I’ve just finished preparing “Baby Blue” for our latest trip, which is just as well because in less than twelve hours we will be sailing to France.
As usual I’ll be taking the Plymouth – Roscoff service, which is run by Brittany Ferries. At eight hours it’s not the quickest crossing of the English Channel, but it is one of the longest and as the port of Plymouth is only 25 miles from Dookes H.Q. it makes sense to use it; an overnight crossing with a cabin and comfy bed makes it a no-brainer!
One of the last preparation things I had to do was to remove last year’s Swiss Autoroute Vignette from Baby’s screen. I must admit that I was a little sad as each of the stickers represented a bunch of great experiences, but hey it just makes room for new ones!
“What’s a Vignette Dookes?” I hear some of you saying.
Well. . .
Many Autoroutes/Motorways in Continental Europe are toll roads, you have to stop every so often to either grab a ticket or pay the toll charge. This can be a pain in the rear on a bike; you have to remove gloves, find the ticket, find cash or your cash card and then pay the toll. Yes, sure in some places you can obtain an electronic pre-pay tag, but mostly it’s not worth the hassle setting the things up if you are only passing through and are not resident. In Switzerland and Austria they have a different approach, you have to purchase a “Vignette” and stick it onto your windscreen before you venture onto an Autoroute.
Austria are pretty good to occasional users/visitors as not only are annual Vignettes available, but also short-term ones too which are ideal for people just either passing through or on holiday.
In Switzerland there is no choice, only 12 month Vignettes are sold at 40 Swiss Francs a pop – that’s about £29 at current exchange rates. Typically for the Swiss the sticker has to be displayed in very precise way on the vehicle and woe betide you if you don’t get it right or fail to display a sticker, big on the spot fines apply!
On the face of it the Vignette seems a bit pricey, but compared to French or Spanish tolls it’s actually not bad value and the joy of not having to stop every time you enter or exit the Autoroute is also well worth it!
I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that we are heading to Switzerland, at least that’s the plan at the moment, once we get off the ferry!
“Like a bat out of hell, I’ll be gone when the morning comes.”
Catch you soon, on the road.