Blog: Deutsche Bahn bridges gap
Simon Warburton | 30 June 2011
To ANE's annual Congress, this time in the North-West German ancient city of Cologne - home to Ford's mega-selling Fiesta.
No direct flight to Cologne was available, so it was a hop to Düsseldorf, followed by a very rapid trip on Deutsche Bahn's gleaming double-decker train down the banks of the Rhine to the city whose huge cathedral has survived everything with which the centuries have had to challenge it.
In the UK, we're constantly being told we can't have double-decker trains because of our bridges of all things. Er, well that doesn't seem to have worried the Germans too much, why on earth can't the Brits build something similar (OK, the country's broke at the moment) to relieve some chronic overcrowding?
Ford kindly invited us to its mammoth plant just outside the city and by the colossal Rhine, whose proximity and access to Germany's ports made it such an attractive proposition to Ford in the first place.
The automaker fed and watered us before the plant tour in a room stuffed with some iconic brands that formed a major part of my youth - old Ford Cortinas replete with vinyl roofs, a Granada - and of course for us Brits of a certain age the best of all - the magnificent Ford Capri.
ANE held its 'Rising Stars' awards last night at Cologne's impressive Wolkenburg building, while tonight Ford of Europe chairman and CEO Stephen Odell follows up his recent thought-provoking comments with a speech at the Gala event.
Interestingly the evening is being sponsored by the US State of Kentucky and a chat last night with some of their representatives revealed the region to be somewhat of a hotbed for automotive suppliers. They're in Cologne to make that more widely known.
I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country....
Given the startling complexity of obtaining a journalist visa for China - the code 'J2' is now indelibly stamped on my mind - it was with some surprise how swiftly I managed to sail through airport im...