This post is sponsored by BMW.
Tuscany has been amazing as usual. After filling our eyes with the beauty of the landscape and our tummy with tortelli and chianina, it was time to move. Next destination: Liguria.
As Viola had her entertainment, I wanted mine too!
Let me tell you about ConnectedDrive Services. This is the basis for all handy ConnectedDrive functions. It provides information, entertainment and services. These include for example the service “BMW Online”, which provides information like fuel prices, parking situation or travel guides. Another great service is the access to the BMW owned and third party smartphone apps like BMW Connected, BMW Remote, Twitter, or Spotify.
I plugged my iPhone into the Snap-in adapter right beside me and… all hail Spotify. When I found out I could connect it and manage it directly via the iDrive Touch Controller and the Control Display, I was overexcited. No more loud djs chatting about summer horoscopes, just my favourite music to listen or sing along to.
I don’t know if it’s the same for you but, for me, a good soundtrack is essential while driving.
Before arriving in Liguria we stopped in Pisa. Viola had never seen Pisa tower before and we stopped for a walk, a visit of the monastry and the classic touristic ‘I’m-holding-the-tower’ picture.
Here, the Grand Tourer solved another problem: where are we eating? This time we asked the Concierge Service, which is also a very helpful part of BMW ConnectedDrive Services.
By simply clicking a button you are connected by phone with a BMW ‘butler’ able to solve any problem. Or almost any. He or she helps you literally in every situation. Need a hospital? Ask. Looking for a playground? Ask. The concierge is able to send the GPS data of the researched location directly to your navigation system.
I admit that using it for the first time was hilarious. You always expect a computer to be on the other side of the phone, not an actual – kind and nice – person. So I spoke with a lovely girl asking her to suggest us restaurant, and she did.
Viola waited for the call to end before asking: “are you talking TO THE CAR???”.
Around late afternoon, just a slightly bit slowed down by the traffic that luckily the Real Time Traffic Information – telling us in real time about our location, duration of delays and the quickest and the most efficient route possible – promptly pointed out,we finally arrived! It’s so useful to know what’s happening on the road minute by minute.
Viola loves Liguria: its beautiful sea, the friends, the mouth-watering focaccia.
The soft, oily, delicious focaccia is the quintessential Ligurian food and it’s just impossible to resist. Since early morning, people queue at the bakeries to grab some. It’s the protagonist of all beach and boat lunches round here, and with a number of good reason.
I didn’t know Liguria before, and I get to love this region more and more every year. Green cliffs over the sea, stunning little towns, Cinque Terre, delicious food. Everything here is amazing.
This year we convinced Viola’s granny to use his little boat again – well, it’s more correct to say that we used it. It was the perfect way to explore the coast, reach hidden beaches with crystal clear water and land to Monterosso and Vernazza from the sea.
A lunch with focaccia and figues by Bonassola church, a crazy dive competition between us, a coffee in Vernazza, chasing the seagulls: can’t imagine a better day.
Arriving from the sea to Cinque Terre is simply magical: the towns arise from the sea, surrounded by green hills, in all their colors and beauty.
Their atmosphere is crazy: crowded with tourists by day, enchanted at night. There’s no better way to experience Liguria than having a dinner overlooking the sea in one of the many restaurants. A favourite of ours is Al Castello in Vernazza, hosted in a former medieval tower with the most stunning view of the gulf.
I would lie if I said that time in Liguria didn’t fly. We spent beautiful days at the beach, soaking up all the sun we could.
I think road trips are always the best way to enjoy a long holiday. They’re made to discover and to stay together, and we happily did both.
When driving, especially with kids, you want to do it safely. That’s one of the thing I appreciated the most of the Grand Tourer: it is the kind of car where you feel safe.
The car offers various Driver Assistance features. I appreciated a lot the Head Up-Display. It shows important information in my natural view. Basically, all I needed to know was displayed right into my view, so I was able to stay focused on the road while getting key information like my speed, enterainment lists, telephone calls and the speed limit. Genius.
I also experienced the Camera-based active cruise control. I set the speed as well as the distance to the vehicle ahead. If necessary, it brakes the vehicle to a stop and automatically accelerates it again.
Collision warning is another great feature: the car automatically activates the brake if it senses a possible collision. How many accidents could be avoided if every car had it installed?
Last but not least: while driving long distances another playful feature helps you to optimize your fuel consumption: the ECO Pro Modus. It tells you for example, when to switch gear and tells you how many extra kilometres you gained, by doing so.
And finally the features that would have been SO useful in Rome (but it’s useful quite everywhere): the Parking Assistant.
How can I say that: well, the car parks nearly itself. It identifies the parking spot, asks you to help with brake and wheel, and it just turns and navigates the car into the spot. At first I was laughing crazily. The second time it looks like magic. The third I thought I could become addicted.
Our holiday came to an end, but I’ll treasure these moments forever. She’s 7 now. She is a young girl with a strong personality, a loving family, and – hopefully – many great memories.
I want to help her having more and more, and travelling, exploring, moving, is one of the best way to do so.
If you can do it in complete safety, comfort and fun, like we did with the 2 Series Grand Tourer, that’s a lot better.
Find out more about the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer here.