Welcome Ilka to my very first guest post and very first of my ‘That time when…’ series!
That time when I got stripped at the Slovenian-Croatian border
This story takes place back in 2010, but I remember it quite well as it is the only time I got stripped at a border.
My then-boyfriend-now-husband and I were traveling back from Vienna in Austria to Zagreb in Croatia by bus. It was at the end of October and we were traveling during the night. The bus got off from Vienna at 12:00PM or something like that.
Many of the younger audiences won’t remember this, but there was a time when all bus passengers had to get off the bus at country borders for passport and luggage control. Actually, this still happens here and there in Eastern Europe!
So, here we are, in the middle of the cold October night, standing at a queue at the Slovenian-Croatian border and waiting for our turn to show our passports. We were just talking and telling jokes. Then we noticed a border control officer passing by slowly and dramatically, looking like Clint Eastwood in the wild wild west. He had that certain face expression and body posture like being in a cowboy movie! He was a young guy, probably 30-35 years old.
I looked at my then-boyfriend to check if he is seeing this. He was! We looked at each other and couldn’t hold our laugh. It was like trying to hide your laugh at class when the teacher is looking, but something really funny happened. Naturally, Clint Eastwood noticed this and immediately changed direction towards us. He politely asked us to follow him.
This is when the fun began! Mr. Eastwood called out a female customs officer who came and took me away. She brought me to an empty room with nothing, but a toilet in the middle. She then asked me to start removing my clothes and she checked each item thoroughly.
I was like “Is this really necessary?” and she was like: “This is just ordinary border control”. Me standing almost naked there was like: ”Nope, nothing ordinary about this”, but I guessed she was just doing her job.
Luckily, I didn’t have to remove my bra or underwear. At this point the border control lady saw that I was no threat to anyone.
Still, I was worried a lot about the luggage check, because we went to a hemp festival in Vienna and got a bunch of free promotional stuff. Our bags were literally full of smoking accessories and magazines about hemp and marijuana, which would definitely raise questions at our situation. Nothing illegal, of course.
We went outside to wait for my boyfriend, which took some time. After all, he was the one checked by the cowboy dude. The bus was parked nearby and waiting for us.
After a while, they came back and it was all good. My boyfriend had to remove his clothes as well, but nothing dramatic happened. The amazing thing was that they didn’t ask to check our luggage! What a relief!
Finally, we got on the bus again. Needless to say, all of the passengers hated us for making them wait. At the end we got to Zagreb and had a great story to tell.
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