Let me start off by saying that this forum is priceless and helped me in more ways than i can count. Ive been a frequent and long time lurker and now its time to contribute a piece of my story that will hopefully entertain and help everyone who plans on doing an ED of their own.
First a little background on me and my co-pilot on this trip.My name is David I am 23 years old, currently enrolled in school full time doing a double major in psychology and sociology. I also work full time in a high end furniture rental company till im done with my degree. I first heard about ED a few years back just after i got my second BMW which was a E92 335xi. I got pissed at myself that i missed the opportunity to do it then but promised myself i would make it happen when the lease was up and it came time to hop into a new car; and that is when the planning started. I spent countless hours on forums during those 3 years getting wet looking at and reading about everyones adventures during their trips counting off the days when my time would come. My co-pilot on the trip whos name is also David is my best friend and a petrol head like myself. He also works and goes to school full time.
Fast forward to mid 2011, i find myself torn between two cars. A M3 and a 335is both great cars in their own right. I tried hard to push for the M3 but financially it was just a little bit too much money. I planned on moving out of my parents house shortly after i got the car and i wouldnt be able to make that happen if i got the M3. So i “settled” if you want to call it that on the 335is. Now that i know what i car i want to get its time to find the best deal out there so i can make my dream happen. After countless hours of research in order to find the best price available i came to only one conclusion. I have to contact Ryan Amico. I saw Ryan’s name come up many many times on M3post and heard nothing but good things. So i give him a call and sure enough no fuss no muss he gives me the best price and we get the ball rolling. We start filing all the necessary paper work and shortly there after we get pick up date, June 8th 2011.
As i said before me and David are huge petrol heads and as such we love the show Top Gear. A few years back they had an episode where the guys try to find the best road in the world or “driving heaven”. After watching that show we knew we had to do the same. With this in mind me and David agreed that we should go in their footsteps and drive as many awesome roads as we and the car could handle; that was our goal.
The trip starts, we depart New York for Munich via transfer in Zurich.
Over night flight and we are in Munich. We check into our hotel, drop the bags, and take the Ubahn over to BMW WELT! I waited toooo long to put this off any further and as the welt was still open we went inside. First impression was OMG! The outside of the building is beautiful and the inside is equally awe inspiring. I see some pretty cool buildings living in NYC but nothing like this, the germans really have some unbelievable architecture. After that we got some food and went to sleep so we can rest up for the big day.
Around midnight i decided to wake up David because i couldnt sleep and i was able to convince him to go and take some night pictures of Welt. After we got back he fell back asleep and i counted sheep in vain. I was able to get a few hours of shut eye as the sun started to rise.
We both got up, packed the bags, checked out leaving the bags in the hotel and headed straight to the Welt. Once inside we were directed upstairs in order to fill out the necessary paper work to pick up the car. Finished signing all the papers around 11am but had to wait because the pick up time was 3:50pm. We decided to get some breakfast but before doing that i just wanted to see the so called “stairway to heaven”. We walk out and we are standing right at the top of the stair case. While standing there looking down i see something that catches my eye. I look and there is a Le Mans Blue 335is. David laughs sarcastically saying “look its your car”. Could it really be my car? We read the plates, check the registration and sure enough it is. OMFG im seeing her for the first time!! We snap a few pics from a distance and go get some food.
After we got some food I wanted to go and just look at the car some more. I knew i still had to wait 4 hours till delivery but i just wanted to see it again. So again we find ourselves at the top of the staircase looking at and taking pictures of the car and from behind us we hear a German gentleman ask us if we are doing an ED. I look and its Bernard Hausmaniger. He stands with us chit chatting for a while telling us about ED and then asks me something i never thought was possible. “Would you like to take delivery right now”? Im perplexed because i know many have tried and failed to pick up their car earlier than the scheduled time but he was serious and i answered with a profound YES! We walk down to the car, take some more pictures, fire her up and listen to her take her first breath. I proceeded to do the famous victory lap and off we went. Stopped by the hotel to pick up the bags and headed to our overnight destination, Warsaw.
