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“Elxis helped bring our attention to documents we didn’t know existed.” | Reinders Family – Almyros

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“Archaic Alos, through the eyes of archaeology professor Reinders”

 

This is the headline of the local newspaper in Almyros, where Reinder and Paulien Reinders, a couple from Holland and Elxis customers, have owned a second home for 30 years.

 

We sat down with the Reinders’ to “unearth” their story and to “dig up” their insights about managing property in Greece. The Reinders also shared their Elxis – at Home in Greece experience. 

 

Mr. Reinders’s talk in Alos

The article features Mr. Reinders front and center – a veteran archaeologist and professor at the University of Groningen, who has been excavating in the area around Almyros for nearly 50 years. The talk took place in an open field outside of Alos, where dozens of curious onlookers gathered on the International Day of Museums to hear his interpretation of Hellenistic and Classical Alos.

 

Reinder is flanked by the mayor and representatives of the local Archaeological organizations, who helped translate into Greek. Later that day, Reinder would continue his talks at the amphitheater “Saratsis” of Volos University, where he gave a feature presentation on ancient Alos and the archaeological findings of the area relevant to prehistoric times until the Ottoman era. 

 

How Reinder and Paulien chose Amaliapolis

Southeast gate of Alos ancient city

Reinder and Paulien are a shining example of a couple that has succeeded in putting down roots in Greece. The Reinders’ first experience in Greece was during the time of the military junta in the 1970’s. “We remember that in our first visit, we didn’t have hot water.” Their first hub was near Volos, when they were invited to do a dig at the Sesklo Neolithic Site and in Goritsa.

 

They were immediately charmed by the local people and hospitality. The affordable prices also helped sweeten the deal. The hotel they stayed at was €4 per person.

 

After returning annually for spring and autumn excavations in Alos, they decided to build a home in Amaliapolis, a small town of 350 residents found on the Pagasetic Gulf just east of the excavation site at Alos. They strategically sought to build near the neighboring town of Almyros, where they house their findings in a warehouse. 

 

Tower of Alos city wall

Building a home in Greece

The Reinders sought help from locals to plan the project. “It was a process that went in stages,” Paulien mentioned. “Our contact in the village told us to first buy the wood, then to bring other materials, then to hire an engineer, and so on… We didn’t know how long it would take or how much it would cost.”

 

Among the hiccups along the way was the earthquake-approved iron they had to buy when regulations for regional building changed midway through construction.

In 1991 they bought the land, and by 1993, the home was ready. 

 

They used it as a hub for archeological students until 2011, sometimes hosting 15-20 students at their home at one time. “We put up bunk beds and the students would come from many countries in Europe, and even as far as New Zealand. They came to take part in the digs. They all had different duties in the house which rotated – someone was always on duty to cook and clean the dishes,” Paulien told us.

 

Connection to the land and the Greek locals

Reinder recalled stories of connecting with the local Sarakatsanis, who would stay in Almyros in the Winter, and return with their sheep to the surrounding mountains when the weather was warm enough. “These are people who we maintain a connection with even today. Our connections are one of the reasons that we keep coming back,” Reinder told us.

 

Nowadays, the bunk beds have disappeared, and they still tend to visit every Spring and Autumn. “Nowadays, our daughter loves to come out here with her husband in the summer from Holland. That’s why we contacted Elxis – to give our daughter the opportunity to have access to the home.”

Adventures with Greek Bureaucracy

One of the reasons they connected with Elxis was their experience doing paperwork in Greece. “When we do the work ourselves, it takes us 6 weeks to get just 1 document. And then we go to the office and we are informed that we need 6 more.”

“In the case of trying to get a car, we had to provide a residence permit. It wasn’t enough that we lived here and were European citizens. We tried to use our work permits from the University of Groningen, but the translation was not accepted. So, we needed to go to a special office in Athens for an official translation,” Reinder recounts.

 

When they received the translation a week later, the Reinders’ noticed that both pages were stamped with only half of a stamp. After taking it to a local office to confirm there wasn’t some kind of mistake, the Reinders found out that the half-stamp technique confirmed that both pages belonged together.  

 

“This is a technique which was common in Classical times,” Paulien said with a chuckle. They couldn’t believe that such an archaic method was still used today.

 

Meeting with Elxis – Donation to Daughter

The Reinders’ hired Elxis to transfer the right of the home to their daughter.

“We first met Elxis at an event in Utrecht. When we started working with them, the steps of the process were clear.”

 

“They helped bring our attention to documents we didn’t know existed.” Literally, one of the tax documents had a back page they hadn’t seen, with payments overdue from the past 10 years. 

 

Comically, “the total amount that accrued was 28 Euros,” Reinder said with a smile. 

Kostas updated us at every stage of the process, from checks on our taxes to engineer visits to the property. The process was smooth.” The Reinders’ continually to visit Greece annually and although they admit “We’re not Greek”, they consider it a second home.

To read more Elxis – at Home in Greece reviews, visit our testimonials page.

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