How does one relate an adventure without reliving it? The adventure started with a request, to Mercedes-Benz, for a European delivery of my SLK 350 in Stuttgart, Germany. Through their headquarters in New Jersey the trip was planned for April 14th Saturday. My brother, Cas Salemi and I flew to Frankfurt then on to Stuttgart. We spent Sunday night at the Steigenberger Graf Zeppelin; a convenient, business formal hotel.
On Monday, the 16th, Mercedes sent a large, comfy sedan to take us to the Customer Service Center, where I received the documents for my “auto”.
We took an outstanding, astonishing tour of the factory. There among huge automatic machinery, we witnessed the coming together of parts to make the MB automobiles. We were amazed at the accurate timing and precision of those huge arms. After lunch in the fine dining area, they took us to the showroom and presented my car to me. I felt so pleased and of course, excited. So much so, that I had my brother drive the car out of the showroom.
It’s time to start the journey
Monday evening, we drove to the Brenner’s Park Hotel in Baden Baden. It was a gem in one of Germany’s well-kept forest areas. Our visit was short: we could not stay for breakfast. But we were graciously given a lunch pack to enjoy on our way back to Stuttgart. A meeting was scheduled to meet Mr. Thilo Wessel, employee of the MB museum, in Stuttgart, that Tuesday morning.
It is a MUST! Anyone who purchases a Mercedes-Benz, must do this tour. Breathtaking, awesome from bicycles to today’s designs and engineering feats. We were impressed with its architecturally modern spiral design to display the treasures of the Mercedes-Benz company. So much is learned and truly appreciated when walking among those automobiles. We drove to Hinterzarten, Black Forest area, and spent the evening at the Park Hotel Adler: elegant, formal atmosphere. How easy to relax at their charming inn with a glass of good German beer.
Wednesday, 18th: The morning ride to the near town of Triberg brought back good memories of past visits. On and on we drove and up, up, we went. The temperature went down, down; surrounded by snow. Our car was a safe haven; warm and cozy, with no fears of road dangers.
Wednesday afternoon, we were pampered from the moment they opened the door of the car at Bayerischer Hof in Munich. Shopping, sightseeing and having “wurst” at the Hofbrauhaus, visiting at Dallmayr’s for apple “strudel” filled our days. Friday found us surrounded by snow-covered evergreens on the way to Oberammergau. The picturesque village can only make one smile with delight.
Saturday, 21st : We unveiled our top on the SLK on the way to Garmisch. Happily we found an auto exhibit, with MB’s too. The next road took us to Innsbruck, Austria. Due to drizzling weather, we continued to sunny Italy. Dolomite mountains showed more beauty in the alps. We continued through Bolzani, Verona, Como Italy having a great time learning how to use our features on the car. We depended on our NAVI system for all directions, in and out of the countries.
Tuesday, 24th : The “autobahn” drive was a wonder with snow covered mountains on all sides. The approach to the Gotthard Tunnel was a photo-site. This lead us to Lucern. Lake Lucern’s boatride showed us trapped in a snow topped valley. The days were spent walking, walking, walking the narrow streets.
Last days in Europe
Friday was the start of our last leg in Zurich. The first thing was to check out the auto export firm that was to receive my car the next Tuesday. We had no difficulty in arranging the export of my car. Next we visited the nearest MB dealer to ask about some of our features in the car. He was so helpful and invited us in for coffee (yes, we had our first Swiss chocolate, thanks to Mike).
Saturday, Farmer’s market: Large one filled with color: fruits, flowers, vegetables and baking goodies. The rest of the day was spent by lake ( Lake Constance) and another boatride to calm our pace.
Monday was “D” day – delivery day- we gave up the car for export home to NY, USA. Tuesday we flew out of Zurich, to Frankfurt, to NY.
What an interesting, revealing adventure! Cas and I are grateful to Mercedes-Benz for this opportunity. We would do it again!!!!!
In the following video you can accompany us on our tour through the Mercedes-Benz museum:
About the author
The article was written by Jean Sokol (83), who was a Mercedes-Benz SL driver for many years. In spring she picked up her new SLK in Stuttgart – together with her brother Cas (90).
Few weeks later, they send us a letter by post, enclosed a photo album documenting their journey through Europe. Last week, we got the digital pics.