Blog: Germany works
Simon Warburton | 12 June 2012
Here in Nuremberg with Federal-Mogul to hear a series of presentations tomorrow at the supplier's Technology Day.
Nestling in North Bavaria, Nuremberg town centre, where we're billeted, is playing host to the event attended by dozens of European media and we'll also have a chance to see Federal-Mogul's piston factory tomorrow (13 June).
A quick trot round the quintessentially German town and the bunting is very much out for the country's big clash with arch-rivals Holland tomorrow evening in the next round of Euro 2012.
Nuremberg is festooned with German flags and comes replete with a giant outdoor screen - in front of which are lined up dozens of enormous trestle tables - drink, I'm guessing, will be taken whatever the match result.
It reminds me of my time in Cologne for the World Cup in 2006, where I really saw Germans let their hair down for the first time in terms of patriotic songs, flags and all the razzmatazz and hoopla we Brits so much like to ascribe to our own - usually forlorn - tournament hopes.
You can't help but think of this city's past as you wander round - it's almost wired into the British DNA - but from the rubble of 1945 now stands a thriving, prosperous and impressive city.
I remarked to a journalist colleague about just how few people there were on the streets. "They're all working," he said, and that seems to sum up this country - an oasis of industriousness in the current desert of pan-European gloom. A former colleague also remarked to me: "Germany works" - he's right in both senses of the phrase.
Federal-Mogul believes in Germany, too, and, to that extent we will hear presentations from its field marketing manager, chief engineer, pistons, dynamic engineer, seals manager and many others tomorrow about just what makes the operation tick.
We left the UK this morning in conditions the Scots might refer to as 'dreach' - cold, wet, misty and downright miserable.
Here in Nuremberg, the sun is attempting to break through and, after even England managed to scrape a draw against a pretty impressive French side last night, footballing spirits have been lifted. The Germans meanwhile - if their TV is anything to go by - remain quietly confident of their chances against the Dutch.
Addendum: I've seen more cabriolets this afternoon than possibly ever before in one go. I thought it was only us Brits with - ironically - our gloomy climate that went in massively for open air driving but it seems the Nuremburgers have a soft spot for soft tops too.
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...