same with JohnRain. Was different in my childhood.
I totally understand. You and JohnRain (reading from your handles) treats these places like yourown backyards . You would visit them on long weekends or on special events, such as Chriskindlmarkt or something else.

Back home, we often drive 75km to a restaurant for dinner, and make nothing of it.
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Old May 12, 17, 1:26 pm   #21
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Part 4 Ulm, Kempten and Hohenschwangau

After a good night sleep, we had breakfast (buffet style) in the lobby floor restaurant. We were greeted with a large group of “corporate slaves” who were here for meetings. Sounded like a supplier of automotive products, duh!

The coffee was hot but the rest was not too memorable, simply because of the crowded condition. I am sure under different cercumstances, the breakfast experience would have been alright.

We began our road trip from Sindelfingen to Hohenschwangau, with two stops on the way. To our dismay, it was pouring rain!

Our drive would take us heading south east. First stop at the Ulmer Munster, then the Residenz in Kempten and finally Villa Ludwig Suitehotel in Hohenschwangau.

We purposely circled the streets of Sindelfingen to get a feel of the new vehicle. Trying to get familiarized with where the controls and buttons are. Fiddled with the GPS, so on and so forth. You know what I mean. It was all quite comical!

Thanks to Google: Driving map from Sindelfingen to Ulm.



Now, we picked up speed at the ramp and got onto the autobahn. Rain was heavy; skies dark. Fortunately the traffic on the autobahn was not too bad.

On the autobahn. The collage did not do justice to depict the atmosphere at the time. It seemed so dark.



Upon arrival, we parked the car in the underground parking garage and ascended to Munsterplatz. As I could see from the garage, this town was well setup to receive tourists and pilgrims by the thousands. I was impressed by the underground parking, silly me!

Original plan was to attend the 11:30 Sunday worship service. When we got there, it was an organ concert instead! We stayed for that, and it was superb. This brought back some fond memories of another organ concert that I attended at St. Stephan Cathedral (forgot the German name) in Passau, Germany. It claims to have the world’s largest organ!

Due to the smallness of the Munsterplatz, it is almost impossible to appreciate how tall this church really is. So I moved back toward an alley and tilted my camera upwards to shoot a picture (since I didn’t have my fisheye lens with me). The lens got wet of course. I had a large dot on the image to prove it. At this point, I didn’t bother to ascend the 768 steps up to the steeple observation deck, which was on my original plan. On a clear day, one can see the vista of the Alpine ranges. Well, regret that I didn’t get to see it! But for what I did see, I was thankful. Ulmer Munster is awesome!

Ulmer Munster




Inside the sanctuary




Munsterplatz in the rain B&W




Well, it’s time for some hot coffee. We popped inside this bakery and coffee shop. Voila!

Cappuccino and apfelstrudel



After a cappuccino and apfelstrudel (both were great), we moved on to our next destination of Kempten.

The GPS directed us south. This segment of the drive was also very short. Soon we passed by Mimmingen, a town that we had wanted to pay a visit but due to the inclement weather, we decided to skip it.

Big disappointment at the Residenz Kempton. This palace was closed in the mid-afternoon. We were there an hour before it was supposed to close, according to its web site. We did the best we could by walking around this beautiful square.

The St. Lorenz Basilica is a beauty, inside and out! Love the twin tower façade, the cupola that sits on top of the choir hall, and the magnificent interior work. This was the work of two men, Michael Beer and Johann Serro.

Many of the rococo buildings are truly colorful and interesting. I would have walked more to see more of the town had it not been for the rain, and it was getting cold and dark as well.

Residenz Kempton: No chance to see the interior, but the exterior is simply gorgeous!







St Lorenz Basilica exterior




St Lorenz Basilica interior




Next up: Schwangau & Hohenschwangau.

