One last drive: 1500km, 5 countries, 14 hours, a 150 euro fine…

After a few days of bad weather and our departure to Nepal in two weeks from Warsaw we decided to make a dash for it to Poland, it would take us a couple of days. We were heading for Andrews parent’s place and the thought of creature comforts and a Mum to look after us was very appealing.

After taking the toll road to Zagreb in the north we stopped for the night in the services. We woke at 5am and decided we were going to try and get all the way home. All was going so well. We stopped for coffee in Slovenia commenting it looked like a place we wanted to come back and explore it one day. We were approximately one hour in Slovenia, on one road. As we were crossing into Austria we were flagged down by two traffic officers.They asked to see all our documents and then our vignette…. Oh dear, we didn’t know about the vignette and therefore didn’t have one.

The officers weren’t having any of it. I believed it must have been very clear we genuinely didn’t know about it. I admit it is our responsibility to find out the driving regulations for each county but for this one hour we simply forgot! I offered to buy one immediately in the shop next door where they were available, they refused. We had to pay the fine of 150 euros for the one hour drive. I was really angry as we explained our situation and it was not clear on entering the country you need one, unlike on entry to Austria which made it very clear. Oh well, I will get over it one day but feel conned and not in a hurry to go back to Slovenia. I felt it was a money making scam to catch tourists. After a bit of research I find it apparently happens all the time, a few times a day.. they are raking it in!

We crossed Austria and the Czech Republic into Poland without any further issues. It was a long, long day, we made it home late and were greeted by Andrew’s mum, polish dumplings and whiskey.

Here we ended our first European van adventure. We will be coming back for more in the spring. For now the van is all cleaned out for her winter hibernation. The blog is going to be inactive too as we venture to Nepal and India without laptops and without our beloved Bluestar…