Picking up the Mercedes and drive to Interalpen.
We had breakfast at the hotel- surprisingly good croissants, fresh fruit, espresso. There were lots of meat options for Sheldon and non-meat options for me. I kept an extra orange for the road and we packed and waited for our cab driver to take us to the factory. He arrived a few minutes early which was good because Sheldon had started trying to text him at about 8:45. Between Sheldon’s basic German and the driver’s few words of English, we were able to make it to the factory. The weather was perfect, sunny with a slight breeze and temperature in the 60s.
We arrived at the factory at 9:35 and waited for a few minutes until an English speaking service person was ready to process our car. While waiting we had a “Mercedes cocktail” – a juice mix consisting of mostly grapefruit juice. We took a stroll through the gift shop where we bought matching Mercedes windproof fleece jackets.
When we were called over to the desk, the first thing she asked was for us to give her our receipt of order. I searched through all the papers I had been sent and did not have it. She gave us a very disappointed expression and said “Dat is ok, I will get a copy.” When she came back with the copy, we thanked her, and she said “Of course, that is not as it should be, but we now have vat we need”. She then sent us to wait in the customer observation area, where we could overlook the garage where deliveries to customers are made. We spotted our car immediately and tool some pictures. Our car is at the far left:
There was a lounge with coffee, pastry, fruit and snacks. There were cool stools with the Mercedes logo on the foot rests:
Many locals were there- the locals bring their license plates with them to pick up their new car and then just drive out. One of the reasons we had to wait was for a courier to bring our license plates from the German equivalent of a DMV. We watched several people getting their cars: a Mom with 3 kids getting a van (3 car seats!), several people getting Smart cars, and many people looking like this wasn’t their first Mercedes.
Smart car delivery area:
It was a pretty big deal to us. Another English speaking assistant came and explained the numerous features of the car. She also took a picture of us with our car, I guess we weren’t the first customers who wanted that- she grabbed her camera and had took the shots and had hard photos back to us in about 90 seconds.
The on board computer system is incredible. It will take me a lot of time to learn to use it. The explanations and questions took long enough the we missed the English language factory tour, so we decided to take advantage of the free lunch voucher that we were given in our package. We had a very nice lunch and even sampled a glass of local red wine. Most of the local wines are varieties that are unfamiliar to me, but the wine was a nice light red.
Then we were on the road:
Next stop was the Interalpen Hotel in Telfts Austria. This hotel is a 5 star resort nestled in the Alps. Part of our European delivery package was a free night at a hotel. We had numerous hotel choices, including hotels in Stuttgart that we could have used Sunday night, but we chose to use the free night on the night after getting the car instead. We set our destination in the on-board navigation system and headed out. We stopped at the Austrian border and bought a 10 day pass for driving in Austria, which is required. The drive to the hotel was one spectacular view of mountains and villages after the other. Sheldon did the driving which gave me the opportunity to enjoy the scenery.
Arriving at the hotel, the garage entrance was a little confusing, we parked the car and started to walk into what looked like the lobby when we realized that it was not a lobby, but a spot to drop off luggage and have the valet park the car.
Our luggage was loaded onto a luggage cart and we went up the elevator to the lobby and checked in. The hotel was built in the grand hotel tradition with sweeping wings and large open common areas, but with modern amenities and modern building techniques, since it was built only 27 years ago. Our ‘room’ consisted of a foyer, a bathroom with a soaking tub, shower, double sinks and a private toilet area. Further down the hall was a ‘changing room’ with closets and a twin sized bed. The main room had a large bed, a seating area and a table area. The balcony overlooked the back grounds of the hotel and the vistas of the mountains.
View from the road on the way up the mountain to the hotel:
View from the balcony:
The desk clerk had encouraged us to use the spa area, so we put on our bathing suits, our spa robes and slippers and headed down to the spa. There were relatively few people there for the number of rooms, and we found our way with assistance to the ‘salt pool’, a pool kept at body temperature and salty. The attendant requested we wear no bathing suits in the pool, so off went the suits as we descended the steps into the pool. If you lie back in this pool and let your head fall back so that your ears are underwater slightly, they play whale songs under the water. The room is cave like and dimly lit. It was very refreshing for us.
Afterward, we made our way to the large solarium room at the spa and sat on lounge chairs for a few minutes enjoying the view of the trees.
Then, time for the 5 course dinner included in the package for the hotel. The first course was the salad bar with incredible choices of fresh greens, fruits, nuts and a display of about 50 different cheeses. The bread choices were beautiful, ranging from hard black bread rolls to light airy croissants. An assortment of yogurts, salads and pastries were also displayed. Of course, it was hard to choose, but we managed! The second course was a choice of a fish cake or chicken breast. I had the fish cake, a piece of fish about 1 inch oblong served very artfully with a white rounded piece of something resembling a small block of tofu. I asked the waiter and he said it was buttermilk. I took a small bite of it and it was quite yummy but passed on any more than a small taste since I don’t normally eat dairy foods. Course three was the soup- a mushroom broth or a cucumber crab cream soup. I had the mushroom and Sheldon had the cream soup. We had ordered water, and a bottle of mineral water was brought and our glasses kept filled by the waiter. Sheldon ordered a glass of wine and had the waiter bring the chef’s choice for his main meal. The main course was veal for Sheldon and asparagus for me. The asparagus was several thick white asparagus cooked to a perfect consistency served with a garnish of carrots. Delicious. The servings were very small, but perfect. I remembered the 5 course dinner I cooked a couple of years ago and realized that I should have had a much smaller serving size for that many courses. Finally, we were brought the final course, I had a lemon sorbet with a chocolate torte and Sheldon had kiwi and tonka fruit with sauce. The waiter then invited us to sample the cheese bar but we passed and walked around the lobby for a few minutes, then headed to our room to bed. A long beautiful day!