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Published: July 13th 2010
Ah, the AutoStadt, German for Auto City. Considering that until VW built it's plant here there was no town it's quite accurate. The grounds have several pavilions, most promoting VW brands of one kind or another, plus a vehicle museum and an art museum. Our first stop after breakfast this morning (a lovely but slightly confusing buffet, I learned the german word for strawberry and used it the rest of the trip) was the Zeithaus, a museum with the history of german and European cars as well as LOTS of German and European cars. They even had the One millionth beetle made at the plant. This is the point where I whished I read german beacuse all the fascinating history was in German, but that meant Tony didn't have to wait for me to read everything before moving on.
After checking out of the Ritz we explored the rest of the Autostadt. We visted the Skoda, Audi, Seat pavillions. They had some neat displays about engineering and design and current models you could sit in and check out. We really liked one of the Skoda models...too bad they don;t have them in the US...they get over 50 mpg without being
It's a mini - mini
Tony playing with perspective and a VW Mini
The Lamborghini pavilion was a sound and laser light show that was kinda lost on us. It had a Lamborghini stuck on the wall and lots of loud engine sounds and lights and smoke. At one point the wall the car was on spun to make the car "disappear". I'm sure there was a story there somewhere but we were lost and the effects were not that great (yes we are spolied american theater techs, nothing much impresses us) I would have liked to look at the car close up rather than have the light show.
The Volkswagon pavilion was a round theater with a screen on the ceiling dome. They played art films that featured cars in some way. There were no words and the music was all in English so we got most of it.
The last place we looked at in the Autostadt was the parking tower. I've seen TV specials on neat parking solutions but seeing this in action was really cool. The towers don't have ramps, just slots and a lift. It reminded me of the Hotwheels storage boxes.
After we finished with the Autostadt (there were more pavillions
The parking Towers at AutoStadt
but I got tired of walking and it was getting pretty warm) we drove over to Wolfsburg castle. It had been made into the city art gallery with several exhibits on various floors. There was not a tour of the castle but we could walk around and looks at various parts and the grounds. Tony enjoyed it a lot and we climbed lots of stairs to get to the top of one of the towers.
From Wolfsburg we drove on to Berlin via the tail end of the Harz Mountains to see more of the countryside. At one point we paralelled the train tracks and at every crossing there seemed to be lots of people with cameras sitting around. We think they were waiting for the German Soccer team to come though on thier way to Berlin for the FILA Fan fest in the park.
Once we got to Berlin (and through the construction and road closures) we checked into our room at the Ritz. There were a lot more people in the lobby checking in than in Wolfsburg (funny that). We got a nice upgrade again to a suite this time. It has two bathrooms, a living
Tony found a fun place to hide in the walk in closet.
room, walk in closet, large bathroom, and a hidey hole that Tony had to climb in. the staff left us a nice chocolate bear (sorry Michelle, it's not going to make it home) and some great filled pastries.
We met Chris and Kathy (his Mom) in the lobby and headed to a nearby Italian restaurant for dinner. Why eat at an Italian restaurant while in Germany, you ask? Well, they were playing the world cup on the wall and that was a major requirement for our choice of restaurant that night. We all had a great time.
Tomorrow we head off to explore Berlin.
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