I’m writing this from Hamburg, at least I think that’s where I am. Sometimes trips can be just plain boring. This one was most decidedly not. In a 16 day whirlwind tour I would stay in seven hotels and would span 8 cities to cover, however briefly: Munich, Vienna, Munich (again), Hamburg, Brugge, Düsseldorf, Bremen, and Bremerhaven. Countries: Germany, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Normally my trips last four to five days. With meetings and events spread out across half a month, this trip would be more than three times as long. And just to make things a bit more interesting, the weather forecast was rather fickle. Every time I looked, it had changed. Would it rain, snow (yes, snow in mid-October), drizzle, or perhaps even be sunny? The answer was all of the above and therefore I had to pack for all contingencies.
The beginning of the trip was timed so that I could attend the grand opening of BMW’s new “experience and delivery center,” the BMW Welt (for more information, see my article in Business Traveler magazine). For the following week, BMW had invited me to be the first customer to take delivery of a new car at the Welt (this is covered in the blog as well).
BMW was super organized, managing the arrival of hundreds of invited guests who were coming by plane, train, and yes, automobile. Dozens of 5er and 7er BMWs in the VIP Fleet were busy ferrying guests to hotels, to a celebratory dinner Monday evening, and to the opening itself.
The opening was incredible. I arrived early for a breakfast at the Welt and (as you will see if you refer to the photos in the blog), the morning light gave the new landmark a particularly striking appearance. The weather that day: sunny and 21°C.
The next day, off to a client for meetings and thereafter, dinner. Friday, meetings in the morning, lunch and an excursion to the country in the afternoon.
Saturday, off to Vienna, but first I wanted to attend (however briefly) BMW’s Publikumstag (public day) and see how the public would receive the building (they loved it, from all accounts).
My Monday morning meeting in Vienna was cancelled so I drove back to Munich. Tuesday was the big day. I would be the first customer to take delivery of a new car at the BMW Welt. Once again, shortly after 7.00 in the morning, I was being driven to the Welt. The weather was nowhere as nice; it was drizzling and much cooler. But that didn’t matter. As I walked through the door, each person I encountered proudly told me I was the first customer to arrive.
Next week, Extreme Road Warrior Part II.
Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.