FYI: A vignette is a sticker you pay for that sits in a special spot on your window. It is mandatory for driving on highways and in lieu of paying tolls.
We have just left the Czech, I have had a glass of vino (not true, I’m drinking straight from the bottle).
We chose the faster route to Poland by driving through the Czech. We looked in our camping book for driving rules in the Czech and it didn’t even have the county listed (remember this statement for later)
At the border we searched all signs looking for the word vignette… We did not see this anywhere. In three previous countries it was well marked (Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia)
I’m sure you can see where this is going…
We drive along for a good hour and pass a minivan of cops parked off in the grass on the highway. No biggie. We keep driving and they pull up in front of us, I see the guy mouth German. So, ok, thy are admiring our RV.
Then the lights go on and an LED lighted stop is blinking in their rear window. I am thinking, are they warning us that they are stopping because I am by no means speeding. But, it keeps blinking… So I follow the cop off the highway just in case.
We pull off the road and one of the four cops walk over and speak in a scary language. I give him my passport and he hands it to another and they say, “oh united states.” The other guy says, “you don’t have your lights on” I apologized and flipped them on and then he says, “many stickers, none from Czech” I said, “we looked everywhere for the sign and never saw one for vignette here in Czech. But we would have bought it if we saw it.” He then talks about how there is one sign at the border. I explained very nicely that in every country we have seen many signs with the speed limit and vignette and light laws but didn’t see it for here and I promise we were looking. He said that it was a small county they only needed one sign at every border. I said maybe it wasn’t in English so I didn’t know what he said. Then he said this is not America and he made me do a breathalyzer!!! I was scared out of my mind that it was rigged and I would end up in jail for American ransom or something.
So. He had me go inside a gas station and buy a vignette for $10 which wasn’t even advertised that they sold it like everywhere else.
Then, he hit me with a minimum (yeah right) $85 ticket! It’s the Czech there is no way $85 is minimum.
He told me I could pay at a post office which we found later that afternoon in a small town off the highway.
Here’s the kicker. He walked me back to the RV and I explained once again about all the stickers we had previously bought and I promise if we saw it I would have. I told him about even the camping book and how it had all the countries. So, I pointed out Austria and how it said $7.70 right in the book. He took the book and started flipping through it and I hid my face. I saw it before he did. One stinking page without even a divider (they are color coded by country) and it said Czech $10 for 10 days. When he discovered it I laughed. He said small country small page, I wanted to say big a$$ holes but I didn’t. I closed the book and showed him that from looking at the dividers you couldn’t even see it was there.
So, I think, the fact that we were American and supposedly the world thinks we are all rich he stuck me with the ticket.
Thanks Czech for the memories. Your highways are not pleasant to drive so I have no idea where all the vignette an not vignette money goes… It’s definitely not to road repair.