Getting There


I’m on a Boat

View from the ferrySo here’s something interesting (at least I think it’s interesting, and since it’s my blog, you’re just going to have to deal with it): while on a bus from Germany to Sweden, the bus stopped at an area that kind of seemed like a border crossing.

It turned out that it was actually a line-up to board a ferry; the bus eventually drove inside the boat, and we all had 45 minutes before we had to come back.

Bus in a ferry

There’s something about being inside one vehicle that goes into another vehicle that’s kind of crazy to me, but then maybe I’m just easily impressed.

The ferry was actually pretty enormous on the inside — there were a couple of restaurants, a convenience store, and an extensive duty free shop.

Shops inside the ferry

I figured, hey, I’m on a boat, I should probably get seafood, so I ordered the fish and chips from the cafeteria.  It was pretty standard cafeteria fare (i.e. it kind of sucked), so obviously this was a bit of a miscalculation.

Fish and chips on a ferry

Wait, What Country are we in?

On a bus to MadridThanks to something called the Schengen Agreement, most of Europe is essentially like one big country for travel purposes.  Completely open borders.

Of course, it’s one thing to know that theoretically, and it’s another to be sitting on a bus and realize that you crossed over into an all new country and didn’t even realize.  Because that’s exactly what happened to me recently — I was riding on a bus from Porto to Madrid (a punishingly long nine hour bus ride), and I was expecting some kind of cursory border check.  Anything at all.  But nope.

It’s super bizarre to be travelling to another country and crossing the border is essentially like traveling to another province in Canada, or to another state in the US.  No passport check, nothing.  I’m sure there was some kind of “welcome to Spain” sign, but I guess I missed it.