For four months, I studied abroad in London, England. These notes are select entries from my experiences in the United Kingdom and Western Europe from that time.
Tuesday, December 1 –
Today was going to be a great day. Ever since I was a little kid, I have been a huge fan of Porsche. My Uncle Barry made me a card-carrying affiliated member of the Porsche Club of America at the age of 10. I grew up admiring his Porsches and developed a passion for the cars. In my mind, there really is no comparable car with such soul, character, performance and style all rolled into one. And there is no sound as beautiful as the purr of a Porsche engine. Today I would visit the home of Porsche in the Stuttgart suburb of Zuffenhaussen.
I woke up around 7:30 and went down the hallway to the WC for a shower. I packed my stuff and grabbed some frühstück downstairs before leaving for the Hauptbahnhof. There I put my backpack in a locker before catching an S-bahn to the Porsche factory in the suburb of Zuffenhaussen. Gotta love the efficiency and ease of the German transport network in all of their cities.
When I arrived at the Porsche Factory and Museum’s gate, a guard told me that I wouldn’t be able to tour the assembly line without two weeks written request. But when I walked in the museum, I was told that I would be able to do the 1.5-hour tour because of cancellations.
Incredibly, I was the only one who showed, so I received my own personal tour of the factory in English! I toured the museum with the legendary Porsches before the factory tour started at 10 a.m. The “Porsche process” was incredible and made me appreciate the cars even more. Interestingly, they make most parts of the cars still by hand at this factory, although they have opened up an assembly plant for Americas-bound Boxsters in Finland. They did this so Porsche could meet strong consumer demand for their reasonably-priced $45,000 sports car. They use JIT (Just In Time) supply chain extensively and employ about 4,500 people at the plant. They build the cars by customer order and are very customer oriented. The experience was free and unforgettable and I bought a T-shirt before leaving for the train station. One day I aspire to own a Boxster, or perhaps if I am very lucky, a 911!
Back at the Hauptbahnhof, I picked up my gear and then caught the 12:30 train to Heidleberg. There I had 45 minutes to grab some McDonalds before catching a train to Koblenz in the Rheinland, where I had started my Euro-journey earlier with my Uncle Barry. There I changed trains and headed towards Luxembourg City. I caught up on my budget, some tunes and my journal before arriving in Luxembourg at about 19:30.
Upon arrival, I decided to check out a hotel that my Lonely Planet guide recommended and found a clean room including breakfast for about $25. It was quite a bargain for such an expensive city and financial center like Luxembourg City. I then grabbed some McDonalds for the second time in one day — what have I become? I really had no other choice because that was all that was really open.
I then walked around the city a little bit before coming back to my room. I read up on Luxembourg and the sights to see for Wednesday as well as those in Amsterdam. I went to bed at about midnight. It was a very noisy night in this particular hotel!