Logbook

#12 Goodbye to Hungary; fright at the Romanian border

Fronteira entre Hungria e Romênia
Border between Hungary and Romania – sorry the low quality. 🙂

The 50 days we stayed at Tranquil Pines Camping, Koppányszántó, Tolna, Hungary, were so nice it couldn’t be different when we had to say goodbye: tears rolling down for sure! Goodbyes are almost always very emotionally intense moments. But, due to the limitations imposed by the Schengen Agreement – which is always pursuing us -, it was time to go, because, according to our math, we would reach the famous 90 days each 180 days limit by May, 21th, 2019. In the beginning of the Sunday afternoon, on May, 19th, we got a lift with Andrew (our host at Tranquil Pines Camping) to Budapest (Hungary’s capital). Before we left to Romania, we still had to go to the Brazilian Embassy on Monday to get our power of attorneys (click here to watch a video we did about the steps involved in getting a power of attorney when you’re away from Brazil), which process we started the previous week.

Just like we did the week before, we opted to stay at Meander Hostel, because, besides being super-cheap (HUF 5000 per 2 people per night, which means EUR 7.66 per person per night), we could again do everything by foot, since the hostel is very close to the Embassy, to the city center and to the transport we would need in order to get to Nepliget station, from where we would catch the Flixbus to Romania.

Everything went well regarding the paperwork. It wasn’t even 10am when we were already back to the hostel. We checked out and stayed there until the time to depart to Nepliget.

Even though we had almost 10 hours to spend, time went by fast and, after an entire day editing videos and working online, etc. it was time to put our bags on our shoulders and depart.

I (Alex) was carrying a huge back bag on my back and a small one on the front, plus a handbag full of leftovers from the previous place we had been. Betina was carrying a back bag on her back and towing her huge suitcase around Budapest. That was how we went through the streets of the city until we reached the metro to head to the bus station.

We were very early for the bus, which was scheduled for 11pm.

After a couple of hours more waiting, we departed for the 9 hours journey, heading to Romania.

The bus wasn’t comfortably, but we were so tired we slept.

After almost 5 hours, we were at the Romanian border.

When you cross it by bus, the driver stops and a border officer enters the bus and asks for everyone to hand him their documents. These moemnts are always tense. Specially because we had read reports of Brazilian people who had faced delays, just for the fact of being Brazilian (or being Non-EU, as they say).

We handed the officer our passports and waited, hoping that everything would went by smoothly and our passports would just return stamped.

It didn’t happen this way!

Some minutes later, the officer came back to the bus saying:

– Betina? Betina?

I could not believe… It was exactly how the guy wrote on his report…

Betina raised her hands with an “I’m here” face and the officer asked her to follow him. I went together, since I thought they could speak English. Luckily one of the guards did, so we could communicate. He said:

– My friend will have to fill a ticket because she overstayed.

In the middle of that very tense moment, I took a breath and, unbelievably, was able to calmly answer:

– There must be something wrong. We never overstay. And we calculate very carefully how long we can stay in each country.

According to the officer, we had been in Schengen for 91 days, while the maximum number of days allowed is 90.

I kept arguing a bit until, I think, I put some doubts in their heads. They opened a calendar on the computer and started to do the math…

We had entered Schengen on February, 20th, 2019, when we flew from London to Vienna. Following the 90 days each 180 days rule, we calculated (at least three times) we could stay until May, 21st, 2019 max. It was 2am of March, 21st at the time we reached the border. So it was really our last day!

After some more calculations and questions like “When do you plan to go back to Schengen?”, “When will you go back to Brazil?”, “Do you know you can’t stay in Schengen for more than 90 days?”, we finally heard what we wanted to hear:

– Ok, ok, go back to the bus!

PHEEEEEEW!

Some minutes more waiting until the passport was finally stamped and handed back to us. Of course not without many angry faces in the bus, due to the delay we had caused.

We were finally in Romania!

Congratulations for you, who read up to this point! For those wanting even some more, here’s a bonus for you to know how was the rest of the journey to Cluj-Napoca, our first stop in Romania.

Between one and another nap, when we realized, 5 hours had passed and we had finally arrived to Cluj-Napoca. Under a heavy rain, in an unknown town (and country), an unknown public transport system, unknown currency and unknown language, we put on our bags back one more time and walked from the bus station to the train station and, from there, to the city bus station. Just 10 minutes walking, but enough for us to become considerably wet.

It is interesting that, as we go to more and more places, always having to deal with different systems, we begin to identify some kind of standard on how things work. This allow us to learn faster about how things work in different places.

Looking here and there, we found out how to buy a bus ticket, so we could head to our next stop: The YouThink Hostel, where we’ll stay for at least 2 weeks.

At this very moment, we’re settled, ready to start our stay and anxious about what’s coming next, among our new Romanian, Austrian, Dutch and German friends… I’m sure we’ll have a lot of cultural exchange during this period.

We’ll see!

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