Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Greetings from Wolfsburg, Germany!

I am staying at the Ritz-Carlton hotel which is an integral part of "Autostadt" - Car City.

VW - Volkswagen - owns several brands: Seat, Audi, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Skoda and Bentley. This 25-hectare site celebrates the brands in spectacular fashion ... and is also home to the world's largest factory - which employs around 50,000 people. Basically anyone who buys a new VW can come and pick it up in person ... and look around this "theme park" at the same time (& stay at the hotel).

The VW factory has its own 70-year old coal fired power plant (which features the world's longest building brick wall) and produces around 3000 vehicles a day.

The Autostadt opened in May 2000 and attracts 2 million visitors a year - not only those coming to pick up new cars but also to enjoy the attractions. Autostadt owns the luxury hotel which is managed by Ritz-Carlton. More on the hotel tomorrow ...

My flight to Hanover was short and sweet. There was then an 80 kms drive along the autobahn to this "motor vehicle enthusiast's resort".

I have to say that my home airport - Gatwick - is the most soulless, dull and dreary airport in the world. Whoever now owns this airport MUST do something to make it world class (again) not the dismal failure that at the moment it is obviously so.

I was greeted warmly by the RC ... and after a quick lunch sent to explore Autostadt. My guide was the wonderful Myriam Menzel who took me on a fascinating whistlestop tour of the attractions. I am NOT a car person but I was impressed by a silver Bugatti Veryon ... and erm - the cheesecake in one of the restaurants. Tim and James would LOVE it here!

The weather today was stunning which made the afternoon all so good. It ended at 2 x 60 metre tall glass silos that fit 400 vehicles in each. These silos are filled during the day and emptied at night ready to be handed over to their new owners in the morning. There is an excellent "ride" that takes you up and down inside one of the silos ...

Back to the hotel for a swim in the outdoor pool that is heated to 29 degrees! It was chilly outside but so lovely in the water.

The hotel keeps feeding me ... I feel like a bloated seal (nothing new there I hear you say) ... more of that to come tomorrow at the 3 Michelin-starred restaurant - Acqua ... yum!
I like driving in my car!

THE Bugatti Veryon

With Myriam
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