Thursday, December 17, 2009

Applying for a Long Stay Visa

To apply for a visa to a country, you have to do it at the country's embassy OUTSIDE of the country. So, in order to apply for my long stay visa for Czech Republic I had to go to the Czech Embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia. The embassy takes visa applications from the US, and other "friendly" countries without an appointment between the hours of 10 and 11 Monday through Thursday. In order to be there on time, this required getting on the train in Prague at 12:42 A.M. for arrival in Bratislava around 5:30 a.m. The train was going from Berlin to Budapest but I was lucky to find a seat to commence 5 hours of attempting to sleep sitting straight up. Lucky me.

At 5:30 a.m. nothing in the Bratislava train station is open. I just needed to kill some time, have a cup of coffee, etc. Not even the coffee shop was open. And the train station is open air. There are no main doors, it just opens to the street. So, at 5:30 in the morning, when my options for warmth included only coffee and hot chocolate from the vending machine, I found a place to sit on a ledge (there aren't benches there either) and read.

Finally, around 6:30, the coffee shop opened. I sought out some warmth and a freshly made cappuccino.
Disappointment 1: it wasn't any warmer in there
Disappointment 2: the cappuccino tasted like someone made it yesterday it was the WORST cappuccino of my life
Disappointment 3: the first and ONLY cockroach I have seen since I left New York City was slowly meandering it's way up the wall next to the table where I was sipping the worst cappuccino of my life

Around 8 a.m. I left the train station to head into the city to find the embassy. The bus was dirty ... dirtier than any I've been on in Prague or NYC. I found the embassy. A very unassuming building right next to the American Embassy. The American Embassy had a huge fortress covering the street so no cars could go by without checking in. There were metal detectors and guards and just an overall showy appearance. The Czech Embassy had a red door and a doorbell. I rang the doorbell, told them I was there to apply for a visa, and they buzzed me in.

The process went pretty quickly. I was there for about an hour...not sure why...just waiting around. But I was able to get back to the train station to get the 12:30 p.m. train back to Prague! And I was so happy to be home! I picked up Kazimir from the babysitter (ahoj Sarka!) and headed home to sleep.

Except I wasn't able to sleep. My friend Dave came over and then guilted me into going to movie night at Tim's house. So...I had a VERY long day!

Keep your fingers crossed that the embassy will smile on me and grant my long stay visa!!

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