3 days ago I flew out of Switzerland and I’ve again i ran into Swiss bureaucracy and that did not make it an easy process. As I won’t be back until autumn I had to find long term parking for my van, Jerry, and I also wanted to hand in the license plates so I don’t pay unnecessary third party insurance and road tax. In most countries this would be a simple affair. I did not count on meeting a grumpy chip-on-his-shoulder policeman. This guy got it into his narrow-minded xenophobic head that I was actually planning on abandoning my van in the parking lot so I didn’t have to pay insurance. So if there was a fire or something happened to the van, I’d insist the municipality pay for it. This all started from me having my van registered in a different canton (state). The only way he’d be satisfied that i wasn’t trying to cheat the system was if he got written proof from my insurance company that I was insured.
Now I had planned to be on a train by 3:30 to meet up with a friend in Zurich because I was staying with her before i flew out the next day. It was now 4pm. It’s a 4 hour train ride out of the Engadine to Zurich.
I got on the phone to my insurance company and spent a delightful 40 minutes on hold until someone who spoke English picked up the phone! I have to thank the guy who answered for being so helpful! At first he couldn’t understand what i wanted because in Switzerland all cars have to have insurance, you can’t register it without insurance. Then he was horrified to find out it was a policeman requesting the proof of insurance. “But he should know you have insurance, he’s a policeman”. Apparently not. So the guy at the insurance company agreed to email the policeman to let him know I had insurance. This took another 15 minutes of waiting and eventually, at 5, just before the commune closed for the night, the email came through, the policeman relented and I got my parking permit. (not without first receiving a warning that I better pick up my van before the insurance expires.) I gently informed him that before the insurance expires I shall be renewing it, as is required by law.
6pm, I am on the train, 10pm I arrive in Zurich. So much for dinner and catching up! One beer later I pass out on the couch prepared to wake up at 5am for my flight to London.
As much as I love switzerland I cant help comparing their bureaucrats to the vogons. Resistance is futile.
On the bright side I’m spending a week in London with some awesome kids on a theatre programme before I fly to Boston!