Saturday, 27 March 2010

For George

Those of us who lived in a pre-Schengen Europe would have to show our passports at national boundaries and that often meant during daily trips for work. Because some of us carry passports which instruct everyone to allow us passage "without let or hindrance" or Her Britannic Majesty would get tense we'd generally get waved straight through.

However every now and again the border guards would stop cars to conduct a more thorough check (I know a German joke about Austrian border guards but it works better in German and my written German is appalling). The quickest way from Germany to the French ports is through Luxembourg and then across the Belgian Ardennes - as students of twentieth century European history will be aware.

The biggest worry, when driving, was being stopped at the Belgian border because an additional test was having to name ten famous Belgians. Failing the test would mean diverting down into France which is slower. Anyways; if one is ever stopped and asked to name any famous Belgians the list is here on

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