Johnson came to Berlin early in the morning. We wanted to travel with the day train. The night train was cheaper but it could not allow me the pleasure of knowing the routes we took. I usualy like knowing every single city I came across.
Slovakia had just been welcomed into European Union. We believed we needed no visa to visit their country, therefore we just bought tickets and boarded a train to Austria.
Slovakia, former colony of Czechoslovakia had borders with Czechs Republic, Austria, Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. It was a small country that was carved out of the Former Czechoslovakia after years of Agitation. Germany and the other EU powerhouse had quickly recognized them as a sovereign nation and endorsed them into the EU. There was still tension in the zone which translated into a maximum security alert from the EU soldiers. Russia was still very angry that its former satellite towns were being divided into smaller nations.
We took train in Berlin and headed to Vienna Austria. There was a shorter route from Berlin to Slovakia through Prag/Praha Czecs Rep. but since the Czecs were not EU member, our resident permit were not permitted into the country without Visas.
We drove past the German cities of Leipzig, Dresden and Regensburg before we entered into Austria. There was Police control in the train. The German Police never missed a thing.
I had found a young lady in the train. She was about 21, an Austrian who was returning to Vienna from Germany. We had introduced ourselves and started chatting and drinking JaggerMeister; a mild alcohol of about 20% volume.
The Police had opened our cabin door and asked for my papers. I handed it over to them. They scanned my passport with their detective lenses and reluctantly gave it to me. The resident permit card took more time. They weren’t really convinced that it was authentic because it was unlike German permit which usually got stamped into the international passport. They took the card and left. Ten minutes later, they brought it back to me and apologized.
We got to Austrian Vienna WestBanhof, the city’s central train station at about 5 pm in the evening. It was a long ride, therefore we decided to sleep over in Vienna before going to Slovakia in the morning.
On our way out of the train station, I saw a familiar face. He was a Popular Nigerian Footballer. I approached him and greeted in Igbo. He stopped and greeted back. It was Ifeanyi Udeze. He said he was coming back from Hungary and was going to Insbruck, another city in Austria. I took pictures with him and we parted ways.
Johnson wasn’t interested in who UDEZE was, He never liked football.
We got into the city center and rented a cheap hotel. After settling down, we went out to look for food.
There was a Nigerian Restaurant owned by a Man named Peter. A lot of Nigerians were inside making noise and shouting as usual. A football match was going on. I think it was Chelsea versus Arsenal. Some group were giving reasons why Chelsea must win and vice versa.
We ate semo with Egusi soup and left immediately after that.
Jennifer called as soon as I switched on my phone.
” I have been calling you but your line was off” she had said in a hurry.
” I switched it off, what is the problem” I asked.
” Nothing, I am just missing you Daddy” she said. Funny girl.
We slept and woke up around 8am the next morning. It was time to continue our Journey.
We called our lady contact in Bratislava Slovakia and told her that we were already in Vienna. She promised to meet us at the border when we arrived. We took our showers and left the hotel.
Vienna to Slovakia was less than an hour drive with bus. We boarded a bus and got to the Triangle border between Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. The borders were manned by military men who didn’t understood any English word. They stopped us and asked us to alight from the bus. They requested for our papers. They looked at it and asked where Nigeria was located.
Johnson talked to them in German. He explained that Nigeria was a country somewhere in Africa. They weren’t convinced. We were taken to their military bunker and asked to stay there while they called the immigration Police. We sat there and waited for over an hour before the police arrived. We were handed over to them along with our documents. They checked it and asked us to continue our Journey.
We got to the Slovakian side of the border and the Immigration Police told us that we needed visas to enter Slovakia. The lady who came to welcome us asked us to return to the Slovakian embassy in Vienna and get a visa.
We were disappointed but there was nothing we could do. We went back to Vienna for the visas.
There was a Nigerian man at the Slovakian embassy in Vienna. He was exchanging harsh words with the visa officer who had refused to give him transit visa to Poland through Slovakia. The problem escalated to a point where the Visa officer refused to attend to us.
There was no other option than to go to Berlin and get the Visa. Damn! We were going back to Berlin.