I am on a train for a 5-hour journey to the famous Monasteries in Meteor, Northern Greece.
There are piles of snow on the ground and it is cold; -2. It is a spectacular train ride. It goes right through the mountains, and they are very high.
But this blog is to tell you about my adventures in customs to retrieve my vitamins. I had ordered my vitamins from Canada in November and they arrived at customs in Athens on Dec 4th. It was saying they would be delivered in a few days. On Dec 20th, I decided to go to customs. Customs is near the airport and since my friend Carol was on her way to the UK with my driver Nickoss, I went along for the ride!
Customs is about 2 km from airport. It is a massive area with about 10 buildings each the size of an IKEA store.
When I finally found the right building, it was full of mail in large bins with labels on them from around the world, but no people working.
Someone finally appeared and took my pick up number and ID. When the lady came back, she told me it would be delivered in 5 days and I couldn’t pick them up. l told her I wasn’t leaving without them! I said due to Christmas, there is no way they would be delivered in 5 days. Next a young man came out from customs. He looked like he had just rolled out of bed! He stood right on top of me and I told him to back away. He brought me a declaration form and said they will be delivered in 5 days. I asked if I fill out the form, why couldn’t I have them now? First of all, he said he didn’t know where they were, but I knew he did because my name and bin number were on the form. He appeared back saying I could have them if I paid the 27 percent tax on the bill. They even charge tax on the courier charges.
The problem was that I had to go to airport (which was 2 km away by highway) to the Post Office to pay my bill of 37 euros, and had no way to get there. Since I had sent Nickoss back to Athens, I had to find another way. I discovered the staff bus did the circuit between customs and the airport. They let me on the bus and I went to the airport, paid the bill, then was ready to head back to customs to hopefully get the parcel. I found the staff bus, and by this time I had a special permission slip to use the bus. So, I got my vitamins and was faced with a new challenge; how to get back to city? A taxi wasn’t an option because they couldn’t get through security. I was told there was bus across the highway in front of the IKEA store, but how could I get across the highway? At that point a man appeared and drove me to meet the bus, which was very kind.
There is a word about all of this which I won’t use. The whole time I was being told this is the LAW. I finally said why you don’t use word procedure instead of law? It sounds a little better.
So, after five and half hours, I was back in Athens exhausted drinking a glass of wine!