The drive there was filled with so much emotions. I could not get enough of this car, everything was perfect. A short time into the trip we see the “NO LIMIT” sign and i gun it. I tried to keep the car within a reasonable speed in order to break in the car properly. However that did not last too long because as i was doing around 130 mph and a VW passat 2.0 passed me and my ego didnt no like that lol. So i gun it and hit 160 mph. At first the speed was breathtaking. Ive driven that fast before so i knew what it felt like but not for an extended amount of time. But here on a 3 lane autobahn it felt as if though i could just keep it there until i needed gas. From there on out it was speed speed and more speed. I waited so long to drive that fast legally so i made sure to do it every chance i got. Never putting anyone in danger just enjoying the left lane the way its meant to be. After 11 hours of driving we arrived at the hotel in Warsaw and got some much needed sleep for the first time in 3 days.
June 9th - June 12th
We stay in Warsaw for a few days visiting my family and reliving some childhood summer memories while also taking in some sites. After relaxing for a bit i wanted to add some more excitement to an already exciting trip. That excitement came in the form of the Procede V5.
When i drove the 335xi i had the jb+ installed and liked it alot but always found myself needing more power. Even though i knew the 335is was plenty fast i decided to buy the procede before we left for europe and now was the perfect time to put it in. The hotel had a nice under ground garage so we put the tune in there.
We put the procede in with no problems what so ever and went out for a spin. HOLY HELL!! this thing is an animal with that tune. Plenty of reviews out there to back this up. I played around with the tune a bit just to get comfortable over the next couple days and to make sure nothing unexpected happens before we set off for our next destination.
June 13 - June 14th
We set off for Stalowa Wola which is Davids home town. The drive wasnt long at all so it easy on both of us but we still wanted to stop for a day or two so David can see his family.
On to the next destination, Krakow. We spend the a good portion of the day there and slept the night in preparation for the long leg into Austria.
We set out and instead of driving through the Czech Rep we thought it would be better to stick to the Polish and German autobahns (not that we have anything against Czech roads). The plan was to stay at David’s cousins house in Stumm which is not too far from Innsbruck. The drive went smooth as butter up until the end when we found out the the cell phone we've been using thus far didnt feel like working anymore. We had no way of contacting them, nor did we really know where we are. The language barrier was difficult to deal with because we were in the middle of nowhere really and finding someone who spoke english well enough so that we can ask them to use their phone proved almost impossible. So we essentially start bar hopping as those were the only places around there at that time that seemed to be open and finally after a while we got lucky enough to use someones phone. After we get in contact with Davids cousins we make our way to the house, have a few drinks and laughs, and pass out.
After coming out of our coma’s we agreed to stay in the area take in the sites and do some local attractions. This area like most of Austria is simply breathtaking and magnificent. The mountains, the air, the roads, all of that combining to put me and David into what can be only described as a trance.
Today was the day that we go to the spot where every ED seems to pass through, Neuwachstein castle. The weather was damp and rainy so it made the driving through the mountain roads a bit trickier than normal. However we hit some crazy traffic going there so it slowed us down to the point were no real risky driving occurred. This traffic frustrated the hell out of us because it formed like most NYC traffic for no apparent reason but we finally made it. This place felt special, seeing so many pictures of it in other peoples ED journals burned the image into my mind and now im happy to call one of those images my own. On the way back home we thought it would be better to take a more off the beaten path route to avoid some more unexpected traffic. In choosing to do so we drove some of the most beautiful and scenic roads you can imagine. Even with inclement weather we enjoyed every twist and turn stopping as many times as we could to take pictures. We even went up what seemed to be a closed road at the time but seeing as how the sign was written in German and neither of us spoke it we agreed that it shouldnt apply to us lol. That turned out to be a great decision and looking at it in retrospect i think i was a trick to deter people from driving a perfect road. We took this road higher and higher until the temperature read freezing. We were driving next to peaks that had snow on them in the middle of summer. For people who live in NY this was a site to see.
