Ingolstadt for the day

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Tuesday morning we had breakfast at our hostel, then took the train to Ingolstadt and walked to Audi. We entered an open foyer area surrounded by offices and containing several of the newest Audi lineup, my favorite of which was the 2011 R8 Spyder. After walking around and gawking at every turn, our tour guide gave us a brief presentation about what we were about to see, and we all headed over to the factory, giddy with excitement. We all received ear pieces so that we could all hear the tour guide through the microphone she was wearing. This seemed somewhat unnecessary - until we entered the factory.

A guy at the museum - to whom I am very grateful
When we entered the factory, the first thing I noticed was the noise. The sounds of countless machines mashing, welding, and cutting metal created a clamor that made it impossible to hear anyone from more than a foot away. The second thing I noticed was that there was a road painted on the floor. It extended to both sides for what seemed like a mile, and I thought it was somewhat ironic and comical until I realized it really was a road. Forklifts, bicycles, and occasional cars came cruising down this road, and because of all the noise we had to be very observant about what was behind us at all times. The Audi factory was extremely impressive. Although we were not allowed to take pictures, I am sure I will never forget the sparks that flew over the barrier at us from the enormous welding machines, the series of machines that molded and trimmed soon-to-be car doors, or the hundreds of car bodies that were transported overhead as we walked.

After the factory visit and a closing presentation about Audi’s history and values, we all went to the company museum. The museum was filled with beautiful cars from all eras, as well as engines and other automotive relics. We didn’t have much time before we left, so I joined Eric on his quest to take a picture of every car in the museum. We stopped to talk to an employee who opened a car door for the view of the interior, and we jokingly asked him if we could get in. He laughed and said unfortunately no, but that there might be a chance in the other showroom (that we were in initially). He was serious, so we quickly explained the situation to Dr. Tront and sprinted outside to the other building, with Megan and Stephanie (who were with us with the employee) falling behind. We walked calmly inside, and Eric asked the lady in German if we could get in one of the cars for a picture. She hesitated, and when she saw Stephanie and Megan running in she asked how many were with us. When she heard it was just us four, she agreed (mentioning that it was not technically allowed) and asked us what our preference was.

I got in the driver's seat, too, but the lighting is better in this one
2011 R8 Spyder. Probably the only time I will ever sit an a car worth over $200,000

After getting our pictures taken in the Audi R8 Spyder, the four of us left Ingolstadt with smiles on our faces, all still amazed that we got the opportunity. If anyone tries this in future years, just make sure you don't go all at the same time!

That evening we all hung out at the Wombat, as it was full of other young people that we enjoyed meeting and talking with. Everyone had great stories about their time in Europe, and we even met a couple of girls who were going to Virginia Tech’s villa in Riva San Vitale the day after we would be leaving! I didn’t get to bed quite as early as I should have considering we were going to Dachau early the next morning, but I had a great time meeting and socializing with other people from all over the world so I can’t say I regret it.