Villa Ludwig Suitehotel with Schloos Neuschwanstein.
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Old May 12, 17, 4:57 pm   #22
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It's possible to visit the Residenz Kempten with a guided tour. Also it's mainly used by the judiciary, so it's easy to have a look in this part. But from my own experience I can confirm, that this part of the Residenz is not really spectacular, it's an old courthouse.
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Old May 12, 17, 4:59 pm   #23
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ps funny to see the D-sign on your car. In former times nearly every car had it, today only very few cars.
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Old May 12, 17, 6:50 pm   #24
  
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Great photos so far! Your photo of Neuschwanstein, is about the same spot we took ours.
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Old May 13, 17, 3:16 pm   #25
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It's possible to visit the Residenz Kempten with a guided tour. Also it's mainly used by the judiciary, so it's easy to have a look in this part. But from my own experience I can confirm, that this part of the Residenz is not really spectacular, it's an old courthouse.
Thanks for the heads up. I went to a back door and poked my head inside. Thought it was some sort of office with a small art exhibit going on. Asked, and answer was “nope, not open”. I wanted to see the big Rococo Throne Room and the former residence quarter of the Dukes. Anyway, so I didn’t miss something of the scale as the Opera Granier of Paris (the upstairs bit hall)!

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ps funny to see the D-sign on your car. In former times nearly every car had it, today only very few cars.
Of course D=Deutschland. That decal is temporary and is removable. To date, I have not removed it yet.
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Old May 13, 17, 3:22 pm   #26
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Great photos so far! Your photo of Neuschwanstein, is about the same spot we took ours.
Thanks.

Yes, there seems to be an unofficial "Obligatory Photo Shoot" location for European Delivery. That particular spot is well identified!

The grounds were a bit soggy, so I didn't want to get stuck in the field. I took the shot on the side of the road.
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Old May 13, 17, 3:31 pm   #27
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Part 5 Evening in Hohenschwangau

The drive was a breeze. Soon enough we arrived at the Villa Ludwig Suitehotel in Hohenschwangau. We notified the hotel by phone that we would be late checking in. We would miss the normal high tea service at the hotel.

Villa Ludwig Suitehotel and surrounding


We were checked in by a very friendly lady. She kindly walked us to our suite and explained everything. She also mentioned how to enter and exit the garage. We thanked her and then got settled in.

“Live Like A King, Live at Villa Ludwig!” says the tagline of the hotel. Our suite has an almost direct view of Schloss Neuschwanstein from the small balcony. Spa, Finnish sauna, steam room and gated underground parking make this a warm and comfortable place to stay. If there was one thing that needed improvement on, it was the bathroom. It was rather plain and utilitarian in design, not the kind King Ludwig would have approved, ha ha! However, everything functioned like it should, and the amenities were fine.

Villa Ludwig Suitehotel: The room


Villa Ludwig Suitehotel: The room


Villa Ludwig Suitehotel: Facilities


Villa Ludwig Suitehotel: Breakfast restaurant


Villa Ludwig Suitehotel: Breakfast


You can’t beat the surrounding area of the hotel. From our room balcony, we have the view of Schloss Neuschwanstein. Really cool! In the immediate area outside the hotel, you find open space, scenic meadows, green fields and very Bavarian architecture! Not to mention Schloss Hohenschwangau is also nearby.

Villa Ludwig surrounding


Schloss Hohenschwangau is within sight just out front of the hotel


I would recommend this hotel to anyone, anytime of the year, even when it rains!

Now it was late evening, the hotel staff informed us that the restaurants in “town” might be closed by 9:00pm. The Alpenstuben Restaurant was only a short walk away, so we pulled out our umbrellas and hiked over there.
The dinner was ok, but not memorable at all! My DW enjoyed the beer.

Dinner at the Hotel Alpenstuben Restaurant, Hohenschwangau



We concluded this first day of driving somewhat uneventfully. We liked the car as we get to know it more and more.

It behaved securedly in wet conditions. The interior cabin was fairly quiet. Front seats were adjustable in many ways. The sound system was truly incredible, especially when playing classical music.

While in an wide open stretch of the autobahn, my DW pushed it a bit close to 160km/h (100 mph). When she did it, it was only for 2 minutes or less.

Next up: Schloss Neuschwanstein: Rain or shine, here we come!

Schloss Neuschwanstein
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Old May 13, 17, 8:03 pm   #28
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Part 6 Schloss Neuschwanstein

It seemed like I have been wining about the rain since we left Sindelfingen. Seriously, it had been non-stop so far. Is it likely that an El Nino type wet weather happened here in Germany? Nah! Never.

This morning, we went hiking up the hill to the Schloss Neuschwanstein and Marienbrucke. As we approached the bridge, a strong gust of wind blew my umbrella to pieces. Despite the weather and low season, the crowd did not reflect that. Why? Because this is Schloss Neuschwanstein!

