Schengen Mess!

Upon arriving in Europe, Matt and I discovered that Americans only have 90 days to spend in what is known as the Schengen area (a group of 25 European countries that have come together to basically form one state when it comes to international travel). Initially we thought if we stepped outside the Schengen area and returned that the 90-day limit would start all over again. Wrong! Unfortunately, when you leave, the limit is only put on hold. News to us!

This wouldn’t have been too big of a problem but we were hoping to work on a Tuscany farm during the grape harvest. If we spent 90 days in a row in the Schengen area we would have to leave before harvest season began. It’s unclear exactly what penalty we would face if we overstayed the 90-day limit. Perhaps emigration wouldn’t even notice or maybe we’d have to pay a steep fine. Unwilling to risk any potential conflict in the off chance that we may one day want to become European citizens, we decided to leave the Schengen area for awhile.

Lucky for us, the United Kingdom is outside of the Schengen area! Luckier still, Malcolm (Matt’s old roommate while living in Japan) just happened to be back in his hometown – Edinburgh, Scotland. So after frying ourselves to a proper crisp on the Mediterranean, we exchanged our sunscreen for long johns (at least in my case!) and headed for Scotland – home of the bagpipe, fish and chips, Sean Connery, the Loch Ness Monster, and William Wallace.

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