Road Trip 2011

CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman travels to Europe for his annual Road Trip adventure. This year, he'll check out the coolest technology, aviation, and cyber-sights the Old World has to offer.

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A tour of 600 years of watchmaking history

Road Trip 2011: Visitors to the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva can wander among dozens and dozens of the world's most beautiful watches. But the collection also features an archive of beautiful timepieces dating back to the 16th century.

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GENEVA, Switzerland--If you like watches, and you like history, there may not be a better place to visit than the <a href="http://www.PatekMuseum.com">Patek Philippe Museum</a> here. Those who make the trek to the stately building located a short distance from Lake Geneva will find what has to be one of the most important collections of watches in the world. Six hundred years' of watches, to be precise. And they're not just from Switzerland, although the museum also houses a great collection of Patek Philippe's own masterpieces. And there's even a master watchmaker showcasing his skills for all to see. Altogether, the museum is the famous company's effort to show the tools and techniques used by the craftsmen, the jewelers, engravers, lapidaries and many others who have made the world's greatest personal timepieces since the 16th century. 
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As part of <a href="http://news.cnet.com/road-trip/">Road Trip 2011</a>, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman visited the museum, and over three floors, saw many different themes presented. There are enameled watches, watch cases, snuff-boxes and portrait-miniatures which together illustrate the development of the art of enameling. The museum library includes more than 7,000 books on the study and measurement of time, or horology. 
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But if you visit the museum, you may also enjoy a small thematic tour, and to have a guide explain the fascinating singing birds, "perfume pistols" and other automata and musical pieces, the enameled pieces, or to tell you more about the history of more than 500 years of humans attempting to capture and understand time in small packages.
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This is one of the earliest watches in the museum's collection, which dates back to 1500. It is the "Runde Halsuhr," which was made in southern Germany of gilded brass between 1530 and 1540. Made in the shape of a drum, it has a cover (seen hanging) and what the museum says is a "straight-line foliate" made of iron.

Six centuries of the world's greatest watches (photos)

Road Trip 2011: While the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva features dozens of that company's best watches, the real treat for visitors is a tour of watches dating back to the 16th century.

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Two Eurostar trains await passengers at St. Pancras International station in London. CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman tested out the line during Road Trip 2011

Eurostar is the best way to get from London to Paris

Road Trip 2011: Though there are planes and ferries that can take you between the English and French capitals, the convenience and speed of the Eurostar train is unmatched. Just be careful how much luggage you bring.

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Audi's RS 5, A6 are treat on European roads

Road Trip 2011: After driving more than 3,000 miles across Europe in two of Audi's latest models this summer, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman had a hard time handing back the keys.

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ZURICH, Switzerland--For nearly 2,500 miles, I've been winding my way through Europe in Audi's wonderful RS 5 coupe. Over mountain passes, through incredibly narrow French village roads, on broad highways, and everywhere in between, the RS 5 has taken me safely from point to point as I've traveled the Continent on <a href="http://news.cnet.com/road-trip/">Road Trip 2011</a>. And now, with Switzerland's Lake Lucerne on my left and a plane ticket home from Zurich tomorrow, I'm having trouble coming to grips with giving this terrific car back.
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For six years, I've traveled many thousands of miles of the roads of the United States and now Europe as part of my CNET Road Trip projects. This year, for the first time, I decided to split the trip up into segments, driving about half the time and taking trains the other half. And for the weeks of driving, Audi provided me with two of its cars to road-test the RS 5 for the last few weeks, and its A6 3.0 TFSI for the first eight days.
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These are very different cars. The RS 5 is a fierce, compact two-door coupe, a sports car with attitude. And the A6 is a long, luxurious sedan with panache. But both had power to spare, a range of the latest accessories, and the never-ending promise of a good time on the road.
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This is the RS 5 I drove on Road Trip 2011 with France's Mount Blanc in the background.

