Persona Non Grata
At the end of my second round-the-world tour which was to be by sea, I was faced with another ordeal. I carried a special passport which did not require a visa for EU countries. So I came to Italy without any hassle. However, on the way back to Turkey, I was going to go through Greece, which demanded a visa even from the special passport holders. But there are no borders between Italy and Greece.: Which means there are no check-points. Still... I went to the Greek Embassy in Rome just to make sure. They told me that I needed a visa, but I couldn't get it from Rome. “Go to Turkey to get a visa,” they said.
What??! Go fly to Turkey and back in order to go to Turkey by sea? Didn't make any sense to me. I had had a similar experience passing from Sweden to Norway which was not in the EU. No problem at all. I also had not been let into Switzerland from the Geneva airport, but once I got in France, I walked into Switzerland freely, smiling at the immigration officer. So I said I'll go through Greece too. And I did. However...
On the way out, that is going back to Turkey from Greece, I was stopped and told I was to pay a fine of 600 Euros and they'd be putting a “Persona Non Grata” stamp on my passport. Person Not Wanted... I was so indignant, I told the immigration officer to go ahead with it. I had not done anything wrong, I had not sneaked in to “their” precious country, I was just going back to “my” country. Returning with a “persona non grata” on my passport from a second circumnavigation of the world would be my badge of honor!
My Italian boyfriend, who was to become my husband, did not look kindly or approve of my retort to “officials”. He was thinking about the practical problems we would be faced with, basically the fact that I wouldn't be able to enter the EU to be with him were I to be labeled “persona non grata.” Anyway... A sweet and reasonable supervisor intervened and I went back to Turkey only to get married (in Las Vegas, which again was by force of law, but that's another long story) and settled in Italy.