Made in Croatia

Ajme! When Life Gives You Lemons, Hrvatska Posta Delivers... (Not Lemonade)

By 2 February 2023

February 2, 2023 - Which takes longer in Croatia - to change the registered name for a property in the cadastre, or deliver some lemons from Hvar to Zagreb? Just another random day (or month) in Absurdistan.

This a tale with a VERY happy ending, and one which points to huge positive change. Genuinely.

It just didn't look that way for 18 days.

Our story begins on the morning of Monday, January 9, 2023. A new year, a new start. For some, a new zest for life. What could be better to help with that zest than a shipment of lemons from the family tree on idyllic Hvar?


A package of goodies was dispatched by my mother-in-law to her daughter at 09:14 with Croatian Post (Hrvatska Posta), early enough to make the ferry for onward delivery to Zagreb. 

Time passed.

A lot of time.

On Friday, January 20, a phone call to HP elicited the information that the package was in the system at Velika Gorica, close to Zagreb, and would be delivered soon.

When nothing had arrived the following Monday, a phone call to ask if we could collect the package rather than waiting was met with a negative. It would be there soon. 


Seven phone calls in all, including from 28 and 38 minutes of waiting time (and I understand the calls are charged), resulted in nothing. Apart from the inconvenience of having to wait at home on the off chance of the delivery, the greater concern was the state of the lemons and how they would function as future stars in the evening gin and tonics after more than a fortnight in captivity. 


Finally, on Saturday, January 28, some 19 days after the lemons started their journey from Croatia's Premier Island to the Big Smoke, the lemons arrived. 

In case we might think that the Kings of HP had some discriminatory policies towards lemons, a simultaneous example of delivery incompetence was ongoing with another shipment, this time from Germany.

The timeline...

January 11 - online ordering in Germany

January 14 - order dispatched. 

January 16 - arrived in the Kingdom of HP. 

January 26 - still no lemons and a phone call to cancel the German order, after 10 days of it being stuck in the Kingdom of HP, and an enquiry about the health of our lemons.

January 27 - miraculously, the German order arrives (one can only speculate if an email to the supplier had anything to do with it)

January 28 - our heroic lemons, a little worse for wear after their arduous 19-day journey without sunlight, arrive at their final destination, the tonic water already chilling in the fridge. 

Now, don't let this tale of the lemons who did not become lemonade discourage you, for there is a MUCH more efficient system of moving vegetables and anything else around the country, called the 'Balkan DHL Express', the fastest, cheapest and most reliable delivery service in all Europe. Check out our video explanation here and below.

I will tag Hrvatska Posta when I share this article to see if they have a policy on lemon compensation.

But it is not all bad. And here is the happy - and quite incredible (if you follow the joys of Croatian bureaucracy, prepare for a WOW moment) case of Croatian bureaucracy on fire.

The timeline...

January 16 - online application to change the name in the cadaster for a piece of property on Hvar.

February 1 - a letter from the cadaster in Stari Grad delivered to Zagreb with the updated cadaster details. 


Just 16 days, INCLUDING delivery time. The same journey the lemons took from Hvar to Zagreb. 

Croatia - a delightful mixture of Absurdistan with the best lifestyle in Europe with a sprinkling of Balkan insanity on top. Why would you live anywhere else?

Now to investigate how to get my lemons delivered by the Stari Grad cadaster.  


What is it like to live in Croatia? An expat for 20 years, you can follow my series, 20 Ways Croatia Changed Me in 20 Years, starting at the beginning - Business and Dalmatia.

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