Sample images from Schwangau






When we reached Marienbrucke, we were greeted with stronger wind on top of the rain! Nonetheless, the bridge was packed. I shouldered my way onto the bridge and quickly took a few shots. Could you imagine if this was in the summer! I couldn’t remember it was this crowded last time I was here during late summer.

Image of Marienbrucke and the crowd


The crowd were here for a reason, and this is it…. Worth the hike!


We quit earlier than we planned. We trekked back downhill via a different route just to see something different. It was different alright. Not a paved path! Just sand, rock and dirt. Our shoes took a beating!

Now that we were down to the town area, we popped in to a restaurant for a late lunch which was much needed after the long hike up and down. Unfortunately the food here was .... meh! The goulash soup was delish!

Next up: A drive around the beautiful Schwangau area.

Photo of St. Coloman Church, Schwangau.
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Old May 14, 17, 9:31 pm   #29
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Part 7 Schwangau and Hohenschwangau

Few years ago I was in the Schewangau area, I noted a small church in the middle of the green fields. I took 2 shots when passing through by car. Since then, I regretted that I didn’t take the time to check out the inside of the church.

Next morning after breakfast, we leisurely drove around in the Schwangau area. The weather continued not to cooperate! It was very foggy and rained lightly.

Once out in the open fields, you would easily notice the St. Coloman Church. Unfortunately the church was not yet opened (we were early). So we looked around from the outside, and in fact drove all over the side roads nearby to take in the grand view of the vista.

Schloss Hohenschwangau


Obligatory photograph for European Delivery in Germany




Landscape near the St. Coloman Church


Landscape near the St. Coloman Church


We enjoyed these couple of days so far, bad weather notwithstanding. This area has so much charm. A great location to chill out! We thought Schloss Neuschwanstein is real special.

Schloss Neuschwanstein


Next up: Weiskirche, Linderhof, and Kloster Ettal

Weiskirche, the Pilgrimage Church of Weis
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Old May 14, 17, 10:40 pm   #30
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Part 8 Weiskirche, Linderhof, and Kloster Ettal

After a satisfying breakfast at the Villa Ludwig, our adventure continued. We moved on to Weiskirche Steingaten as our first stop. The attraction there of course is the Pilgrimage Church of Weis. A short drive through some pristine and sublimely green grassland, and we had arrived. At first, I thought the GPS was playing tricks when we were thick into some one lane country roads with hardly any road signs.

Driving map


Green grassland panorama


Pilgrimage Church of Weis


Pilgrimage Church of Weis

We were blessed with real fine weather here. The sun was out and temperature cool. Not sure how long this would last, since we saw clouds were moving in.

There were tourists visiting this church. The sanctuary was a bit crowded. We took only a short walk around the immediate part of the village. Quite quaint!

Next we continued on to another Ludwig’s palace, the Schloss Linderhof. Unfortunately, the sun was too shy to stay on longer. While we were at the ticket line, the rain returned. Inside the palace itself, no photos were allowed. I respectfully put mine in the backpack. For drone operators, I found this note on the web site: “The Linderhof Palace complex is part of the Ammergebirge Nature Reserve: the flying of model planes and drones / multicopters is therefore prohibited.” I think it is sound policy. We did not venture to the grotte, since we did it last time here.

Schloss Linderhof in panorama


Schloss Linderhof


Schloss Linderhof


Since the Kloster Ettal was on our way to our final destination for today, we stopped and pay a very brief re-visit.

Kloster Ettal: the Baroque Benedictine abbey in Ettal


Kloster Ettal: the Baroque Benedictine abbey in Ettal


Kloster Ettal: the Baroque Benedictine abbey in Ettal



After Ettal, we drove south, passed Garmisch-Partenkirchen without stopping, and crossed the German/Austria border. We purchased an Austrian 10-day vignette (road toll) at the border village of Scharnitz. Finally, we arrived at the Hilton Innsbruck where we spent the next 3 nights.

Driving map from Kloster Etall to Hilton Innsbruck, Austria


Upon check in at the Hilton, we received proper elite treatment as a HHonor Elite Diamond. We were upgraded to an upper floor room facing east as I requested. The hotel location and garage-parking sold me. Other factors were not as important, for example, it does not have an executive lounge.

Next up: Innsbruck, Austria

Guten Morgen (Good morning) Innsbruck. Panoramic view from hotel window.
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