Sunday, June 25, 2017 – So what seemed like a pretty routine weekend trip out of Berlin ended off or I should rather say started off in quite a surprise.
After scrounging the web for things to do this past weekend, we stumbled upon cheap bus tickets to a nearby of Szczecin, Poland. The total roundtrip fare from Berlin to Szczecin was just less than 20 Euros and took about 2 hours by bus which meant it seemed like a perfect day trip destination. For a geographical reference, Szczecin is located about 15 kilometers from the German and Polish border.
So we boarded our 8 am bus and arrived in the main Szczecin station just after 10 am. We figured that we might as well make our way to the city center and start from there. About 10 minutes into our walk, a police van pulled over onto the sidewalk next to us. Naturally, we thought it was no big deal as we were just minding our own business walking down the sidewalk, but 2 men stepped out of the vehicle and began talking to us in Polish. From the little English they spoke, I could make out that they were demanding us for our identification. At this point, I became extremely confused as I wasn’t sure why they required anything from us; and this is when everything went south.
Naturally, I don’t bring my passport unless I absolutely have to (ie. Flying), to avoid the possibility of losing it. So I showed them my Canadian driver’s license, which was the only ID I had on me. Unfortunately for me, they didn’t recognize the ID and wouldn’t accept anything but a passport. After some discussions between the officers, they decided that the best plan was to take me to their station because they had people who spoke more English there. Which come to think of it, was a terrible explanation. Anyhow, it’s kind of difficult to decline such a request. So they sat me in the back of the van, luckily my friends tagged along for the “joyride” even though they were technically free.
After a quick ride, we arrived at the station and some other guys explained the situation about needing a passport when visiting. I then showed them a picture of my passport that I had taken previously on my phone. After a lot of chatter between them, they decided that I also needed a picture of my entry stamps into Europe on my passport. Now, I don’t know anybody who takes a picture of their actual stamps but I certainly wasn’t one of them.
I’ll make this short and simple for you guys, but a lot more chatter later followed by a bunch of useless phone calls. They began showing me English forms about how I was illegally in the country; then forced me to sign it. The forms can be seen below if you’re curious.