St Gallen – II

So, at the lake we took a ferry. We had bought the day-pass for our travel; it is convenient because it can be used for travel on train, bus, tram and ferry within Switzerland. We need not buy any other ticket. The ferry was a huge one, I should call it a small ship. It had a drive-through for cars. People were taking their cars, scooters, even the bicycles along to go to other places. I was told it was a common practice. All the notices, instructions were in German language.

For me, everything was new and extremely exhilarating. It being my first-ever boat ride in life, there I was, sipping coffee, mesmerized by the beautiful surroundings, green calm waters, cool breeze and the boat itself.

All my three travel companions were quite familiar with this kind of beauty as each one of them had been in Switzerland for more than two years and had seen the neighbouring countries as well. So, all the decisions of where’s & how’s were taken by them and I was just following them like a small kid. After sometime they turned to me & said “We are getting off at the next stop”. After that point they wanted to explore the roads to go back.

Again, all the boards, notices etc were in German. But as soon as we touched the land and started getting off, one of them asked us to stop !! We could see some custom people at a small check post checking everyone’s papers and I was wondering why the hell they have to check within a country. I was confused. I asked my colleagues the reason to stop, they just smiled. Apparently, they did not want me to get anxious.

Nonetheless, we came back, reseated and continued our journey in the same ferry and got down somewhere only to find another check post !! I looked at my colleagues; they were chewing Chiclets & were as cool as a cucumber. That reassured me to think it was a routine thing to check papers.

And when my turn came, those people in uniform stopped me !! Out of that ferry load of people they singled out only me !! They said something in German which obviously I could not understand but it was evident that they were not happy with my papers. And then like a bomb everything fell on me. Do you know why ?

Since I was on a short trip to Switzerland, I had a single entry visa for it (which I had already utilized by virtue of my landing there a month back) & according to them (and to my surprise) at that moment of time I was coming from Germany, trying to get into Switzerland ‘illegally’ !!

Since Germany & Switzerland share the lake, we had crossed over to German side without our knowledge and then we were coming back again to Switzerland. And the first check post where we had earlier thought of getting down, was in Germany !!

There I stood like an illegal immigrant fool not knowing what to do and my companions cursing themselves for their brilliant idea of boat ride. The custom people were not allowing me to enter into Switzerland and since I didn’t have visa for Germany, according to them, I could not go back as well !! One of them even wanted to deport me ! I want to think that he was kidding.

My three companions had made Schengen visa for traveling within Europe. And for your information, Schengen visa is required to move within EU (European Union) countries and Switzerland is not a part of EU.
So, to enter only Switzerland (as my case was) one does not really need a Schengen visa & that’s what my company had done. It had applied for a single entry visa for me. I think we should blame them for this stupidity and not me.

Well, we had to request, plea for my ‘release’ by telling them that it was a grave mistake on our part, we did not have any bad intentions, showing them our other papers etc. etc. Then after checking everyone’s papers to their satisfaction they let me go.

Phew !!

I had learnt a lesson again.

Note:– All the photos are from analogue camera.

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20 thoughts on “St Gallen – II

  1. hahaha, nice one… I was also caught once by police while driving in 160 in Denmark for violating the speed limit, almost facing a huge fine, did the same you have done.

  2. Pijush,
    Many times things happen that are least expected. 🙂

    But you could have avoided that… and I didn’t even know about my mistake.

    Sigma,
    Yes, it was. 🙂

    Thank you.

  3. It was a nice experience to read although a bit scary one and I think your heart must would have been in your mouth, when the officials were interrogating you, anyway it was nice to hear you got away with it without much hassles. The shots are also beautifully captured!

  4. Ohhh…that was a real interesting experience u have had in the firt few days itself…..should have scared the hell out of u….But sometimes we feel good about such events to look back and smile at it…isnt it?

  5. Somehow I knew what was coming next…must have been quite scary. I think you got free – only because you were not aware – and it showed.

  6. Pijush,
    Hmmm.. You never thought you were speeding ? Must be enjyoing the car & the surroundings very much. 😉

    Kalyan,
    Yes, it was quite scary towards the end. I was thinking what am I going to tell my CEO. 😛

  7. Ajeya,
    Yes, it is very interesting when I recall it now, not then. 🙂

    Ha Ha, now I laugh at my stupidity and the way I reacted to custom people initially. My first reaction was “What stupid!!”.

    BTR,
    Hmmm.. Have you started astrology as well ? 😉
    It was scary when I realized it, not before that. When I first came to know what they were trying to say, I just said “What stupid !”.

  8. Single entry? Why should anybody apply for it even if you are going there for one day and never again?

    That said, sometimes the emigration requirements are plain crazy, and it is often better to err on safer side just to make sure you are not left “na ghar ka na ghat ka” 😉

  9. Nah – just calculated guess….as my colleagues kids were on a europe tour last year and they also faced the similar incident albeit in the middle of night – they were travelling via train….!!

  10. Oh dear, I can imagine your stress… Anyhow, even with Schengen, there are no walls built around, and the fact is that, notwithstanding all the regulations, you managed to get back to Switzerland. Just imagine that single visa situation in many other countries…

  11. I can understand how anxious you must have felt. Nothing like this has ever happened to me and yet I am always full of vague dread about losing my papers or something like that abroad!

  12. Thats scary…we will keep it in mind. BTW I am finally off for my trip to Swiss country. I have already read a lot on your blog – now i experience it firsthand.

  13. What a crazy experience! There’s nothing like a bureaucrat who won’t listen to reason. Glad you were able to work it all out. I agree, your company should have known better.

  14. I am so sorry your company didn’t apply for the Schengen Visa, would have made travelling so much easier for you.
    I hope you understand why the European nations insist on a general visa, when you know that once you enter you are free to roam all of the member states. The Swiss Consulate should make anyone who applies for a Swiss visa only aware of the fact, that one may get into trouble. After all, they are the ones you let you so easily and unchecked cross their borders and with that into big headaches, if you are unlucky.
    We Europeans are used to the Swiss wanting to have the cake and eat it too, taking part in whatever is of adventage to them, but choosing not to be a reponsible party of the European Community.

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