This was a very good day. We got our car! I was so worried. I mean, they took away my guns, and then my knives (pocket knives illegal here – huge fine) and me with no car. For an American this is about as bad as it gets.
Yesterday we took three trains to get to Gothenburg. The transfers were surprisingly easy, just got off one train, walked across the platform (12 yards) then a 10 minute wait. Wife had our tickets on her cellphone. Conductors just look at the code number. Technology far beyond my 75 year old brain. She used same cellphone take some photos of the small town stations on the way.
Trip took 5 hours. We arrived around midnight and it was seriously cold, first time I’ve been that cold since arriving in Sweden.
Next day the fun began. First stop was the customs office which was far from our hotel – three bus rides or a cab, We took the cab – eighty bucks. Lou had a stack of papers two inches thick: titles, shipping documents, various declarations, mileage, bills of sale, previous owners, my passport, permanent resident card, my birth certificate, marriage license, her birth certificate, American driver’s license and paper saying her Swedish driver’s licence was in the mail.
She must have signed and filled out a dozen documents. I just watched in a clueless state of anxiety, understanding little of what was being said and waiting to find if we were missing some obscure document. In between time wondering if our Volvo had survived the trip. Sounds weird, shipping a Volvo to Sweden, but cars are much more expensive here, Everything is much more expensive here!
Forty minutes later it was over. We had passed customs! Now another cab to the port of arrival. Gothenburg is the biggest seaport in Sweden. Then more documents, but not as many this time, and we were given permission to wait for someone to take us inside; only one of us was allowed to go and Lou seemed the obvious choice since she speaks the language. I waited at the gate with exit papers.
Would the car start after spending a month in a container? After a stressful thirty minutes Lou appeared smiling in our undamaged and fully operational car. It was over – Not!
For some reason they made me take the license plates off before shipping in Seattle. I never thought to pack ‘em. It’s illegal to drive here without plates even though we had the completed paperwork from customs. It is also illegal to drive without insurance. We could not get insurance because the car had not arrived in Sweden when we left to pick it up.
We drove home on back roads, seven hours and over 300 miles with our hearts in our mouths. Believe it or not we did not see a single police car! Thank God! We saw lots of moose warning signs, but no moose.
We made it home without incident. It felt wonderful to drive again – first time since we left, but we don’t dare to drive again until we fill out more papers, register the car and get plates.
Now we are waiting for furniture to arrive.