Volkswagen Transparent Factory in Dresden, Germany

transparent factory germany

The glass building behind us is actually a factory for assembling Volkswagen Phaeton. It only does that and the cars you can see are all spoken for – they’re just awaiting for the owner to pick it up. We went on a tour of the transparent assembly plant in Dresden as part of our trip and it was surprisingly interesting!

german guide

This is our English speaking guide – you must have a guide with you when you tour the VW transparent factory and no photos are allowed inside.

You can hear her speak a little here.

pheaton factory

However, you can take photos outside of the assembly area. This entire factory assembles Volkswagen Phaetons only. It’s fully customizable in Dresden, Germany. This is where people come to buy a Phaeton – you’re guided to an area where you can choose everything from the color of the car to the interior features and get your own customized VW Phaeton.

volkswagen phaeton factory

I was rather astounded by the sheer cleanliness of the factory – it’s totally unlike any other factory I’ve ever been to before. The employees even have white overalls that are spotless! I don’t know how the Germans do it but we could learn a thing or two from them.

glass factory germany

The interesting thing about this factory is that it’s one-of-a-kind. The buyer experience it offers and the tall glass building combined with the robots makes this unique. There are automated carts that follows a magnetic path (which can be changed) along the factory floor so parts will be available to the staff when needed.

pheaton

You’ll probably be wondering how they get the cars out of the tall transparent building – it’s automated! There’s a car lift that goes up to the floor you want and rotates to the segment you want to extract a particular car (always a Phaeton since that’s what this factory produces). Very nifty.

vw factory dresden

There’s also a huge sphere where you can watch commercials, old ads and so forth – watch out for the latest one, it’s quite funny and targeted towards the Asian market since it’s the largest market now. The Volkswagen Phaeton transparent factory is worth a visit if you’re ever in Dresden. It’s a remarkable example of German efficiency and one of the attractions in Dresden – it’s the only transparent factory of this scale here.

transparent factory

I don’t think the Volkswagen Phaeton luxury sedan is coming to Malaysia in it’s current form e.g. infinitely customizable so purchasing the car is an experience in itself. However, it might be coming (don’t quote me on this) in several preset models – check out the Volkswagen Malaysia Facebook page and ask, they’re more qualified to speak about this than me. :)

The Leaning Pole of Dresden

leaning pole dresden

This is a peculiar structure located in the middle of the old part of Dresden Square. It’s a pole that leans at a 45 degree angle. The oblique inclination of the pole points towards an underground passage that leads to a railway station but the pole itself has no particular significance that I could decipher.

It’s not an optical illusion.

There is no signage to illuminate questing minds as to why the pole is canted.

I didn’t know why it was leaning.

It’s as if the pole had lofty dreams of becoming an attraction equal or superior to the Leaning Tower of Pisa but never quite made it, gave up, started drinking and…well, leaning.

leaning pole dresden square

Thus, we dubbed it The Leaning Pole of Dresden and took stupid photos with it. Heh.

Camwhoring Level 0

fail

Fail

fail deux

Fail

pass

Pass

I only managed to get it right on the third shot and that’s coz I flipped the LCD screen 180 degrees so I could see myself and frame the shot. I was aiming for a dSLR look with a heavily defocused background. I’m really bad in self-portraits – I think the technical term for this is camwhoring. ;)

protestant church

That’s the most famous Protestant church in Dresden right there. I travel around quite a bit – I just came back from Germany and I went to Jakarta before that. I couldn’t make it to another one this month due to a conflicting date but I’ll be heading to Nepal and the Philippines next month.

bratwurst

I’m what the industry call a FIT (Free and Independent Traveler). Basically, what that means is that you’re the adventurous trailblazing type who tends to go backpacking alone. That perfectly describes my two previous trips to Europe. This is the third.

