Friday, August 8, 2014

Recalling a visit to the Audi factory in Ingolstadt, Germany. Part 1


Today, somewhere in the world, living a Travelife, someone gave me a ride in his new top-of-the-line Audi.

I'm not a car person really, but he was obviously very proud of his new toy, all of two weeks old. He told me today: "This car manoeuvres like a dream. For a weekend car, I just love the Audi."

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FAST CARS ON A WEEKEND

Yes, he has a weekend car and two weekday cars -- one from Italy and the other from Germany too. All of them are equally nice luxury cars.

But today he said: "Of all my cars, the Audi is the most fun to drive, especially if you're into car technicals."



MY OWN AUDI BRAGGING RIGHTS

I'm not. But, fortunately, I owned some bragging rights as far the Audi is concerned.

He may own the best possible Audi on the market today, but he's never actually been to the Audi factory to see how his favourite car is actually made.


Reception for all guests to the Audi factory

A VISIT TO CAR HEAVEN

Meanwhile, I've actually visited the main Audi car factory in Germany, which, if you're an Audi fan, is the equivalent of going to car heaven.

Yes, on one of my trips to Europe with some friends, I got dragged all the way from Asia to a nondescript German town called Ingolstadt.

This is about an hour's drive from Munich, to visit the Audi car factory and museum.


The entrance to the Audi Museum

A DOUBLE WHAMMY OF A TRIP

I use the term "drag" because I was pretty unenthusiastic about it from the outset -- especially since visiting this factory also meant staying in what looked like a completely nondescript hotel nearby.

Double whammy, as far as I was concerned.

A nondescript hotel is at the very top of the list of things I try to avoid in a never-ending Travelife.

The Audi factory and museum in Ingolstadt, Germany.
A vintage Audi bike on display.

THE DEAL BREAKER

If you read this blog, you'll know I love luxury hotels -- or at least interesting hotels.

Where to stay is usually a deal breaker for me.

Well, as usual, I was in charge of booking the hotels for this trip, and when I began researching about Ingolstadt, I could find nowhere I would ever think of staying.


The kind of hotel I usually like.
Chateau D'Artigny in France
A member of the Small Luxury Hotels (SLH)

NARROWING OPTIONS

For luxury places, the only options were the nice hotels in Munich or a Relais & Chateaux hotel in the countryside towards Dresden, about an hour away.

Both were not really feasible options because of our time constraints, so I had to look for some place in Ingolstadt itself.


We ended up taking a chance and booking a small hotel that did not look promising.

But it was a choice between this and a business hotel which looked like a car factory itself, so I closed my eyes and booked the small hotel for the price of a lunch in a bistro in Paris.


ATTRACTIVENESS RATING

The Audi factory and museum in Ingolstadt, Germany.
This is another of the cars we went all the way to see. 


Then there was the visit to the car factory itself.

A visit to the Audi factory in Germany was not very big on my list of things to do in Europe.

Personally, I would have rated it at about the same level as a visit to an oxcart making factory in Costa Rica or a silk weaving factory in Hangzhou, in terms of attractiveness -- meaning attractive to some people, but fairly uninteresting to others.


Scroll down to read more about the pretty amazing Audi factory...



FULL OF SURPRISES

Well, this trip to nondescript Ingolstadt was certainly full of surprises.

For one thing, the hotel we stayed in was actually charming.

The rooms were small -- I felt like I was sleeping in my walk-in closet -- but they were comfortable, tasteful and well-designed.


The hotel had a lovely garden and a beautiful breakfast room that enchanted us all.

I even had a private terrace and garden with a nice deck chair, from where I remember I sat through the sunset hour, exchanging BBMs with someone halfway across the world.

A VERY INTERESTING VISIT
TO THE AUDI FACTORY


Part of the Audi HQ lobby has a coffee shop for employees 

Meanwhile, the visit to the Audi factory was truly interesting. The factory was spotlessly clean and everything worked like clockwork, with incredible precision.

So in the end I was very happy to go. Sometimes it's good to extend past your interests and usual haunts, and experience things you ordinarily wouldn't do.

This certainly widened my world a little bit more. 

The Audi factory and museum in Ingolstadt, Germany.
The engine of a vintage Audi car.

More details on the Audi factory in Ingolstadt tomorrow, reminiscing about just another wonderful trip in my never-ending, and never-endingly eventful Travelife.






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