Regensburg and BMW Factory TourSeptember 28, 2017 in Germany ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C
Today was our first morning on the boat. It's kind of easy to forget that we're on a boat really. It was a bit of a sleep in for us since we were in motion and not able to get out and starting running around a town even if we wanted to. The breakfast buffet was quite extensive and Tyler is still grappling with the tendency to overeat now that there's so much included food at hand. After breakfast there was a presentation by the cruise director Ibi. She explained day by day the activity options. A few of us got dozy, but that's ok as we had already read the information packages and made a lot of our selections.
We were still cruising in the morning so we had more spare time throughout the morning. Before we knew it, it was time to eat again. Again lunch had tonnes of options; the popular choice at our table was fish with rice. It was very tasty.
The boat was a little late arriving to the dock at Regensburg but we were all ready to disembark to carry on to the afternoon activities. Rae and Celeste decided to spend the afternoon in the town of Regensburg but the rest of us opted for the BMW Factory Tour. We got an extra brief city tour (extra short since we started late) and then it was on to the bus to drive to the factory. Just seemed like an opportunity not to miss and we were so right!
We met our tour guide Stephanie who walked us through the various areas of the factory. After a short informational video we started the tour. Absolutely no photos allowed on the tour which in a way was good as we could just really take it all in. We started in the body shop seeing the "robot garden" where the robots would weld together about 5000 individual parts on the body of each car. Then these frames move on to what she called the "petting zoo" (no shortage of interesting names to describe what they're doing). The petting zoo is where the staff use some type of gloves to feel the surface and make sure there are no defects in the body of the car. There were lots of interesting things that we learned and watching the numerous robots working away was mesmerizing. The next stop was the paint shop. We learned about the 5 layers of paint that they use and the different colours of the filler layer. Again we watched the robots, this time spraying paint on the body of the cars. This was termed the "robot ballet." There was another short video (the seats were BMW car seats... comfy). Next we walked past a huge building that stores the painted car bodies until it's time for assembly. Again super interesting to see the complexity of the system to build the cars.
The last and most impressive stop was the assembly building. We saw the BMW associates installing the tires, doors and parts of the interior. This was where the most human work seemed to be needed. It is amazing that they have everything lined up properly so that the correct door comes down right on time with the matching car. We were warned in advance not to take the BMW decals from the assembly line. Of course we wouldn't have anyway, but I was amazed to see that we walked right past an open case of them! The tour was result very impressive and I'm sure we only got to see a small portion of it! There was a quick stop for the gift shop and then back on the bus to get back on the boat.
Immediately when we returned to the boat, there was a lecture about the construction and technology of the canals. Very interesting and I didn't know anything much about it before.
We got dressed for dinner (Tyler decided on lederhosen because he stained his good pants with gravy on his birthday, but I took the opportunity to wear the nicer clothes I brought.) Tonight was the captain's reception and welcome dinner. We were introduced to the leaders of the different groups of the staff. Dinner was a multi course meal. The main course was steak and was very tender and cooked properly. It was a relaxed and enjoyable meal. After dinner, we retired to the Captain's Club, a room where they have board games and lounging space. Much quieter than the bar lounge. Rae and Brett journaled, Tyler played Metroid, and I worked on this post. Another great day!!!
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