Driving the previous day took its toll on us so we again thought it would be better to do something local. David’s cousins suggested we check out a glacier. A GLACIER! in the middle of June. It was a short drive and a real cool thing to see. Getting up to the top of the mountain was a trip in and of itself. I love skiing and still im green with envy that those people have those kind of conditions and trails. There were some people skiing and it made me mad that we didnt have enough time to rent out some equipment and have a go on some Austrian slopes. We took a small tour of the place and got some real nice pics. The glacier was lit up nicely with different colored lights that made it look even cooler.
Our last day in Austria. What else is there to do but drive some more awesome roads. And no road can be more awesome than the Stelvio Pass “best driving road in the world” as dubbed by top gear. So we went hunting for it. The weather was perfect, the car was running strong, we were ecstatic and it was turning out to be a perfect day. The drive took a while but we didnt mind because along the way we kept driving through what seemed like heaven. And then finally we see it. The asphalt spaghetti as Clarkson called it. Driving this road was more work than fun to be quite honest. The switchbacks were sharp and difficult to see into and out of. I was to the point that the angle of the road was so steep that i had David saying “clear” into every right hand turn because i couldnt see anything due to the fact that my roof was blocking my view. I was looking at through the sun roof at one point lol. But when we got to the top i felt such satisfaction. We parked the car and walked around for a bit. I spotted this lookout point high above the road that no one was on and successfully convinced David to hike to the top and see it. The air was so much thinner than anything ive ever felt before but thats not surprising seeing as how we were at 9330 ft. Standing on top of the mountain i yelled “Eagles fly beneath my pee” and with great satisfaction made our way back to the car.
While driving back home we had a nice butt clenching moment when i was driving at 60+ mph on a road that was wide enough for maybe one car and a bike, and David while shooting a video finds a Red Bull we bought earlier on during the day that decided to ass-plode all over the windshield. There was no where to stop on this road but since there was no one on it we pulled off real quick made some snow balls and tried to clean my car off. We used those snowballs like they were clay bars or something and weirdly enough we got the interior nice and clean. Kinda funny looking back at it but definitely not something im eager to repeat. We got back safe and sound and prepared for our the next destination Nice, France.
Driving through northern Italy was fun, but the further south we went the less i enjoyed driving. It seemed like people didnt have the same courtesy and discipline on the road not to mention the fact that the roads seemed to be getting worse too. I guess it wasnt really that bad but i just had a different idea of what the Italian autostrada would look like. Dont get me wrong the roads we nice and smooth but i felt more constricted with all the guard rails they have up. Italians though like the Germans do feel comfortable at speed. I found myself cruising at 120 mph+ with no problems and occasionally i was even joined by some overly tanned guy driving a Maserati or a Ferrari with some botoxed blond in the passenger seat. We made it to Nice in good time and still caught a stunning sunset while having some great ice cream under a palm tree. I remember turning to David and saying “dude one day we’re inside a glacier and the next we’re under a palm tree”, this made me realize how special this trip really was and to this day i will never forget that moment.
After spending the night in Nice we made a detour and doubled back to Monte Carlo before heading to Barcelona. I cant imagine being this close and not driving on the Monte Carlo grand prix track. Monte Carlo was beautiful, the city is oozing money. The boats, the cars, the hotels, the casinos, all combine to make u feel like you live like a peasant. But its nice to drive by to see how the 1% has fun and check out the life one can have if they hit the jackpot in the lotto. The funny thing was that since the city was so small and tightly packed with no where to speed i decided to put it into map 3 or the naturally aspirated map in procede. My god this thing sounds like a beast when those waste gates close. I said to David “if i cant drive fast and ill never have the kind of money to play around in this town, i might as well be loud and obnoxious while im here lol”. Funny thing was in map 3 the car really turned heads. The burbles of the engine and the high pitched sounds really got people reaching for their cameras to take some pictures. This was shocking to me given the fact that there were plenty of much nicer cars than mine around. After making some noise in Monte Carlo and driving around the track we headed to Barcelona.
