At 7:30 sharp this morning I entered the Customs Services building. Lies (not to be associated with previous statistics, but short for “Alice”), who had volunteered (after only just a teensy bit of persuasion from my part, basically only needed because of the early hour) to act as my translator in case I ran into problems, was not there yet. I waited another 5 minutes and then I rang her on my mobile. She was on her way though, and not, as I feared, still in bed. Another 5 minutes later she arrived and we went to see our “contact person”, a friend of a friend, who worked there. The objective was that he would screen all the documents necessary to offcially and legally register my car in Greece. Under some regulation of the EU or the Schengen Agreement, who cares which one, European citizens are allowed to take their personal posessions with them without paying taxes for import or any such other stupidity if they move from one European country to the other. Greece might be a European country, Crete is a long way from Athens and Cretans are (in)famous for “doing it their way”. I had read nothing but horror stories about this procedure. Everybody I had talked to in the past 2 years had told me not to do this, but instead sell my car in Belgium and buy another one in Greece. I like my little Yaris and was determined to keep it. The first surprise had come in December of last year when I had written the Greek embassy in Brussels (after having been told by the not-so-competent staff at what is supposed to be the Belgo-Dutch consulate, that this was necessary) and asked them to send me the necessary documents. They had replied that for me to import my own car I had to present myself in the flesh and blood in Brussels at their “headquarters”, accompanied by wy wife, the car documents and the registration with the Foreign Police in Iraklio. The requirement for the latter two I could understand, why Yvonne had to be there I still don’t know. Nobody asked her anything. Anyway, as a result of that visit we got a document, with plenty stamps and signatures, which would allow us to keep the car in Greece. I was convinced it would only be a matter of filling out a few forms before my car was a legal alien in Greece, undistinguishable from native cars.
How can a man be so naive at my age?
[to be continued]