The show must go on: Spain, Part 2

It’s Wednesday. Our initial trauma following the burglary has more or less subsided, although we are still in a state of shock, and trying to put it all behind us. On our way to Madrid we are, as expected, making only slow progress, and there are a lot of steep inclines to negotiate. Behind us lay a distinctly cool night on a motorway service station in the mountains miles away from anywhere; to add insult to injury, the food on offer was quite the worst that Waldemar and I had ever tasted. Our destination is the town of Fuenlabrada , near Madrid, where we are looking forward to our appointment with Farmaplás. Just before reaching our destination we call in at the local electrical store to buy a camera so that at least we can make a record of our last few meetings.

Once in the industrial area of Fuenlabrada, Farmaplás is easy to find. Plant Manager Justo Vega Yáñez welcomes us at the gate. The manufacturer of bottles, cans and containers for the food and non -food sector is an enthusiast for Nissei ASB blow moulding machines. The resulting bottles, including some with wide -mouth neck, are used, for example, for edible oils, coffee, household cleaning, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. After an extensive factory tour and some final photos in front of the Editourmobil we set off on our journey southwards.

On our schedule we still have an appointment in Seville, Andalusia. We really do have to get moving because the distance is much the same as our previous journey, around 600km. Amazingly, we make excellent progress, mainly because I really step on the gas. Some 300 km after leaving Madrid behind there is a dramatic change in the scenery: it’s greener, the flowers are in bloom, and to the right and left of the motorway there are olive groves as far as the eye can see. Above us is a flawless blue sky, the sun is shining and the temperature has risen to a sweltering 30 °C plus. As the temperature increases and the countryside becomes ever more beautiful, so our mood, sombre after the burglary and the loss of our possessions, gradually lightens, and by late afternoon on that same day, we are already in Arahal, about 50km south-east of Seville. Here we have an appointment on Friday, but we decide that we’ll have a quick scout around beforehand to pinpoint where the company, Loripet’s HQ is exactly located. This is where satnavs fall down, because basically it’s not possible to find the exact address within an industrial zone. So be it. Fortunately, this time we had had a look at the area on Google Maps with Street View, and in no time at all we had located the right road, although the company sign was conspicuous by its absence. I stop to ask a passerby for directions to Loripet. As luck would have it, the passerby turns out to be the boss himself, Pedro Zea Teijeiro. Sometimes, you need a bit of luck. Since we are already in the area, he suggests that we simply bring forward the date to tomorrow, Thursday, which suits us very well indeed considering we have to organise a pitch on Friday and be ready for an early departure on Saturday morning. On his advice we go back to Seville not only to get a decent meal, but first and foremost to locate a good place to park up for this one night. In no time at all, we are back in the city, but the guidebooks we have brought to help us turn out, unfortunately, to be worse than useless. The parking places they recommend are either too small to manoeuvre the Editourmobil into, or else they are closed, or simply impossible to find. So we are forced to drive for hours through the streets, causing traffic chaos as we inch our huge vehicle along the narrow streets, desperate not to damage any of the cars parked by the roadside. I am on edge and fuming with frustration. Driving the new Editourmobil in city centres is no joke, and it plays havoc with the nerves. After what seemed like an eternity and a half, we manage to find a parking spot. By this time it is already 9 o’clock, and frankly all I want to do is eat and have a beer. Both of these modest ambitions are fulfilled after a pleasant 20 minute stroll. We have parked right in the centre of town. As we said, sometimes you need a bit of luck.

The next morning, we set off early for Arahal and Loripet, arriving promptly for our 10 o’clock appointment, Pedro Zan Teijeiro, accompanied by his wife Ángela Lozano Rived, welcome us to this small company which they jointly run. The company manufactures PET bottles on three Nissei ASB lines for the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sector, as well as a special size for olive oil. We learn something we didn’t know: Andalusia, Mr Zea Teijeiro tells us, is the largest supplier of oil worldwide. After a tour of the production hall, we return to Seville, to find the secure parking space, where the Editourmobil is to stay for the next four weeks, until it is picked up there again to continue the onward journey to Morocco. Our colleagues Heike and Rolf, working out of our Heidelberg office, have really come up trumps in their research, managing to locate a supervised parking place not far from the city centre, and dirt cheap into the bargain. On the way from Arahal to Seville we stop off at a service station, where Waldemar decides he will repair a broken drawer in the kitchen. This turns out to be not quite as successful as hoped, since we spend the next 6 hours baking in the vehicle in the 40°C heat. Finally the drawer is more or less back in operation and we get back on the road. The car park in Seville is quickly located. We park and make our way on foot to grab something to eat in the city. A pleasant restaurant in a tiny street offers fantastic meat dishes and so we stay here, before moving on later to a bar situated on a busy square. The temperature is still over 30°C and despite the fact that it is well after midnight, the place is heaving.

The last day, Friday, has dawned. Today, the plan is to clean Editourmobil from top to bottom, then there is the packing and the sorting out of all the documents. Our flights tomorrow are at the crack of dawn so we have booked a hotel near the airport for our last night. The day flies by and before we know it, we are standing at reception with packed suitcases waiting for the taxi to take us to the hotel.

Thus the first part of our trip to Spain comes to an end. Now it is time for us to return home. On June 10 the next stage of our Mediterranean tour begins in Morocco and the entire PETplanet team is eagerly looking forward to it

See you in June