705 km … 3 days … that’s all I asked for.

I applied for a 3 days’ transit visa to cross over from Georgia to Kazakhstan via Russia. I did the paperwork, collected all the desired documents, put on my best smile and made it to the Swiss embassy in Tbilisi. Yes: the Swiss – neutral as ever – are hosting the Russian delegation in Georgia, since the two neighboring countries are not on very good terms with each other. My first attempt was nothing more than an exploration round: I drove past the building twice, thinking ‘it can’t be here’ while the notorious crowds of people on the streets were absent. It turned out to be a holiday … and the next 2 days as well. Ok, bad luck.

In the second attempt I followed the instructions of fellow travelers who’d previously gone through it: try to attract the guards’ attention and show them your Dutch passport. They’ll let you through: don’t ask why, just take your chance. And so I did. But the time I spent inside the building hardly exceeding the time outside … Read more