Delhi again

A small office trip arrives and I’ll be visiting Delhi, Coimbatore and Chennai. It’s my first trip to deep southern India. It’s quite short and I am already packed with the tasks which I need to do, still I’d spend some time meeting family and friends.

Czesc India – 10th April to 8th May

Finally all set for our India trip. We planned couple of times but we couldn’t this time all set, visas, shopping, tickets. On 10th April we are leaving from Gdansk and early morning we’ll be in India. We’ll be visiting back home, Delhi, Agra, Jaipur/Valley of flowers and Leh.

Schengen Agreement – Where the hell is free movement?

UPDATE: This post may contain some information which is no longer valid. According to latest updates, Schengen states are no longer issue D+C Visas and D Visa is now treated as D+C Visa. In short person entitled with D Visa can now visit schenegen states for first 3 months from date of issue.

Recently, I stuck with my renewal of residence permit in Poland and all I got was “D” Polish national visa. Which allows me to stay only on territory of Poland, but wait I have a trip to India, I bought ticket and everything has already planned. Immigration officer told me that Its multiple entry visa which allows to leave Poland and re-enter without any problem, in case of argument just show old residence card.

So far so good, my Lufthansa flight from Gdansk-Munich-Delhi-Munich-Gdansk has connection in Munich. Many European countries uses bad practice while issuing visa. In case of national legislation they issue “D” national visa which is limited to schengen state which issued that visa, and if it has picture and visa code then it also allows you one visa free 5 day transit to reach schengen state who issued that visa from other schengen state.

So, I was worried because it only allows “ONE” visa free transit when contacted German consulate in Delhi, they mentioned “Indian passport holding any visa issued by EU/EEA doesnt require Airport transit visa” so i was very happy that everything is in motion.

A week before departure, I just voluntarily contacted German embassy in Warsaw and their answer was like this “Sir, You need Schengen Short stay visa, if you are on national visa and you have connection from Munich”. I said what? I’ll be transiting via air just 1 hr layover in Munich and Officer nicely explained me why I need short stay visa instead of VTA/ATV or transit visa. Flights from one schengen state to another schengen state is considered as local flights, they dont have any immigration check points and more funny thing is “Schengen airports / gates are considered as schengen territory not transit territory”, well that’s ridiculous. In short it stay if you have got “D” visa then you are stuck in that schengen state which issued that visa.

In real schengen agreement is not complete it lacks completeness. They cannot issue me transit visa because i’ll be entering again in Poland after one month via Munich and transit visa doesn’t have number of days. So, they said only solution is to give you Short stay tourist visa, well that’s even more ridiculous but it’d work in my case.

In 2002 EU Parliament approved a proposal to provide some solution to this kind of problem by issuing “D+C” visa. D+C visa provides all features of national visa plus it include 90 days stay in other schengen state from the date of first entry in schengen zone. Practically it doesn’t work, because national legislation takes lot of time in some countries it even exceeds 6 month and in other cases embassies even dont issue D+C visa either they dont know what the hell it is or they just dont want to issue them or they are lazy to follow schengen visa procedure and add information to SIS.

Recently, A new proposal has been made to EU Parliament regarding providing completence to free movement regarding non-EU citizens. Proposal says “Long term D visa would have same effect as residence permits, so a non-EU citizen would be entitled 90 days visa free entry in schengen states in half year without visa, just like residence permit” and “Consulates should propagate D visa information in SIS(schengen informaion system”. It makes sense, both proposal aims to provide free movement without compromising on security issues and incase if any state need to issue visa to someone on personal interest then they can use “VTL” limited territory schengen visa.

Around 3 years ago, a delegation of junior high school students from India got invitation from France to visit and learn french in France. This delegation booked flight via Delhi-Munich-Frankfurt-Paris instead of staright Delhi-France. They went to french embassy and they got “D” visa for35 days with a stamp that they cannot apply for residence permit on this visa. And like other people they have that misconception that they can travel to whole europe on that visa which said “France” instead “Schengen States”. They reached Munich and immigration officer  enquired that where you are heading they said france. But its from Frankfurt and how you gonna take Munich-Frankfurt flight he replied. School teacher was completely blank, German Immigration officer asked them to return back from next earliest flight to Delhi. But its completely unfair, we dont know whats going on behind curtains, we are just going for an educational trip, yellow-pale school teacher replied. German immigration officer couldn’t understand why french embassy issued a D visa for short stay and agreed to talk to higher officer. After a long talk they have been issued a transit visa so that they can take this flight from Frankfurt, its really rare if doesnt happens oftenly, but thanks to Germany authorities who understand that Indian doesn’t have pocket full of euros they earns hardly 200 euro a month in home country. After arrival in France, instead correcting visa french authorities acted like a stubborn child and said “Indian embassy in France is doing similar things, they are not issuing work permits and visa as fast as they should” huh! its really childish. French doen’t understand that India has huge population and selling county again is not in our agenda. We don’t want hypermarkets like Carrfour in India taking all money to France, its  like socialism in past when English people dominated India for around 250 years. So, India is very careful regarding foreign investments etc.

