WARNING: The following posts may contain any or all of the following: conspicuous consumption, wanton use of fossil fuels, gluttony, consumption of our fine animal friends, hating on Florence, Communist kitsch, dead white males, excessive speed, wicked-looking birds of prey, battlefields, childish fixations and more cobblestones than you can shake a stick at. If any or all of this troubles you, go read about someone else's vacation.
WARNING: Unless you're my friend on Flickr, you won't see any pictures of people, particularly the one with the shit-eating grin creepyanonymous was sporting when he first saw his new baby. E-mail me if you want to friend up. [ACK! Not true, apparently. Photos of people are now links, because Flickr can't/won't enforce permissions when you link directly to a photo download.]
We arrived in Munich on Friday (btw, Lufthansa: highly recommended) and crashed out at the hotel early, because we had to be at the BMW Welt early the next morning.
Naturally, after a futile quest for doner kebab in Greece and Turkey, what was going to be our first stop?
So, European delivery of a BMW. How's that go?
OLD WAY: Go to Munich, swing by BMW HQ, pick up car.
NEW WAY: Go to Munich, show up at BMW Welt
at your appointed time (in our case, a groan-inducing 7:50 AM). Gawp at the architecture and the glass and the steel,
then be whisked up to the Premium Lounge,
where you can help yourself to the free buffet (admiring the precision placement of each piece of fruit),
or maybe hop on the Internet to see what your imaginary friends are up to in your absence.
While you're distracted, BMW minions are busy bringing your car up from the mysterious depths of the building via a glass car-o-vator
and moving it onto its designated spot on the floor,
all while magically not putting any mileage on the car at all.
Which? Which could your car be?
You get picked up in the Premium Lounge by a friendly, blue-suited BMW representative, who first shows you a demo of your car's features, computer-driven and projected on a vinyl tabletop touch-screen. Vanessa, Our Cruise Director had her swoopy, Vanna-style arm motions down.
Then you get to try out a driving simulator that shows you how your car would perform with and without the Dynamic Traction System on.
And then.. and THEN.
You are whisked back upstairs, walked down a loooong, open flight of stairs, and...
"LOOK! There's your car!"
And OMG it's spinning, isn't that cool!?!?!?!!
You are so psyched to meet your car. After all, you ordered it weeks ago, and at this point you've already been at the Welt a couple of hours, and maybe you've had a little too much of the free coffee and the
free pastries (which are so much better than the ones at home, let us not forget), and DAMN isn't it shiny.
Note the tourist plates, which mean that should you find yourself, say, going fast on somewhere that's not the Autobahn, you fall into some kind of legal or practical or moral grey area which boils down to: the polizei don't know who you are, and BMW isn't gonna be helpful to them.
Vanessa Our Cruise Director then shows you all of the buttons and levers and gadgets in the car, including the Munich radio stations she's programmed in and the untouched odometer.
And it's key-handing over time!
That's a Bluetooth key, which you never have to pull out of your pocket - instead, you just hit a button on the dash to start the car. And it has a keychain attached, that is made of the very steel they built the Welt out of, and that's monogrammed with your initials. People outside the Premium Lounge can't have one.
Then you drive your car a few hundred yards and hand it over to a valet, because you've got a factory tour to go to. No worries, you'll be reunited soon!
And then you run home and blog about the crazy, half-genuine-fun, half-over-the-top-marketing-theater experience you just had at the Welt, so all your friends will run out and buy BMWs too. Send us an e-mail from the lounge if you do.