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Austrians off the christmas card list!

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Currently, we are on hols in Slovenia. The other day we took a spectacular drive over the Vrsic pass. Just stunning!! On the other side we crossed the border in to Austria and decided that as it was lunch time, we would stop for some lunch. We drove around 2 towns and were unable to find anywhere to eat so we decided we would stop at a supermarket and get some picnic supplies and head over the border to Italy to find a nice picnic spot. This we duly did and proceded to follow our map.. ( at this point we had been in Austria all of 20 mins or so). Anyway, we inadvertantly found ourselves on an Austrian motorway, we drove down the road for little over a minute and could see the Italian border ahead when a man in a high visibility vest was standing on the road pulling over traffic. He pointed to us to pull over and to ourselves we wondered what we had done. We rolled down the window and he spoke to us in german, we indicated that we didn't speak German and he said "documents please".Not sure what he wanted and as it was a border crossing, we gave him our passports. He then said in a very aggressive tone, "you have to pay €120 fine because you are travelling on Austrian motorways illegally." He would give us no further explanation and refused to return our passports unless we paid the money. At this point, we figured that we must have been obliged to pay some form of "vignette" like in Slovenia as a prepayment for use of the Austrian motorway.
However, in many coutries where we have travelled including our home country of Ireland, we are offered the opportunity to, as it were, pay as you go on tolls. As we were litterally on the Austrian motorway for no more than 2 minutes genuinely and had ended up on it inadvertantly, we had not made ourselves aware of the rules in advance ( not expecting to need them). We would have gladly paid a toll had we had the opportunity. We weren't trying to pull any stunts!
While we accept that we broke the rules, my husband is particularly annoyed at the manner with which we were dealt . He asked the man if he was the police and he said that he was a worker for the toll company. At this point, we realised that he was deliberately targetting tourist cars as an easy way to make money.
We had no choice but to pay the €120 fine and in fairness we did break the rules. But we were left very upset by the experience. The man was very intimidating and we felt he abused his authority by being on a power trip. Laws like that really shouldn't be there to catch tourists inadvertantly travelling on a tiny stretch of road. They should be in place to stop regular road users from abusing the system.
The worst thing is that I had been considering the Carinthia region of Austria for our holiday next year but my husband is adamant that after that treatment, he would not like to return to Austria. He might have calmed down by next year though!! Just thought I would share the experience so that others might prepare themselves and can avoid the hefty fine ( it was an expensive half an hour in Austria!!!) . And aslo wanted to let off some steam- sorry!
We are starting to be able to laugh about the experience and there have been a few unmentionable jokes about Austrian men on power trips!!

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