I’ve had no problems with people running away with my camera, not even in the slums of Sri Lanka (don’t ask) or going on a totally badass adventure in Georgia with strangers. You need someone to take your photos when you’re traveling alone and while I’m not a huge fan of camwhoring, I concede that it’s very useful sometimes.

sony

The picture above is of the Sony Center in Berlin – the only one that has a cinema which shows English movies without subtitles. I brought the Sony NEX-F3 to Germany. All the photos in this post was taken using that. I wanted to see if it would make me take better shots. I have a dSLR but I wanted a more compact camera that I can stuff into my windbreaker pocket. You can try that with a dSLR – but be prepared to get tackled by the London Metropolitan police. ;)

The Sony NEX-F3 uses a large, high performance Exmor APS CMOS sensor that allows it to capture dSLR quality photos even in low light. It has interchangeable lenses and it’s very easy to use.

Let me show you my awesome photos!

night

This is a view of Dresden late at night. I was surprised at the low noise and incredible detail. I used this as my Facebook cover photo. Heh.

retro

Old school cash register. Appropriately shot in Retro mode. I normally wouldn’t get a good photo in the lighting conditions of the restaurant but this turned out very well.

view hotel

Hotel Taschenbergpalais Kempinski in Dresden – a view from my room. President Barrack Obama also stayed here when he visited. I doubt it’s the same room though.

defocus

I like how you can set manually adjust the Background Defocus, Brightness, Color (compensate for Warm or Cold), Vividness or just let it go on auto in Superior Auto mode. It usually gets it right.

There’s also scenes presets and settings inside to let you easily shoot in a wide range of picture effects with the full time continuous auto focus:

flowers

Pop color. Flowers in summer. It was unusually cold for the first few days, which was why I had a windbreaker on and just a shirt for the last few days.

These are all shot on the Autobahn from a fast moving vehicle to demonstrate:

red

Partial Color: Red

green

Partial Color: Green

blue

Partial Color. Blue

yellow

Partial Color: Yellow

backlight

Back-light auto compensation of a faux stained glass window. There’s also a built in flash that pops up if the scene is too dark! :)

Videos are shot in HD and you can use the modes available – this is shot using Retro mode. :)

Schloss Charlottenburg

Schloss Charlottenburg (Schloss means Palace) in Panoramic Mode. You can also do this in 3D (it saves in an MPO file) and display it on a 3D TV.

Automatic scene detection and Auto HDR makes skin tones amazingly natural. I literally shot this from the hip so you can get a sense of how fast the auto-detect works:

kids

Imagine the stuff you can do with this! There’s lot of customization possible. You can make the sky bluer for example.

Please…tell them, I am God. ;)

Do you want your very own Sony NEX-F3? Join The Ultimate F3 Photographer Contest and get a chance to win one of 3 cameras! It’s very simple – all you need to do is drop by any of the 10 participating Sony Outlets on a Saturday or Sunday, take your own photo using the Sony NEX-F3 and upload it (the promoters will assist you). Click on the link above for the Sony Outlet closest to you.

I love it! The Sony NEX-F3 makes me look like a better photographer than I really am. ;)

Only in Germany – beer and bubble tea at McDonald’s!

beer mcdonalds

I just came back from the Golden Arches in Dresden with where I had a beer for 1.99 Euros (about RM 8). I just wanted to go for the heck of it, Germany is the only place where you can grab a beer at McDonald’s. Heh.

mcdonalds germany

There’s also a bubble tea craze going on right now in Dresden. They’re selling it at McCafe for 2.69 Euros. Nigel had it and he commented that the bubbles isn’t the sago pearls usually found in bubble tea in Asia.

mcdonalds dresden

I tried it and sure enough, the “bubble tea” has been localized to an extent where there is no milk and and the pearls are made of something which pops in your mouth – it’s a sphere filled with liquid instead of being semi-solid.

mcrib

The popular McRib (where aficionados in the US have been known to drive hundreds of miles for) was alright but I was too full from dinner to fully enjoy it. It’s a flavorful pork sandwich slathered with BBQ sauce.

nigel

However, that’s not the point. The point is drinking beer at a McDonald’s. Heh. It comes in a 330 ml plastic cup and conforms to the German beer brewing purity law but to be honest it was nothing special.

mcdonalds beer germany

…but hey, I drank beer sold at a McDonald’s outlet! :D

Posted: 12:06 am Dresden time (GMT +2)

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