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Friday, November 04, 2011 | Back to Germany

Who would have thought it? My delinquent satnav has now decided to behave itself at last. In Hungary it locks on to the house number like a dream, thus saving me a lot of fiddling with the buttons.

Hungary is the last stop in our epic Go to Brau Beviale tour, before we head back home to Germany. Although we have only two confirmed appointments here, they could be amongst the most interesting of the tour, with two very different companies at opposite ends of the size spectrum. First off is the small filler Hungarospa handling 1 million bottles per year and directly afterwards the biggest of the bottlers visited on the tour, responsible for a total production of 250 million per year, Aquarius Aqua.

In addition to its filling facility, Hungarospa also operates a hotel, swimming pool, a thermal spa, a leisure pool and a camp site on its premises. For Aquarius Aqua, by contrast, bottling is its sole and unique focus.

This combination of fillers and camping is definitely a one-off. It must be unique in Europe if not the world. As a veteran Editourmobil-ist it seemed highly appropriate that at the end of the tour, I was able to enjoy all mod cons in a delightful setting.

All too soon it was time to put on our seven league boots and motor swiftly through Austria to Neutraubling. Since the tank was empty, I had to stop and decided to spend the night there. Let's just hope that the Editourmobil does not find itself on Saturday morning surrounded by huge numbers of employees from the local filler manufacturers.

So, 18,000km and 30 interviews later, here we are, back at base, exactly according to plan. I can’t take any of the credit for this, it is all due to the excellent backup team, who fought tooth and nail right up to the last minute to arrange all the appointments. The roll call of honour begins with Kay, who meticulously made all the preparations, looked after all the sponsors and took the first driving stint. Thanks go to Rolf who stepped in as driver to take the Editourmobil from Baku in eastern Turkey, ready for me to take over the next stage of the journey. Martina worked tirelessly with the exhibition people to take the stand design project forward so thanks to her. Thanks also to Matthias, who was responsible for the layout and the related graphics for the Editourmobil, as well as the display and stand. Thanks to Anthony, who was always standing at the ready to transform my blog into readable English. Felix deserves our thanks for ensuring the IT did not let us down on the tour and last but not least, special thanks to Heike, who worked unflaggingly before and during the tour to maintain contact with the various drivers and to ensure appointments were kept, and this despite communication blips, language problems and scheduling difficulties.

So, just in case there are any delays prior to the Brau Beviale press conference on Tuesday, I now have the luxury of three free days comfortably ensconced in Heidelberg, where, after an absence of 4 weeks, my nearest and dearest are longing to see me again.