While being very experienced in removals within one city (in 4 years in Berlin I changed 7 flats), moving to another country is something different. Especially when the country is on the island and with the different side for driving. I guess the latter was the reason for an absolute impossibility of hiring a van in Berlin and leaving it in Edinburgh.
I have to say that I didn’t have THAT much stuff, but I had books (a good big library to ditch which would have been a crime), my photographic/design equipment, a few house hold items, a new mattress (which I was thinking of selling but), a few tables and, the most problematic part – my artwork. 150x150cm and 45kg of weight. The art piece became the trigger for moving everything. I had some doubts and was going back to the ideas of selling stuff but my husband was insisting on bringing everything I wanted (and I’m very thankful for that because now I feel like home at OUR place).
So, decision number one: I’m moving my stuff. Next step: finding a removal solution.
B A N A N A S!
After a few days of research, my head was exploding. I had guesses that the process might be not straight-forward, but didn’t expect it to be SO complicated.
I started research with looking for removal companies. I made a big mistake on one of the websites which offered me a few quotes from different companies and I left my contacts. BIG MISTAKE! Those companies were hunting me via phone and email, I got tired of writing them back and asking to delete my contact. Why? Because ALL of them offered me the same price: £1500. It was too much for me. I was positively sure that there should be a cheaper way.
(But later turned out that you can actually bargain with them: tell them that you found a better price and they will try to offer something close to it. With one of the emails I got it down to £950!)
My next option was hiring a van. As I said in the beginning, one-way hires were not possible. I started thinking creatively and calculating options from, say, Netherlands: what if I brought a van from Berlin, and my husband brought one from the UK and we repacked the van and somebody would have brought it back to Germany…. etc. etc. that kind of scenarios. But the easiest seemed to be to hire a van in Edinburgh, drive to the tunnel (or take a ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and save some time driving) and then repeat with the loaded van. Time-consuming, exhausting.
I had no European licence at the moment and my husband hadn’t been driving for a few years, the whole plan didn’t really look very promising. Plus the van hire turned out to be a little nightmare: SIXT don’t let you take a van to the mainland, HERTZ do but with some extra insurances, quite a bit of a headache. We calculated possible expenses with HERTZ van, ferry, gas, food, staying over somewhere, etc, and the bill came up to at least £1000. I guess that’s where I got to the point that this price was what I’d have to pay if I wanted my things to be with me in Edinburgh.
But this whole us-driving-thing really didn’t seem super exciting to me. A long tiring weekend. And something stupid might have happened with a right-wheel car on a left-side driving lane. I followed my gut feeling and decided to keep on looking.
And I found! Surprisingly, I decided to check google for the same search I did before but this time to type it in Russian. And it worked. First of all, I found quite a few removing companies from Latvia, but, unfortunately, they were offering their service for €1500. A bit cheaper than the British ones, but still beyond my budget. And then I landed at a forum-something page and found a phone number for a something like a transporting company. The description was a bit unclear so I called them. Russian speaking, based in Germany. A very friendly manager Vlad said they would be happy to help me, but I should fill in the form on the website. RUSBID.COM. The next day I got a quote for 890€! Which was the cheapest offer so far, plus they said that the car could be at my door within a few days.
This became a trigger for me to leave Berlin much earlier. We agreed on having a car for the following week, I came back to Berlin after applying for my visa in Dusseldorf, packed my entire apartment in 3 days (bo-o-oy, that was something!), managed to sell some stuff, to give away some bits to my friends, and pack pack pack. It was a vey exhausting weekend but I managed. The car arrived on Wednesday and should have been in Edinburgh by Friday, but due to the Beast from the East, neither the car, nor myself could make it to Edinburgh on time. I got stuck in Berlin for 3 more days, landed in Edinburgh on Saturday night completely and totally exhausted (and was sleeping for the next two weeks like a baby). My things arrived on Sunday safe and sound.
- I found the cheapest moving option
- we saved our time and nerves with the driving hassle
- it was totally worth it!
If you have any other tips for moving to/from Britain, feel free to comment! I hardly found any information online and that’s why I’m writing these posts, maybe they will be of some help to others.