Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mishap One of Two on the Alpine Tour

Actually, I should qualify "mishap" as nothing really too bad. I'm so grateful for a trip that was blessedly free of any major problems.

On our drive from Luzern, Switzerland to Dornbirn, Austria, we drove on the Swiss Autobahn. It was delightful to drive on the fast open road. On our way, we stopped for gas at a rest stop right off the Autobahn. After getting gas, I moved the car to wait for the rest of our friends. That's when the Swiss police officer knocked on the window.

I tried not to panic, but that was a tall order. The officer asked me in German if I was driving my car. I answered that it was a rental car. I'll admit now that I was a bit wicked and also spoke with my worst American accent. That's when he asked me if I spoke German and I answered "a little" again with a bad American accent. Then he proceeded in English to tell us that we were driving without paying the toll for the Autobahn. The fine is $120 for not having the sticker. I had heard that police officers expect you to pay fines on the spot and they're not very nice about it. I was very concerned, but tried to play it cool.

We were talking to this officer on one of his good days. He told me to go into the gas station and buy the toll sticker (for $40) and told us that we would need one for Austria as well. And we didn't have to pay the fine. The man that sold me the toll sticker seemed to think I lived the charmed life. He couldn't get over the fact that I didn't get the fine. That made me even happier for the situation.

Once I got back in the car and put the sticker in the window, all was well. We all breathed a sigh of relief and were very vigilant to find a place to buy a sticker for Austria so we wouldn't have the same problem there. As nice as the police officer ended up being, I didn't want to talk to any more.

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