Touring Europe in style in Audi's RS 5 and A6 (photos)

Road Trip 2011: Over the course of several thousand miles, CNET's Daniel Terdiman put Audi's RS Coupe and its A6 3.0 TFSI through their paces. And came away very impressed with the two cars' power, styling, and stability. All travel should be so comfortable.

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Where Zeppelins are born

Road Trip 2011: CNET's Daniel Terdiman got a chance to visit the headquarters of Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik, the makers of the Zeppelin NT, and to see the partial construction of the next of the new-style airships to emerge from the Friedrichshafen, Germany hangar.

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Mi-Fis from Xcom Global made it easy to get online in countries all over Western Europe during Road Trip 2011

Xcom Global's MiFi a lifesaver in Europe

Road Trip 2011: For CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman, being able to pull out a dependable mobile hot spot all over Western Europe made filing content simple, and avoided one of the biggest headaches for those traveling on business.

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Outfitting Porsches for Arabian kings, American ostrich farmers

Road Trip 2011: For 25 years, Porsche has offered its customers a high degree of customization for their new cars. Buyers can choose from any number of unusual interior-leather color combinations, and can even have their ranch's brand embossed on the seats. For a price, of course.

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STUTTGART, Germany--When you spend the money to buy a Porsche, you should be able to outfit your new ubercar just about any way you want.
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That's Porsche's philosophy, and for 25 years, the company has been giving its customers the keys to a heavy level of customization: Porsche Exclusive. The idea is that while there are many standard choices buyers can make about their new vehicle, those with more unique tastes shouldn't be reined in. So even if people want a color combination for their leather trim that might leave a lot of people shaking their head, Porsche is willing to make it happen--for a price. And just about anything else a buyer wants, so long as it's safe.
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Here, in the Porsche Exclusive workshop in Stuttgart, a highly trained employee labors to help a customer get just what he or she wants out of his or her new car. As part of <a href="http://news.cnet.com/road-trip/">Road Trip 2011</a>, CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman got a close-up look at what's possible.

Porsche's Exclusive customization shop

Road Trip 2011: Anyone who buys a Porsche can choose to have just about anything on the car customized--unless it's unsafe. CNET reporter Daniel Terdiman took a look at some of the ways new owners have their vehicles outfitted.

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MUNICH, Germany--For many BMW fans, this large Bavarian town--home to the company's headquarters and the place where many of its cars are made--is the center of the universe. And it's also where Bavarian Motor Works showcases what may be the most important and/or beautiful cars, motorcycles, and engines in its history: The BMW Museum.
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First opened in 1973, it was enlarged and redesigned in 2008 as part of a larger brand expansion that also includes the adjacent production plant and the famous "<a href="http://news.cnet.com/2300-11386_3-10008119.html?tag=mncol;1n">BMW Welt</a>," a massive glass masterpiece where anyone can come and see just about everything the manufacturer is up to today.
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Inside the museum, BMW lovingly lays out its many decades of automotive craftsmanship. For example, this is the first BMW model of car, a 3/15 PS, made from 1929 to 1932. "Although basically a British Austin Seven built under license," a sign at the museum reads, "BMW's engineers were able to incorporate many improvements such as four-wheel brakes, a larger all-steal body, and a higher standard of interior equipment and trim."

The history of BMW's 'ultimate driving machine' (photos)

Road Trip 2011: A visit to the BMW Museum in Munich, Germany, offers a peek at the many decades that the company has made some of the finest cars in the world.

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At the BMW Museum, 82 years of carmaking shines

Road Trip 2011: Located adjacent to BMW headquarters and the uber-modern BMW Welt, this homage to eight-plus decades of car-making is a must-see for any real fan of the famous Germany brand.

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The Millau Viaduct, the world's tallest bridge

Road Trip 2011: Filling the gap on the A75 autoroute from Paris to Perpignan, the Millau Viaduct rises up to 1,025 feet above the Tarn Valley below. And it looks good, too.

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