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June 28, 2014 | Continuing to Agadir and back to Europe

The weekend is over all too soon. On Saturday, my colleague departs as planned, and I spend the day cleaning the Editourmobil in readiness for the arrival of my co-driver on this leg of the journey – Rolf. He will be flying in this afternoon from Heidelberg. Rolf is a veteran of our previous tours so he knows the ropes. We team up again with our explorer friends we met at the campsite, and together we head off to the lively centre of Marrakech.

The place is heaving with tourists and the shouts of stall-holders selling drinks and all kinds of fast food. The souks are abuzz, and we are swept along by the hustle and bustle of the teeming crowds. It is still very warm. We admire the snake charmers, acrobats and the sounds of traditional music. To round off the evening wonderfully, Rolf and I manage to find a restaurant just off the main square, Djemaa el Fna, and we gratefully tuck into a delicious traditional Moroccan tagine. The icing on the cake is the World Cup match between Germany and Ghana.

On Sunday it’s time to bid a temporary farewell to our intrepid explorers on the most beautiful campsite in Morocco, because on Monday we have our next appointment in Agadir, which also marks the turning point of the tour. After a buffet breakfast and the general tidying up routine, we set off in the late morning in the direction of Agadir. On the way I notice miniature tornados, which resemble elephant trunks, kicking up the dust and sending it swirling up into the air. Then suddenly we are in the mountains, climbing up to a height of 1000m or so. The scenery is very beautiful and the colour of the earth is red here and there. The climb is taking its toll on the Editourmobil, testing it to its very limits and we are forced to crawl our way through the mountains at a speed of 20-30 km/hr. In the late afternoon we finally reach Agadir. A palm-lined road leads to the city and to our campsite, and the only thing to be said for it is that it is centrally located. It has garnered the worst reviews ever on the internet. And no wonder. The place is filthy, inhospitable, and has obviously had no money spent on it for years. In terms of value for money, it’s the most expensive campsite we have paid for up to now. Fortunately, we are only here for one night.

It is Monday, June 23. We have an appointment with Huilerie du Souss, bottler of edible oil and packaging manufacturers. After first ending up in the wrong industrial area, we turn up a little tardily at the correct address. Mr. Nabil Houssine, the director, welcomes us, together with Husky representative Mr Slimi who was also with us at APPE. We begin proceedings with a very interesting tour through the production halls, where in addition to preforms, closures, handles and margarine containers are made. HSB is part of the Belhassan group, whose ultimate boss, Mr. Belhassan himself invites us to a round table discussion about the company, the group and the Moroccan PET market, prior to leaving for another part of town to view the edible oil filling line. Modern filling lines for up to 5l PET bottles await us. It is already well into the afternoon before we are taken to a traditional restaurant, where Mr Houssine, well-known in these parts, and the manager take us on a conducted tour of the kitchen. We learn how a traditional tagine is prepared, before sitting down to partake of the resulting dish: three different kinds of meat with side dishes and honeydew melon for dessert. It is a delicious meal, and we are both delighted and overwhelmed by so much hospitality. But that is not all. We then head off to a very chic café down by the harbour where we enjoy a quick espresso as we admire the wonderful views. Just as thoughts of returning to the Editourmobil start to intrude, there is yet another welcome diversion, this time to one of Agadir's best addresses, the Sofitel. Once again Mr Houssine is a familiar face, introducing us first to the manageress of the hotel and then to a celebrated Moroccan singer who is holidaying here with his son. It seems that just about everyone who matters in Agadir knows Mr Houssine! We would like to take this opportunity once again to express our heartfelt thanks for this memorable day, it was wonderful!

This was our last meeting in Morocco, which means that we now have to head back to Spain again. Despite the late hour (it is already 7pm) we set off with the aim of reaching Marrakech if we can. We make it. By 11pm we are back at our favourite campsite and to our great joy and delight our explorer friends are there. Over a few beers and a bottle or two of wine, we recount our adventures.

