Our last cause for confusion centred around the Croatian banking system, which admittedly is getting a little less confusing as we just keep returning to the bank. We’re sure that one day all will slot into place and we’ll be glad of the multiple bank accounts we seem to be acquiring. But banking has led – inadvertently – to another area of confusion. The numbering of houses and addresses, in general.
Croatian addresses don’t seem to follow any kind of pattern. We’re used to odd numbers on one side of a road and even numbers on the other, and that the numbers follow sequentially. Or, the house has a name, which is recognised as being part of the address and mail will arrive at that named house. We’re used to moving into a property that has a pre-designated address. I know you can choose a name for your house, but NEVER have I heard of choosing a number. Until we arrived in the Land of Confusion.
Early on in the house buying process, we established the address of the property, with the people selling. It was number 63. Of course it was – the seller, over a few bottles of wine in a lovely local restaurant they took us to, even regaled us with a little ditty about the house, which he said he often sung. “Pici 63”. So, of course our house was number 63. How could it not be? It did seem a bit strange that not one of the official house purchase documents, mentioned this bit of the address, and we did question it. To be told, that in Croatia, it is the PLOT number which is important, our plots being 59/1 & 56 – and which were clearly marked on all documents.
So, at least we knew we had bought the right house. But we still needed a postal address and so merrily set about sorting everything to be sent to/registered at number 63. Insurance, Royal Mail redirects from the UK, the address we gave to the bank, so that they could send our PIN numbers. We even went to the local police to register ourselves as now being the owners of number 63 – thankfully, with hindsight, we needed more documentation, because we now have discovered we are not number 63 at all!
We thought our postman was just being a bit tardy with our post – we knew we were due some, as a friend was forwarding it from the UK, but it just wasn’t arriving in our bright yellow post box. Until the local builder arrived one morning with a big parcel of mail, which had been delivered to…Number 63. But we’re 63, we said. The previous owner even made up a song about the house being number 63. No, you’re not, he said. You’re 64. And that house there (the one in front of us) is also 64. But 64B. And the one over there is also 64. But 64C. And the restaurant is also 64… Ah, we thought, we might have the hang of this – the restaurant must be 64A. No, he said, the restaurant is 64C. So the same as the house, we asked? Yes, he replied. We opened our post with a glass of wine each.
When we next met up with Marin – who shall henceforth be referred to as our Croatian saviour as he is a lawyer and translator and now generally helps us when we get overly confused – he looked into the address issue for us. And yes, indeed we are Number 64. Just 64. No letter. But, he advised, if we fancied changing it, we could. Yep, that’s right folks, you can almost make up your own address! As much as we liked the idea of going back to number 12, having brought with us our number plate from West Didsbury, we felt that explaining this to the number of authorities we were now going to have to contact to change our address from 63 to 64, would be a step too far… (And don’t be thinking that the numbers of houses run sequentially – no, they do not. In the village we have 57, 59, 60 etc – absolutely no idea where the houses numbered below 57 are, however. Perhaps they are the #abandonedhousesofistria, I’ve started instagramming, but that’s a blog for another day).
So, we now have to embark on the process of trying to get lots of Croatian people to understand that yes, we have a bought a house but no, we don’t actually know for certain what its address is… #tricky