Tuesday, 16 April 2024
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

How long does it take to deliver a parcel from the UK to Croatia – patience is a virtue

Written by  Mar 26, 2023

Patience is a virtue. I could well be the most virtuous person in the world.

“Has it arrived yet?” Is a sentence that I must have heard a million times over the past 2 and a half months. My answer was a repeated “no.”

There was a cartoon I used to love as a child, well I still like it now, Postman Pat. A jolly postman with his black and white cat who would always have an adventure whilst delivering the mail in a charming rural area of England. Weirdly enough the theme song to Postman Pat was the first theme tune that my wife learned off by heart. She still sings it now. However, even Postman Pat wouldn’t have believed our latest postal adventure.

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Yes, our latest, for this isn’t the first time, far from it. One that really sticks in the memory was when we sent a Christmas present to my mother and on the same day to the then director of Dubrovnik Airport, sent a present to his son in the US. With only two parcels that day the delivery company managed to confuse them. Imagine my mother’s surprise when she got a scuba diving mask!

So the latest one is a saga.

My wife’s birthday is in early February, on the fourth day on the month. And my sister and mother always send a present. My sister knows the situation from past experience. So she sent the latest birthday present on the 4th of January, exactly a month in advance. Enough time to arrive you would think?

As the birthday arrived my sister sent me messages. “If the present arrives please hide it before her birthday,” she asked.

On the other hand, my mother, having been stung with missing parcels in the past, had asked me to buy her a present in her name.

My wife’s birthday came and went without a parcel arriving. Four weeks had passed, five weeks passed, six, seven, eight. We had resigned ourselves to the fact that once again a parcel was MIA - missing in action.

Over two months had gone by and out of the blue came a registered delivery letter from Croatian Post. “You’ll just have to sign here,” said the postman. I was presuming that it was a letter to say that the parcel had arrived in my nearest post office. I was wrong.

The present was indeed in Croatia, but over 600 kilometres away in Velika Gorica! WTF.

To cut another long story short this letter was an announcement that the parcel had arrived and we need to fill it out. A bombardment of questions, including the value of the parcel, which was impossible to answer as it was a surprise birthday gift. I have expected to be asked if I was, or ever had been, a member of a terrorist organisation.

After yet another phone call to the post office we were informed that once we had completed this form we needed to scan it and send it as a PDF to an email address in Zagreb. Luckily we have a scanner at home, but it made me think how complicated this was.

Nine weeks has passed now. The jubilee tenth week came.

Ironically my sister’s birthday is on the 15th of March and that’s when the postman knocked again. “You’ll need to sign this and also there will be a small charge of 3.50 euros for this parcel,” smiled the friendly postman. It was then that I looked at the postmark, 04.01.23. It had taken two and a half months, 76 days, or 1825 hours from the parcel to travel from the UK to Dubrovnik.

My wife and I walked 650 miles in 2 months. We could almost have walked with the package from the UK and arrived faster than the post office.

“So after all this wait what is in the package?” asked the postman, who was aware of the whole saga. I flipped it over and read the contents. “Chocolates!” As my sister said “You’ll have to check the best before date now to make sure that you can actually eat them.”

Where had it gone wrong? It is hard to say. One post office blames the other. Yes, Brexit didn’t help as the parcel now comes from a third country, that was the reason for having to pay 3.5 euros, but it wasn’t the only reason.

“If you want to send us something for Christmas you’ll probably have to do it before Easter and don’t send anything with a best before date,” I joked with my sister. Poor Postman Pat would have had a heart attack if he knew our story.

Patience is a certainly a virtue.

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