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Monday, March 25, 2013 | From Buenos Aires to Montevideo - end of the second stage of the tour

The weekend sped by, but it did give me time to sort out the week’s interviews. Now it’s Monday and my first job is to confirm the meeting with Quilmes, Argentina’s biggest brewery. We had a few problems juggling the timetable but eventually Chiraz and I find ourselves in the foyer of the company, awaiting the arrival of our hosts for the afternoon. Just to confuse us, we are welcomed by two Pablos – Juan Pablo Zug, Zone Technical Development Leader and his colleague also called Pablo. The company, one of the AmBev group since 2002, and subsequently,from 2004, the AB-InBev group, has five breweries in Argentina, and boasts equipment from Krones and KHS Simonazzi to handle seven different Quilmes beers.Quilmes beer is the undisputed Numero Uno in Argentina. It’s a great pity that time is too short for more than a brief interview and a few quick photos. Sadly, there is no chance either of seeing the production lines today. Back at our hotel in the evening I start to do my packing, because tomorrow morning we have to catch the ferry to take us from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. This is our last stop on the tour. After this, we return to Heidelberg.

Discussions with Quilmes, the largest brewer in Argentina

Well, good morning Tuesday………… our last day in Buenos Aires. I quickly gulp down a cup of coffee. Time is short; the taxi picks us up promptly at 8.15 but I just have time for a quick call to the office. I have quite a few bags, rucksacks and suitcases to cram into the taxi and then we are away, fortunately avoiding the traffic and arriving in the nick of time to check in at the ticket office of Buquebus, the ferry company. The terminal is fairly new and the check-in procedure reminds me strongly of an airport. Once through the transit area, and therefore officially no longer in Argentina, we install ourselves comfortably on the deck and I take a few final (for me anyway) panorama photos. The ferry finally pulls away from the quayside and we begin our three hour journey across the mouth of the River Plate to Colonia in Uruguay. Here the shuttle bus is waiting to take us on to Montevideo. By 3.30pm we have arrived at our destination. At the bus station. Michael, an expatriate German who runs Uruguay-Trip, is waiting for us. He has a depot outside town for all types of campervans. He had been very helpful to Rolf in sorting out the formalities when, at the beginning of the tour, the Editourmobil had been held up at customs on first arriving in South America.

On the deck of the Buquebus ferry, shortly before departure from the port of Buenos Aires.

Michael takes us to the hotel where we arrive in high good humour. We hand over all the paperwork and photos accumulated on the trip so far plus the photographic kit which Florian Roscheck and Waldemar Schmitke will be needing for the next stage of the tour. The plan is for Florian to drive via Montevideo towards the Brazilian frontier, providing of course that a) the Editourmobil has been successfully repaired in Santiago and b) that he is able to bring it to Montevideo. But first, some vital issues need attending to. I go up to the roof terrace of the hotel to admire the views of the harbour and the surrounding area. We have been told that ATM machines here are often empty in the evening so we waste no time getting hold of some cash to ensure we don’t starve this evening.

Over the next few days, the weather here is fantastic. On the upper floor of the hotel there is a large, light-filled space next to the roof terrace. This is promptly commandeered as my office, a very pleasant change from the small hotel room with the tiny desk. It is now Thursday. It is also nearly Easter which means all businesses are closed in Montevideo, so obviously we have no appointments planned. Only after Easter can we hope to do some visits which Florian will handle. Tomorrow we are heading back to a Germany which is still firmly in the grip of winter. As always on these occasions I look back on the past few weeks with a mixture of joy and sadness. Of course it is nice to be back at home amongst familiar things, but I will take back with me the myriad impressions, sights and sounds of my first trip to this wonderful continent and the interesting and enjoyable times we have had in Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. They will remain in my memory for a long time. Tomorrow will be a busy day, with Easter to follow, and I will have no time to put anything down on paper so it seems appropriate to end here my part of the Tourblog and hand over without delay to my colleague Florian Roscheck. Just to repeat, it has been a wonderful experience and I hope readers will continue to log on to enjoy the next exciting stage of the tour to Uruguay and then on to Brazil.

All the best!

Kay Krüger