June 23rd - June 24th
All that driving around tired us out so it was nice to chill out one day and then see some of the city the next day. The city itself is beautiful but extremely difficult to navigate with a car. The idrive gps would keep getting lost and making me turn into streets that didnt exist. We dove up into the surrounding mountains to get a view of the city and you really begin to see how dense everything is. But visiting the city for the sites was not my main goal. My main goal was to visit my Mecca, Camp Nou. I am a huge Barcelona fan and always wanted to see where they play in person.
Originally we were suppose to stay in Barcelona for one more day but we couldnt because the 24hrs Nurburgring race and M-fest were going on and i wasnt going to miss that for the world. So we set off on what would be the most exhausting part of the whole trip. Not only was the distance a big obstacle but what compounded the problem were the Spanish and French drivers, which are some of the worst drivers in the world with the only exception being drivers from New Jersey lol. The Spaniards have nice big highways with wide lanes but seem to think its ok to drive like a drunk person trying to stay between the lines in and effort to fool a cop. The French are obsessed with camping and it seemed like they all called each other up and said lets all go on holiday at the same time with all their s*** packed tighter than a sardine can into a small Renault or Citroen with a make shift hook attached to it that made their cars sit lower than i thought mechanically possible.
As if these things frustrating me wouldnt have been enough, what compounded the problem was that every hotel within a 20 mile radius was booked solid because of M-fest and the 24hr race. So we booked a hotel in Koblenz which wasnt too far from The Ring, but the problem was that we did the booking online and didnt call the hotel to notify them we would be coming at night. So now we have to try and get there before the front desk of the s***hole hotel closed so we werent locked out with no place to stay. So i put the hammer down to try and get there faster and it worked all the way to Lyon where a nice police office on a BMW K1300 shot me with laser. After getting my speed, he weaved through traffic caught up to me, and gave me a nice 90 euro ticket for doing 100 mph. However, after i got that ticket the road seemed to clear up and the closer we got to Luxembourg and Germany the better the drivers got. We got into the hotel 5 min before the front desk closed. We looked for food around town and then made our way to The Ring. David was a bit pessimistic and thought that no one would be at The Ring and that we would see nothing but a closed dark track, but boy was he wrong. The Ring was one huge festival. It was 12am and all you can here is the roar of engines in the distance and people having fun. The first thing we saw was a massive amount of drunk people stumbling around walking in the middle of the street, shortly there after after we parked the car in what can only be described as a ditch,after we parked we saw a Mercedes SLS touring car being towed off the track with a mangled front. Thats when we knew this was for real. We pushed our way through the crowd and got to a spot where we could see all the cars zoooming by. All you would see is bright headlights with an occasional blue strobe light indicating a super fast car is coming. Then as these cars would pass you could see their brakes glowing red. The way these cars moved on the track looked unreal. No body roll, under steer, or over steer. It looked like a video game.
Seeing the cars at night was pretty cool and it made us appreciate the skill these drivers have just to keep the car on the track not to mention the pace at which they were going but we needed to get some pictures in the daylight so we went back to the track the follow day. We saw cars that i never thought i would get to see the best one being a ferrari P4/5 pininfarina . This made me happy and sad at the same time; i was happy because i got to see them but i knew that i will never be impressed by any car ever again because it seemed like i saw every awesome car in the world. After snapping a ton of pictures at The Ring we made our way to Dortmund for a quick pit stop to visit one of my girlfriends. We stopped, chilled at her house for a little bit and then told her we’re going to Amsterdam and that she should join us. So she packed her bags said “screw school” and got into the car with us. On the way to Amsterdam we hit crazy traffic but when the traffic ended the road turned into one of the biggest highways ive ever seen. This thing had a double shoulder on the left, 5 lanes across, and another single shoulder on right going ONE WAY! I swear it seemed as wide as a football field is long. We got into Amsterdam a bit late so we decided to crash and just get an early start the following day.
June 27th - June 28th
This was my second time in Amsterdam so i kind of knew what to expect and it made it easier to show David and Vanessa around the city. We went to a bunch of cool places such as the Heineken museum, a dungeon, and hit up a few coffee shops. I must say Amsterdam is probably my favorite city in Europe. It has a super chill vibe, everyone is nice and speaks better English than most people in America do. I wanted to stay in Amsterdam a bit longer but i checked the schedule for The Ring to see whether is was open to the public again after all the festivities had finished and it was.