So back to the story, I need schegen visa for just 1 hour layover in Munich. I went to Germany consulate in Warsaw, a nice lady gave me all requirement list, I needed a schengen health insurance, bank balance, 60 euro fee etc all requirements which are necessary for schengen visa. Next day I went with all those papers and met with two Chinese workers in Poland who had similar situation but the only difference was my flight is after one week and their was scheduled at 10:35 same morning. Good news they got visa on 9:10 but I am still skeptic about if they could catch that flight since airport is very far. At 9:40 I got my transit so called “tourist visum”. It was really quick. I must say German are really processing visa application faster and better. I called that visa “A visa to your own home”.

So far so good

Since my arrival in Poland, I didnt blog much. First i was struggling with some education difference and then climate difference and lastly examination session. I just wind up my exams and fortunate to pass though i missed allmost 1.5 month of regular lectures. Nevertheless my Indian formula seems to be working here also “just keep it hard” during examination session.

Recently, I broke my notebook, well it was a funny accident but the result was not so good for me. I broke LCD of my development notebook and now i just cant work,  I would like to apologize to Simon, who lended me this notebook. I have worked on some of cool projects here, well you can check it out on my home page. I am sure you’r getting bored of reading about my educational a dventures. So, lets talk about some of my recent traveling experience. I visited Gorzow Wlkp and Kosztyn (this time Polish side) and celebrated Christmas and new year there. It was quite nice to celebrate christmas and new year with a family. Beside Gorzow, I travelled to Warsaw-Katowice-Gorzow-Gdansk-Warsaw(a reversal of my last polish trip, i hope you remember that). I still dont have much pictures to share with you. But I am planning a full fledged backpacker trip during holidays. Well, I dont have any real plans but I am sure, I am going to be there.

All the best! and Dziekuje (Thank you in Polish – I hope you guys remember this word from Borat:)

Strange Weather

It’s been almost a month in Poland and its pretty strange weather here. Five minutes back it was snowing and now a bright shining sun just above me, what could be more pleasurable in this darn cold here in Poland. I resolved the communication gap with people here, now I am buying my stuff on my own. In Germany it was pretty easier but in Poland language is a big hurdle. Another Indian mate from my university cried and said “no one speaks english here, what I am going to do here?” I just told him, time gonna teach you Polish.

I spent little time in university, some lectures are quite easy but some needs intensive study, which is not my cup of tea, but I’ll try to pass them with my old methodology. I am not sure if its going to work in Polish education system. I traveled to Gdansk, Gorzow, and Gdansk again. Warsaw doesn’t have much to see, so I am heading to other cities during break. Quite lazy to do pictures right now.

Poland Again! – 26th Oct

Few months back I got admission in WUT in warsaw Poland, I have always facinated toward eastern Europe and I considered it as a good chance to peruse my masters and have a closer look at eastern Europe.

I am leaving on 26th October, with Turkish Airline will get more miles and fare isn’t so bad. Moreover they have 10 Kg of extra baggage for me. Hope they wont be late again.

I’ll try to write a post whenever i see something new or which i havn’t observed. Keep reading. Oh yeah! Leh writeup is still pending. Actually Vibhu(my other mate) have a great idea to write a proper e-book kind of stuff on our great Leh trip. I’ll notify you as we progress into it.

See you in Poland!

Kustrin Kietz – German countryside

German countryside has always astonished me. The beautiful grassland, wavy highway and comfortable train ride already impressed me a lot. But I was searching for more real lifestyle and I headed to Eastern border with Poland to complete my picture of Eastern Europe. I got a cheap all day ticket and Licthenburg was my station for NEB Kostryn-Berlin Train. Unlike Berlin Hptb. Licthenburg is still quite old but trains are always one time. Train passed lots of beautiful villages but eventually I had to get off at Kustrin Kietz.

It was Easter morning and I could hardly see anyone on roads, but some families were traveling to meet there families. I saw lots of people staring at me, probably amazed to see a tourist in their town. My German is almost nowhere near to my English, but still one old man was quite interesting in talking with me. He came closer and said something in German, which I interpreted at “If you are going to main city, i can drop you there” but he said “I am going to cut some trees, would you like to join us.” When he gave me an axe then I realized he asked me to help him. It was fun, I cut some wooden blocks and loaded in his car. We drove back pretty fast and then I left him to explore the town, I walked around 4 Kms to see the town. I could hardly see any shop or people on road but in the end it turned out to be a one of the memorable trip. When i reached to Polish Border then I realized its time to go home now.

