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Breaking the law... and the state border.

BELARUS | Tuesday, 6 May 2014 | Views [93] | Scholarship Entry

I have always dreamt of going to Romania - Transilvanian woods,the Carpathians and world-famous (and most probably non-existent) Dracula were tempting me for a long time. Once I decided to make my dream come true - I got return tickets to a mysterious city which promised to be a really gothic place full of vampires and witches (or at least a number of charming churches and impressive architectural sights). In my dreams I drew a gorgeous plan - I saw myself walking down the streets and looking for descendants of the passed away Vlad ?epe?. I was happy and ignorant.
I took my train late in the evening. Having left Hungary we moved to the Romanian border. The customs officer was cheking my passort for some minutes and then the question followed: "Do you have a visa?". I managed to make my tongue move and asked the officer what visa he meant. The answer was astonishing: of course, I had a residence permit for living in Hungary but it had nothing to do with going to Romania which was not included into the Schengen zone. The officer asked me to leave the train and follow him. Getting out of the train I absent-mindedly noticed some benches covered with snow. "It's Sunday, I have no local currency and all the banks are closed till Monday, - I thought, - so I will probably have to sleep on these benches... amazing trip! God save me from being imprisoned..."
The customs inspector took me to the office. A tall woman came up to me and started talking to me in English. I tried to be as sincere as I could be in such a situation. She listened to me attentively and then began to translate our dialog to the others. I could see them smile and in the end a burst of laughter shook the air in the room. Everybody was looking at me, as pale as a dabchick, and laughing as if they saw a tame monkey showing tricks.
"So you say you just wanted to visit Sibiu?' - asked the lady once again. I could hardly make my mouth produce something close to "Yes", but she understood what I meant. "Well, - she said, - hurry up and catch your train, it hasn't yet left".
The city was even more amazing than I expected it to be. I was thunderstruck by its architecture - the churches looked like castles and numerous war monuments drew the picture of war ages with the tiniest details. I felt I would agree to spend a night on a bench for the chance to go there again.
Later on I took my train back to Hungary. In my mind I was thinking how to explain the officers why I came to Romania without a visa...

Tags: 2014 Travel Writing Scholarship - Euro Roadtrip

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