It's Tuesday and the journey continues. Time for the final farewells, unfortunately. But we will stay in touch! Then off we go. We drive all day to the ferry at Tangier Med, where we board smoothly and without delay. Around 9.30pm we arrive at the port of Algeciras, and again no problems at entry. We decide to drive to a campsite in Tarifa for a night there. It must be 11pm when we pull up at the quiet gates of the campsite. Whilst getting out of the vehicle I accidentally press the fanfare button located in the footwell, and the night air is shattered by a blast of sound. Now everyone knows we’re here!

Next morning our first task is to go into town and get some money. We have run out of euros and we need to pay for the campsite before we can continue our journey to Higuera la Real. Tomorrow morning Resilux awaits us here. We drive all day. In the last third of the journey, the scenery changes dramatically, becoming hilly and wonderfully green. In the evening we arrive in the vicinity of Higuera la Real and decide to see if we can find a parking place and somewhere to eat in a tiny village which according to its tourist information plaque has just three roads. No sooner said than done. In about 15 minutes we have walked through the entire town and successfully located the one and only restaurant in the place. We settle ourselves on the terrace to enjoy our meal after which, tired but content, we waste little time in falling into bed.

Next morning we go to Resilux Ibérica Packaging, where we are welcomed by Cristina Fabo Indurain, CFO, and Estefanía Rivera, Head of Purchasing. We are given an introduction to the new developments in the preform and bottle manufacturer, followed by an extensive tour of the Resilux production halls where we find eleven Netstal machines.

Around noon, we continue towards Portugal, because in the afternoon we have our next appointment in Golega, Portugal with the liquid food and bottles manufacturers Mendes Goncalves. Once again, beautiful scenery stretches out around us on our journey. By the afternoon we are with Mr Luís Rodrigues, chief executive, in his factory. The bottles are produced on ASB machines and the bottles themselves are then filled in various liquid-food areas according to the recipe required. The well-known "Paladin" brand is produced here. The interview concluded, we decide to find a local campsite for the night. Once settled there we set off on foot to explore this wonderful little town, which is known the "Capital of the Horse". On the recommendation of the camp site manageress, we end up in a small non-touristy restaurant where mine host serves up a dish of local specialities and then takes us on a conducted tour of his own private museum in an adjoining room. Talk about great hospitality!

Next day we decide to take a little trip to Lisbon. We have no further appointments for the team, and so we have some time on our hands before heading back to Seville and my return flight. The journey goes by smoothly and thanks to good signposting (from the motorway!), the campsite is quickly located. Little wonder as it turns out, the campsite is huge and even has its own swimming pool. Whilst Rolf is relaxing in the pool, I carry out a few repairs to the Editourmobil. Part of the waste water hose under the vehicle has somehow come loose and has simply dropped off. Luckily, we have almost a complete workshop for whatever needs doing and in no time at all the repair is done. In the storage area, however, the fixing rails in some of the built-in drawers have come away, no doubt due to driving over bumpy country roads. Repairing them here would be prohibitive so it must wait until we are back in Germany. I hope that the next team consisting of Rolf (he is staying on) and CEO Alexander Büchler will be conscious of this and drive carefully. In the early evening Rolf and I hop on a bus to the city. The castle has unfortunately already closed so we walk through the narrow streets bursting with life and music, before stopping at a pleasant restaurant near the main square.

It is Saturday and we are on the way back to Seville, Spain. The plan is to get to Seville by the afternoon, and for me to catch the Sunday flight back to Germany. We finally arrive at the same campsite where we had parked the Editourmobil for its four week break, and from which I had originally set out. Slowly people recognise us again. We still have the evening ahead of us, and so we take the bus to the city centre and go sightseeing. The cathedral and the Plaza de España are simply stunning in every respect. As evening descends, we find ourselves in a cosy restaurant near the cathedral which is also showing the Brazil v Chile match. Afterwards we saunter around the city, enjoying a beer here and there, and I know that an abiding memory of this wonderful city will remain with me for a long time to come.

This section of the tour was not only exciting and eventful, but also in a way, something very special for me. The Moroccan PET market, the journey through this, for me, hitherto unknown country and the amazing hospitality we enjoyed were just a fantastic experience. Thank you for these wonderful memories.

The Go to BrauBeviale tour is now taking its summer break here. We will be back soon with the final part of our Spanish journey and the return trip to Germany.

Kay Barton