Eastern Europe – Poland

Poland joined EU in 2004 but still it is very different from other European countries. People are having more strong family emotions and very high religious devotion. I tried to discover Poland from its heart and my own personal routes. I started my journey from Warsaw, then I moved in the north to Gdansk and Hel, then I walked to my own personal route to Gorzow Wlkp. and end my journey in historical city of Krakow followed by Katowice.

Warsaw the capital city of Poland is just like other capitals. Life is fast and a bit expensive here, you can find lot of youth hostel here but I decided to spend this evening with one of my friend in Warsaw Ewa and tried to look inside the Polish family. It was a very warm welcome at her house, her beautiful and loving mum and grand mum fed me the very first polish food. After a long discussion on Poland economy and future strategies, I decided to leave her home and head to Gdansk. Polish Railway service PKP and PKP-ICC(Inter City) is very good and on time. PKP-ICC is bit expensive and there is no discount on this services but its much faster than other express services. I bought express PKP ticket and head to Gdansk.

Gdansk StreetsGdansk is pretty much like a mixture of commercial and historical city. Its most cleanest city of Poland. Unemployment is less here and people are more friendly and visible than Warsaw. A youth hostel would charge you around 50 PLN with breakfast and the best way to see this city is on bicycle. After viewing most of places like Madison, Railway Station Gdansk Glowny, Cinemas and modern lifestyle I decided to go to historic center of Gdansk. I was on time this year there was a big 3 week fair in the center of Gdansk. Resturent serves really great food, don’t miss Fish and Zapeikanke in these shops.

HelAfter a relaxing time in Gdansk it was time to head to Hel. Hel is a small town in Batalic sea and gulf of Gdansk. From Gdynia you can ride on ship to Hel which usually takes 1 hr and 50 PLN (Including return journey) by train it takes 2 hrs due to the fact you have to travel 200 Kms by train. Hel was much better than my expectation. You can play in beach, eat crispy fishes, visit authentic museums and walk in exotic nature garden. I spent almost a day over there and unfortunately I had to leave to Gorzow next morning.

There is no direct train to Gorzow and I decided to visit Szceccin before Gorzow. Its a developed city like Gdansk, you can find automatic cash machines everywhere in city. Berlin is just another 120 miles from this city. Up next was Gorzow, small towns with big shopping malls and public apartments and surrounded by beautiful villages Gorzow is a bit slower than other cities. I was looking for an occasion for doing some adventurous stuff in Gorzow as it is quite and decent city, no real traffic on roads peoples are polite and some of them speak Gorzowvery good English, I took bicycle and went to feel Gorzow. After some daring stunts on bicycle I went inside village, I took Dinner in a village with a family it was polish famous food “Pierogi” (Russian Dumplins) it was some regal food for me. I talked to people in villages they were happy to see me and they remember some incidents about India, this really surprised me. Next was to visit Katowice and Chorzow followed by small town called Wroclow.

KatowiceI was really running short of time, so I decided to scrap Wroclow but it was a mistake. I had to spend sometime with my Aunt and Uncle in Katowice. Katowice looks like yet another commercialized city of Poland. Long apartments, beautiful parks and shopping malls everywhere makes Katowice a comfort city. In morning my Uncle and Aunt took me to a big park in Katowice-Chorzow its really a must place if you visit Katowice, perhaps for me it was really important my uncle and aunt married in the same park. if you get tired by walking in the park you can visit “Fish Village” its a nice resturent out there which serves some delicious fishes with beer. In evening i went to center of Katowice and did some shopping for Krakow.

Wawel Royal CastelEarly morning I left to Krakow. It takes 2 hr and 17 PLN by PKP train which can consider as cheap but the cheapest way is to visit by bus which takes 3 hrs in 12 PLN. I booked “ARS Hostel” in Krakow and a taxi would easily take you to ARS in 20 PLN from railway station. Unlike many other hostels ARS was in old city of Krakow. There are many ways on which you can see Krakow and each way portrait on different Krakow, for example if you follow University way then you’ll see various universities and modern living in Krakow but i decided to take historical way its what i was there for. I put my bag in hostel and headed to Wawel Royal castle, people are living on Wawel Hill from 50,000 years and its best place to find traces of Churchhistory of Poland. Its surrounded by beautiful gardens and Viswa river. Krakow is the place which was near to Pop John Paul-II, personally I was attached with him and decided to go to that window in Krakow where the used to speak. Kanonicza street mostly preserved its exquisite Renaissance and shape, which appeal so strongly to everyone. I end my journey by visit Collegium Maius and had a wonderful coffee on the street.

Poland was much better than my expectation this time I couldn’t visit some of famous places in Poland but if you are coming to Poland then in addition to above don’t forget to visit Ausszwitz, Jasna Gora, Wroclow and Zakopane(Tatry). I hope I’ll return to Poland very soon.

Arrived back!

On 18th morning i reached to my home, sorry I couldnt write anything about this trip. It was very nice and bit emotional. The best is to not share your expericence you have to be there if you want to know about it.