We woke up and headed back to Dortmund to drop Vanessa off and continued back to The Ring. We didnt expect to make it there before it closed but we did. We had about an hour left to race and i said to myself “screw it”. We were so unprepared both mentally and having all the bags in the car but i needed to do just one lap so i can i say i went around the track. We strapped everything down as tight as we could and …..... O MY GOD! Ive race this track a few times in Forza and other racing games but nothing can prepare you for the real thing. The sheer elevation changes are enough to strike the fear of god into you not to mention the blind corners and the 120mph sweepers. I tried to push the car a little but my main goal was to do a lap and not die. I kept DSC and traction on but i made sure to be in map 2 on procede so i can get a little bit more power. Everything happened so fast and honestly all the emotions as well as the amount of concentration that it took do one lap made me exhausted. After pitting for a few minutes to let the car cool i turn to David and said “your turn”. He gets behind the wheel and does his lap. He took it a bit easier than i did simply out of respect for the car and me but he did great nonetheless. We agreed that it was enough for one day and went in search for a hotel to stay the night. We come out of the gate and stop in the first place that we see which was The Ringhaus. The Ringhaus was by far the best hotel we’ve stayed at the entire trip. It was better than the 5 star hotel we stayed at in Barcelona, it was better than the 500 room hotel we stayed in Amsterdam, it was simply the best and its because of the people that run the hotel. Joerg and Vicky were the coolest people we met the whole trip and chilling with them in the hotel eating pizza listening to their stories of the Nurburgring was amazing. Joerg is also a photographer and an extremely talented one at that. His pictures hang on every wall of the hotel chronicling the variety of cars and the recent adventures people have had on the nurburgring. He was a huge gear head and we could have stayed at the hotel and talked to him for days about cars but he figured it would be better to drive around the area and show us around, so that’s what we did.
We woke up in the morning to the sound of engines in the distance. That was absolutely the best sound to wake up to and i wouldnt mind that as my daily alarm clock. We eat breakfast with Joerg while talking about his photography and he made me an offer to show me some of the nice local roads in his mx-5, following that he said he would like to go on his dirt bike off road to some sweet corners by The Ring so he can snap some professional photos of me while i go around the track. I answered with an emphatic HELLLLL YES!
The track opened up and Joreg went to find his a spot while i dropped David off at his. Now i have to dudes with great cameras taking pictures of me while i race, I AM IN HEAVEN. After doing my lap i went back to get David while Joerg moved to another corner of the track. The next time i went around i made sure David was recording a video so i can never forget what euphoria felt like. The security around the nurburgring doesn't really like when you take a video while driving but you can be sneaky and get around their demands very easily. After we got the video i felt the car and i had enough so we retired to the hotel and got some rest for our final leg together back to Warsaw.
July 1st - July 6th
David and I leave the Ringhaus and head back to Warsaw for the weekend to see if we can party a little to celebrate our trip together before he leaves on July 6th. During these last few days of the trip we raced some go karts, hung out with some friends and drank A LOT. We did 7,146 miles together and enjoyed every mile but i couldn't get enough, i just couldn't leave Europe. So i pushed my flight back to July 20th and decided to stay. I drove David to the airport in Warsaw and started thinking what part of the trip i felt needed repeating.
July 7th - July 10th
I relaxed and reflected alone for the first time in a month. I came to the conclusion that i would take Marta who is a girlfriend of mine in Warsaw who i enjoy spending time with more than anyone in the world on a trip back to Amsterdam, a city that we can see and enjoy together. I felt rushed when i went with David and Vanessa so i wanted to try and see the city and all it had to offer.
