on wednesday me and my dad headed out to wolfsburg to visit the autostadt, which directly translates to 'car town' in english. the autostadt is essentially a complex which has been built around a volkswagen factory where cars are manufactured, where you can buy new and used cars, explore the various car brands that volkswagen own, and relax around the beautifully laid out campus on the various grassy patches or stop for a bite to eat in one of the restaurants. as a volkswagen owner and part time enthusiast, the autostadt's been a place that i've been eager to visit for a while now, and my trip there really didn't disappoint.
as i mentioned above, the complex is extremely beautiful, with various waterways running throughout it and plenty of water features to keep you entertained. all the pavements are surrounded with grassy areas – perfect for if you fancy a sit down – which have been thoughtfully decorated with bold and colourful flowers, and on a beautiful day like the day we visited it really helps to create a relaxing, enjoyable atmosphere that i think anyone could appreciate; i think the autostadt would make a wonderful day out for families, couples or groups of friends, provided you have an interest in cars (ideally german cars,) of course.
first up, we visited the audi pavillion, a brand that i have a growing interest in. the pavillion itself reflected audi's brand ethos well because it felt extremely innovative, modern and sleek as a brand experience. when you entered the building, you were given a glowing orb that you could insert into various holes throughout the building that were placed next to screens, which would then tell you information about the cars and the technology used within them. you could also get up close and personal with the various cars they had on display to really check out what they're like, inside and out, which was particularly exciting for me because i'm quite the fan of the a1 *swoons* one day!
we then headed out to the skoda pavillion followed by the premium clubhouse, which were worlds apart. the skoda pavillion was clean, modern and simple, with a pleasant aesthetic that concisely took you on a tour of the brand before introducing you to some of its latest models. the premium clubhouse on the other hand was a huge, dark building lit with neon lights that helped to reflect the paintwork of the building's only resident, a bugatti veyron. now, i don't really have any interest in super cars, so i found myself wandering around a bit aimlessly while my dad marvelled and took various snaps of a car he'll no doubt ever see on the roads. it was a monster.
next up we decided to grab some lunch at a restaurant beside one of the waterways. as you'd expect we paid an awful amount of money for what was essentially a whole sandwich between two of us, a coffee and an apple juice, but the seat next to the water kind of made up for it. it was lovely to relax and unwind in the lovely weather, surrounded by the sound of the soft flow of water and some feathered friends that decided to pay us a visit in the hopes of being cute enough to bag themselves some free food (their tactics worked, by the way. too cute!)
we decided to leave the best brand until last, heading out to the volkswagen pavillion after finishing our lunch. i love volkswagen's branding because it seems to focus heavily on quality and the brand heritage, always throwing in a healthy amount of humour and wit to keep you engaged. my favourite volkswagen advert however is the recent bluemotion animation with the illustrated family tree, detailing the brand's history throughout the decades and the cars that have really set the brand apart from the rest; one being the lupo, yippee!; and the volkswagen pavillion was focussed around the bluemotion technology and the family tree idea, with illustrated walls and an electronic screen that played that very advert. another nice touch within the pavillion was a swing for kids to hop on and have a picture taken with which i thought was fantastic because it helps to enforce their idea of a brand family by involving families themselves within the paviollion – brilliant!
lastly we visited a building that held a range of cars from as early as the 1920s, so it was really interesting to walk around and see how cars have developed over time; i find it fascinating how the oldest cars were so simple within, yet so grand and elaborate on the outside! i'd also never realised just how bloody big some of the old cars were, some were like small boats! there were a couple of lovely typical 'vintage' cars hanging around from the 50s and 60s, painted in wonderful pastel colours, that really caught my eye – they clearly very heavily influenced the 90s' nissan figaro!
it was also pretty cool to see a delorean amongst the cars because it's not every day you get to stand next to a back to the future car! i also really enjoyed seeing some of the first models of classic volkswagen cars such as the beetle, campervan and golf; the beetle in particular because it was utterly fabulous, painted in gold with diamond (probably not real diamonds, but you feel me) encrusted accents all around the vechicle.
altogether, the autostadt was a fabulous experience for car lovers, and german car lovers in particular. as well as the brands mentioned, there were also pavillions for lamborghini and seat, so there are plenty of brands to choose from to find one that takes your fancy. even if you don't have a huge interest in cars, it makes for an interesting day out and the complex itself provides you with wonderful scenery to brighten your day, so i'd definitely recommend giving it a go if you're ever nearby and in need of something to occupy a day, especially if you're wanting to do something a little bit different!
lastly, i'd like to leave you with this yellow monstrosity, which i suspect may be the original 60s culprit of the horriffic eyelash trend that seems to have swept cars (micras in particular *shudders*) nowadays – what do you think?!