Our “ultimate European road trip” terminated in Stuttgart, Germany where we dropped off our once brand-new Macan S, named Max, at the Porsche Factory for its shipment home.
After being on-the-road for almost thirty days driving through Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland there comes the time when you realize… enough is enough… it’s time to go home!
And on this vacation, we brought back quite an unusual souvenir!
The Last Drive Segment and the Factory Drop Off
Autobahn to Stuttgart
Leaves Turning to the Fall Colors
The drive from Konstanz to Stuttgart was smooth and everything went as planned. But as we drove into the parking area in front of the Zuffenhausen complex the stark reality hit us… this was the official end of the trip and we will be going home tomorrow.
We were greeted by the same Porsche Delivery Consultant that we initially met a month ago but this time we gave him the keys and he gave us a folder of paperwork.
Saying goodbye to Max was strange after all the time we spent together and especially not knowing exactly when we would be reunited.
Our reflections as we enter the Factory Collection Building
As we walked through the building we glanced into the Delivery Hall and observed a collection of new Porsches all lined up, awaiting their owners and reflected on how excited we had been the night before we picked up our new vehicle.
Last Night in Stuttgart
Our journey began and ended at the Althoff Hotel am Schlossgarten which is an excellent hotel with a warm and welcoming staff. Upon checking in, they upgraded us to a magnificent suite with two balconies. The views were outstanding and added a fitting end to our visit.
You Know it’s Time to Go Home When…..
In spite of a lot of pre-trip planning at home there was still a great deal of “local” logistics to work out every day…which gets old after a while.
Simple things become taxing…. Sightseeing and side trip decisions versus staying put and taking in the local vibe at a small café. Even the question of what to eat and where becomes challenging.
As we neared the end of the trip, packing became a stuffing event… just roll it up and keep the clothes for the last few days separate and neat.
Craving a Steak and Baked Potato
We actually had a weird craving for basic, plain-old American food… like a steak and baked potato of all things. Finding a steakhouse proved to be a bit of a challenge as there were not a lot of choices, but we found one with decent reviews and it was in easy walking distance.
The street scene was very different from a month ago when we appreciated warm summer-like weather with hordes of festive people enjoying the Stuttgart Wine Village Festival with over 150 wine arbors and food vendors.
Now we are experiencing a cool, early Fall evening with a light throng of locals in the vast pedestrian plazas. This new perspective had us slightly lost so we asked directions from what turned out to be a patient, friendly woman.
“Could you direct us to the Block House Steak Restaurant?”
She replied, with a slightly puzzled look and said, “Why would you go there when we have exceptional Swabian restaurants for you to enjoy?
“We know, and we have enjoyed, but we’ve been here for almost 30 days and are going home tomorrow.”
With a smile of understanding and said… “Oh, okay, then go three blocks that way and turn right.”
Max’s Journey Home
We dropped Max off on September 29th, emptied everything out of the car down to the owner’s manuals and maps, and he went on to the German port city of Emden on a transport truck where he was then loaded onto the Goliath Leader a car carrier vessel which holds over 18,000 vehicles.
The ship stopped at a few more ports before heading out to sea. We were able to keep track of it as it crossed the Atlantic, passing through the Panama Canal and making its way to the port of San Diego where it went through customs and a final check over by Porsche.
We were finally reunited at our local dealer on December 3rd…. just over two months later.
So Would We Do It Again?
Taking delivery of a new car is exciting and punctuates a significant financial decision, but when you add a European delivery to the chemistry it results in a totally different and amplified experience.
Driving a performance vehicle, that you custom built, for a month long vacation through breathtakingly beautiful European countryside and the freedom to go anywhere with no rental car restrictions or expenses has an enormous upside.
On the flip side…. Driving a new car in a totally foreign environment, coupled with the associated paranoia about dents and dings as well as finding “perfect” parking spots adds a little stress to the once-in-a-lifetime euphoric undertaking.
Add to the equation the fact that…you will be paying for a car that you will not even see for over 2 months while it is in transit to your home port.
But you know….you only go around once and if you were going to purchase it anyway, why not step out of your comfort zone.
The whole thing makes for a great and unique story that gets enhanced each time we tell it!
As outlined in our “ultimate European road trip” series we had an amazing adventure and exceptional memories to reflect on in the years ahead.
In retrospect we had a vacation in Europe, were catered to by Porsche with reduced airfares and hotel rates, special meals, personal guided tours of the factory and world class museum, and a lot of personal, as well as, very thoughtful touches.
The driving experiences and the freedom to pick your own destinations and timeframes cannot be assigned a numeric dollar value… priceless comes close!
All we have to do is look at all of our pictures, read our travel article series and look in our garage at Max….
After all, what is the hurry… be inspired.
© 2016 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar
© 2016 Picture Credits Bob & Janice Kollar, Clyde Dickens, W.v.d.Waal, fleetmon.com, expedia.com