License requested

This item appears on page 56 of the May 2011 issue.

Rick Steves states that he has never been asked for an International Driving Permit (Jan. ’11, pg. 67). My wife, Judy, and I have traveled to Europe a modest 10 times and never had one before our trip in September ’10, but I was so glad I had it that time.

As we were leaving Salzburg, Austria, for Bad Reichenhall, Germany, one evening around 9:30 p.m., right at the city limits two policemen waved yellow flares at the car in front of us. I drove slowly to pass but was pulled over too. Neither of us had been speeding or doing anything wrong that I could see.
The officer immediately asked for my International Driving Permit. I gave it to him, then mentioned that I had served in the US Army in Salzburg from 1953 to ’55 and that my camp, Camp Roeder, is now the Schwarzenbergkasern, or Austrian Army Camp. I asked if he knew of it.

His reply was that he had served in the Austrian Army and had also been stationed at Schwarzenbergkasern. He then asked me if I thought Salzburg had changed any in the last 50-plus years. I mentioned the Sternbräu and Glaberbräu restaurants plus some others and he said I knew the city well. After this dialog, he waved us on.

To this day, we have no idea why we were pulled over, but I was glad I had my International Driving Permit with me.

Regarding having CDW (collision damage waiver insurance) when renting a vehicle in Europe, my Chase Bank Visa credit card covers this insurance as a perk. I have talked with Chase Bank Enhancement Services twice to verify this fact. We can decline CDW when renting a car and save the $15 to $35 a day as Rick Steves mentions in his article.

Check first with your credit card issuer to see if you also might be covered.

Siesta Key, FL