‘Balkan DHL’ Service: Fast, Cheap, Reliable & Unbeatable

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It is a scene I have seen so many times in the movies but never thought it would happen to me. 

Man fills up his car in a gas station, goes to pay and then can’t find his wallet. A frantic search of pockets, car and everywhere in-between. Nothing. 


Thankfully in my case, I was lucky enough to have sufficient cash to pay for the fuel. But the thought of cancelling all my cards, getting a new ID, more time with my old love, Croatian bureaucracy.  A depressing thought. 

Just how could I have lost my wallet?

As I was already 100km outside of Split on the way to Zagreb on a Sunday afternoon, there was not a lot I could do. I also wasn’t feeling particularly clever after a big night out in Split, and as I drove, I tried to remember the last time I had seen my wallet. And that gave me hope. 

Unusually for me, that morning I had tried to get organised. After meeting so many incredible contacts as Days of Croatian Self-Congratulation in Dubrovnik and the Crikvenica International Health Travel conference, I decided to enter the data from all the business cards into my system. MAYBE I left the wallet in the bed. I certainly couldn’t recall putting it into my pocket as I checked out.


(Big shout out at this point to the fabulous Luxury Apartments Illyria right in the heart of Diocletian’s Palace, but tucked away in an alley just 30 metres from Peristil. I was so comfortable there that I clearly was not paying attention to the essential things like picking up my wallet) 

I messaged my friend who owned them to check if my wallet was there. 

He was in Podstrana but kindly insisted on jumping on a bus immediately to check. 

Nervous moments and then a pinged notification. The contents of this message would determine how my life would go next week. 



My friend is a relatively recent arrival to Croatia and asked me how he could get the wallet to me, as I presumably needed it reasonably urgently. 

Have you ever used the ‘Balkan DHL’ Express service? I asked. 

He had no idea what I was talking about, so I gave him step-by-step instructions. 


Put the wallet into a jiffy bag and write my name and mobile number on it.


Go to Split bus station and find the next bus going to Zagreb.


Ask the driver to take the package to Zagreb where the person on the envelope will meet the bus. Take a photo of the number plate and find out the time of arrival in Zagreb. Give the driver 20 kuna for a coffee to say thank you.



Meanwhile, at Zagreb Bus Station, I was there at the appointed time, but the bus did not arrive. There was an arrivals board which had details of the buses which had arrived. I went to the information desk to enquire, gave the licence plate of the bus, and I was told that the bus was not yet there, but would be soon. 

And so it proved.


Wallet and owner reunited. 

And it is not just wallets. In the 18 years I have lived here, I have picked up more vegetables and other interesting packages than I care to remember with the ‘Balkan DHL’ service. 

It is an incredible service, and super reliable. 

Ah. moving vegetables. That is another fascinating part of the culture here. Read more in Yugoslavia is Dead But Culture of Moving Vegetables Lives On


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