Friday, November 19, 2010

Driving the Austrian Autobahn

Five minutes before the Austrian border, Base calls. They know I never prepare anything, so they wonder if I got a vignette. I don’t. I don’t even know what it is but Base informs me that not having one will lead to sanctions and getting yelled at.
At the ‘Last Chance to Buy Vignette Before Border” I learn that a vignette is a little square sticker that costs 15 euro, and which proves to roaming border boys that you paid the Austrian road tax. That’s pretty fair, I guess. It appears that half of the Austrian road network consists of tunnels through mountains, and that most cost a lot. And Austria is so small that a traveler can zip from border to border without dropping a dime.
Little do I expect that half of the tunnels require additional payment. The tunnel that brings me into Slovenia costs 9 euro to traverse. Just before I sink into its gaping mouth a road sign inquires, “Do you have your Slovenian road vignette???”

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