Welcome to the EU. Let’s go bowling.

It’s almost shameful: how predictable we can be. If there’s a fence, we want to see what’s behind it. Lock something in a box, and we look for a screwdriver to pop it open. Tell a bunch of Canadians that they can’t cross an international border to visit their Polish town’s ugly Czech twin, and they want nothing better.

With the accession of the Czech Republic to the EU that country has dropped their visa regime. Now, Canadians can travel to Czech visa free, which means we don’t have to decline offers to go bowling by our Polish, American and British friends.

If you’ve been reading the Globe, you may be a little confused about where you can and can’t go in the new Europe. According to that venerable paper, only Estonia, who had Soviet-style visa restrictions for Canadians, is adopting an EU-like travel policy. It seems the fact-checkers at the Globe failed to surf over to the Czech embassy’s visa page. There, in a big screaming font, it says the visa requirements for Canucks have been lifted. In fairness to the Globe, the reports over the past months have indicated that the Czech Republic would not make any changes on May 1.

Now to the second error in the Globe article: Poland has lifted it’s visa requirements for Canadians. Although, the Poles aren’t so apt at up-dating their web site (at the time of writing, the Poles haven’t up-dated their Consular Information page since June of last year), the Canadian government is at least timely. Over the past weekend, we put this development to the test. We went to the Pieniny mountains, near the Slovak border. There are numerous walking paths in the region, including some that take you over the border. We have multiple-entry visas so the walk was no problem. But Martha’s mom, who landed just two days before the new changes, had a mere single entry visa. Under the old system, she would have been allowed to leave Poland for Slovakia, but she wouldn’t have been able to get back. But on May 3, it was no problem for her to hop across both borders. I think it helped that the border crossing was a foot/bike path in the mountains, one of the chillest passport controls I’ve ever been through.

So, my fellow Canadians, you now have $75 extra to devote to a trip to Poland. We’re here to the end of June. We can all go bowling. What are you waiting for?

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