Having collected our van, we collided, albeit with smiles and co-operation, with Cypriot bureaucracy. First we handed over 55 T Lira for car insurance, despite waving our green card at them. Sometimes it’s easier to pay up and shut up!

Then we queued for immigration behind some 50 people shuffling slowly towards one open kiosk. Next we were directed to customs where a very helpful lady looked at us with a bemused expression when we told her we wanted to be on the next ferry out of town.

Of the various options she suggested, we opted for buying a further three-day insurance package. However, this involved going to another building to see her boss. This worthy gentleman was out to lunch. Fortunately, an alternative gentleman of equal if not more exalted status was found and we were ushered into his office where, after studious inspection of our documents, we were graced with his signature.

We rushed back to our friendly customs lady who seemed impressed by the signature. She then sent us back to our first port of call to buy more car insurance from the man who had already sold us car insurance…which apparently wasn’t car insurance. He seemed pleased to take a further 50 T Lira and issue us with an enormous identical piece of paper.

Our third and final visit to the same friendly customs lady resulted in the completion of a form in quadruplicate and instructions to show it to the police, who inspected our vehicle and directed us to leave the port. However, another uniformed official was waiting for us — the fifth person to examine our passports.

All we had to do now was pick up the cats and dogs and get away on the next ferry…