July 11th - July 16th
Me and Marta set out for Amsterdam. Leading up to this point I drove at high speeds throughout the duration of the trip many many times and for prolonged periods. The roads and conditions not only in Germany but in all of Europe really inspire a sense of security. People check their mirrors frequently and really only change lanes when its absolutely necessary (except Frenchies and Spaniards). The roads are almost always perfectly paved and in Poland they have a 10 foot fence running the entire length of the larger autobahns preventing any woodland creatures jumping out. So i decided while driving with Marta through Poland that i would pull off at a gas station to inspect the car including the tires in order to see if we can hit v-max. The weather was perfect, the road was straight and quiet, and the car was running like a champ... LETS DO IT! The procede turned the limiter off and i had a gps handy checking the exact speed as the speedo in the 335 stops at 160mph and is known to read a bit higher than actual speed. Getting to 160mph isnt really all that difficult with this car, especially with the procede plugged in. The car feels nice and stable but a bit loud in the cabin. After 160mph though you can feel the car trying to cut through the air. I cant be sure how long it took to get to v-max but it definitely wasn't a few seconds. You cover so much ground at that speed you really have to be sharp and on your toes, looking far ahead making sure no one is in front of you and if they are start flashing your high beams even if their not in your lane to alert them that your closing fast. After having it pegged to the carpet for a while we reached v-max and Marta snapped a picture of a gps verified 294 kph or 183 mph. The rest of the trip was rather uneventful and we got into Amsterdam before sunset.
Marta and I stayed in Amsterdam and made it a point not to use any sort of transportation. We walked the entire city and suggest to everyone they do the same if they plan on visiting. There are so many cool things to see such as the Ice Bar, The House of Bols, Diamond exibits, not to mention all the nice parks and canals.
We head back to Warsaw so i can drop Marta off and to meet up with my parents who at this point were also on vacation in Poland.
I pack all my bags and my depression begins as i prepare to head to the drop off point in Frankfurt.
At this point ive been told that im a maniac for driving this much by many people and i started to think they might have a point but the sole purpose of this trip was to drive and that is precisely what i was doing. It took me 13 hours to drive from Warsaw to Frankfurt because i was tired and need to stop a few times to nap. Even the high speed driving, adrenaline, and massive amounts of red bull could not keep me from feeling tired but i made it. I found a hotel near the drop off point which also wasn’t too far from the airport. I dropped off my bags taking only the paper work with me to drop off the car.
The drop off was very easy and quick. I snapped a few more pictures of the car and i made sure to get a few pictures of the odometer. I wanted to have proof just in case anyone questioned the amount of driving i did. I ended up doing 10,221 miles and completing all my goals and all my dreams. I remember walking away from the car looking back at it as if though we were the stars in some romantic movie and the only thing that was missing was some rain. I walked back to the hotel which in terms of distance was very close but the walk felt like forever. I wanted to run back to the car and drive it just one more time. Call me a bitch if you want but i had watery eyes and felt a shortness of breath. That night before the flight home was the loneliest night I've ever had but i held on to the thought that i would be reunited with the car in a few weeks.
Fly back to NYC and the redelivery wait begins.
The car and I are reunited! I picked up the car from Rallye Bmw. Their facilities are amazing and it really looks like a top notch dealership. I met with Nick Soldo who was a BIG help with the whole redelivery process. He always kept me in the loop on the status of the car and hooked me up with nice new floor mats. He is also a forum member so we chatted for a little while and then i was off to enjoy my baby in the states.
I just want to give one last final shout out to Golffrr, Ryan Amico, and Francesca at Steve Thomas BMW. Joerg Jakowski and Viki at the Ringhaus. Nick Soldo at Rallye BMW. The whole Vishnu team for providing a unbelievable tune. And most of all you guys on the forums for all your information and help with the entire European Delivery process. It was a dream come true and i look forward to repeating it again in 3 years time.
P.S. Im super sorry this write up took so long.
EDIT: Wanted to throw in some videos in case anyone is interested. Sorry for the shakiness but we didnt have a good mount with us for videos so we resolved to holding the came. All videos are of me driving and david recording.
A cold start in map 3 in procede the morning before we head out for neuwachstein castle.
My last lap of The Ring. (Excuse the hesitant throttle at times and a few missed apexes. Blind corners and not knowing the track made it difficult to drive smooth.)
Two videos on the way to the stelvio pass.