I’ve never had much success crossing in and out of Bulgaria. For a recap of my first misadventure see “Border Crossing in Bulgaria” in the Circumnavigation Europe Journal. That is a tale of smoke-filled train wagons, impenetrable language barriers and misread gestures.
In my most recent near failure of a crossing, I have no one to blame but myself. Myself and the conglomerate that is now almost the entire continent of Europe. That bitchy little boys club that strikes fear in the hearts of perpetual nomads with their eyes set on Europe: The Schengen Zone. So crappy a word that my spell check refuses to accept it. But if you don’t accept it, accept that almost all of the countries in Europe are pretending to be one country, then you may be subjected to a hefty fine.
So, I overstayed my ninety days in a rolling 180. In the past my passport has been suck a cluster&%#@ of stamps (and those stamps has such a dearth of legible ink) that no one had the patience to wade through it. But the EU has apparently poured money into ink pads and magnifying lenses and has started to give a damn.
Born to be a litigator, I argued that my time spent in Poland didn’t count towards the total since I’m married to a Pole. This isn’t actual law, just simple common sense. This went over well and we were sent away with a slap on the wrist and a warning that other border guards may not be so understanding (or easily persuaded!) So then, with a flight that leaves from law-loving Germany (Schengen just sounds so angry and German!) how exactly will I get home?
On a more pleasant note, I had a wonderful time in Sofia with my dear friend Tsetsi and her boyfriend whose name I could only butcher here. Thanks for the hospitality!