We left a Schengen nation (Norway) to go to Turkey. We had wanted to leave Turkey for another Schengen nation (Germany). However, due to visa requirements we weren’t sure we’d be able to do that. Here’s why:
David’s visa requires him to be out of the Schengen Area (a region comprised of 26 European countries that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders and share a common visa policy) for 90 days before he can return. Our visas allowed us to remain in Turkey for 90 days. At first glance that seemed like a perfect fit: leave the Schengen Area and hang out in Turkey for the 90-day period. But it isn’t quite a perfect fit after all. The days that we travel between countries actually count as a day spent in each of those places. For instance, the day we left Norway and flew to Turkey was considered a day in Norway as well as a day in Turkey. Because of this we didn’t feel comfortable trying to pass back into the Schengen Area directly from Turkey. The solution? Go to Bulgaria. Although Bulgaria is a member of the European Union it does not currently participate in the Schengen Agreement. And so we went to Sofia for a week, a small buffer before going to Germany.
Why Germany, you may wonder? Indeed we have even surprised ourselves with this decision, as Western Europe was not a primary interest for either of us (besides the Camino) at the outset of this trip. So much for that. Yesterday we flew to Berlin where we plan to remain for at least the duration of David’s next 90-day visa. The purpose for coming here is so Austin can pursue one of her long-time goals of learning the German language. Because of her German citizenship she is able to register as a resident there and enroll in language school (and the healthcare system – woot). We will rent a room in our friend Levent’s flat. You may recall from previous posts (and such films as What We Know About Turkey and the soon-to-be-released Aegean Scenes) that Levent is the twin brother of Erdem, our host in Turkey. We are excited to live with him! Depending on how well we weather the harsh northern winter and if David is able to obtain a visa extension of some sort, one or both of us may stay longer in Berlin.
Austin is so excited to go back to school and particularly to study language, something she is very interested in. David is looking forward to pursuing his creative projects, especially filmmaking. He is of course also looking forward to passing the winter in coffee shops with a warm mug and a good book. This will be David’s first winter in a really cold place.
We are officially accepting guests, so please come visit us in Berlin if you can!