That’s the ticket

It seems to be an unfortunate habit of ours to get some kind of traffic infringement fine on our epic European jaunts, away from the familiarity of our home in Argenton sur Creuse, central France.

Last year it was a speeding fine in Lyon – we had to wait for the nasty notice to arrive in the mail for that one – but when turning into a shopping centre in Benicarlo Spain last week, unwelcome flashing lights appeared behind us. Apparently we made an illegal turn, however neither of us saw any “no right turn” sign.

While Tony calmly talked to one of the two motorcycle police (Guardia Civil), showing them his passport, Australian drivers licence and international driving permit (you must have all those with you when driving in Europe – as well as a safety triangle and reflective vest in case of breakdowns, and apparently soon in France you will also need a breathalyzer kit onboard!), I madly rummaged in the glovebox for the car registration (carte grise) and current insurance papers, holding my breath that there would be no problem with his international permit which is issued in Australia for one year but officially recognised for up to 3 years according to the Vienna Convention.

That thought quickly flew from my mind when, approaching the men, Tony told me it would be a 100 euro fine. What???!!! I did not withhold my dismay and hightailed it back to the car to cool down.

I waited for what seemed like forever until Tony finally returned to the car, asking for 40 euros in cash… somehow the 100 euro fine (which would have been a 200 euros if we had been Spanish) had been further reduced because we didn’t disrupt traffic. Phew.

It seemed a bit weird to pay in cash, but apparently that’s how its done for foreigners in Spain.

The experience momentarily took the wind out of our sails – but back at our resort in Peñíscola, we walked across the road for a refreshing swim in the Mediterranean which quickly restored us to happy holiday mode.


About frenchfry36

South African by birth, British by right, Australian by oath, French by choice.
This entry was posted in France, Living in France, Travel in France, World travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to That’s the ticket

  1. Glad it all worked out alright for you. That actually happened to me once in the US. I was traveling through Georgia and got stopped for speeding. I was knew I was guilty of the infraction so I was just providing the info the trooper asked me for. When he came back to the car with my documents he said that since I was from out of state it would be easier and cheaper to just pay him cash. So my $125 fine ended up only costing me $75…but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the guy just pocketed the cash. So strange.

    The beach looks wonderful! Enjoy the rest of your holiday! 🙂

  2. Quel dommage! On both counts (yours and Wendy’s),it does look a bit suspicious, but who are we to argue if it saves us money? Taking a stand in a foreign place would probably be worse than just giving in to what could be corruption.

    At least you look happy enough at the beach. Maybe in future when you go on a holiday like that you can just factor in a fee for whatever fine may be lurking??

  3. Sartenada says:

    I have never heard about paying fines in cash! We are keeping home bookkeeping over 25 years and everywhere I ask for a receipt. Some think that we “wacky” when asking a receipt, but we know exactly our costs and expenses. Did You get any receipt? If not, I just wonder where the money went finally.

    Some countries in Europe do not care to pay taxes or to make exact bookkeeping and what is the result? They have financial problems.

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