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Date: 20/05/2013
Source: Extracts from Camping, Cars & Caravans

Spain: To Barcelona at top speed
The new stretch of the Spanish high speed train route Barcelona - Figueres was opened in January. Figueres used to be the terminus for the Spanish AVE and the TGV from Paris. Now both trains can travel in their respective neighbouring countries. The 131 km long stretch from Girona to Barcelona takes 38 minutes and costs €37 by the AVE. The Avant takes the same amount of time but only costs €15.70. Cheapest of all is the regional train that costs €7.85 but it takes an hour and a half.

Tourist tax
Since 1 November 2012, a tax that is passed on to visitors has been introduced on all tourist accommodation and facilities in Catalonia. The amount involved is between € 0.50 and € 2.50 per person per night. The full amount will be charged in five-star accommodation but

campers will not be hit so hard on campsites as they will only be charged € 0.50 per person per day. Availing oneself of any tourist facility counts as a stay and 91% of all tourist amenities will be subject to the lowest category of tax. By introducing this tax, the Catalonia government hopes to generate about 50 million euros extra income annually that will be directly ploughed back into the so-called Tourism Fund.

Switzerland: Swiss motorway sticker
Driving on Swiss motorways will work out a lot more expensive from 2015 onwards. The annual sticker will cost CHF 100.- (€82) instead of the present CHF 40.- (roughly €33). However they will be introducing a CHF40.- sticker valid for two months aimed mainly at tourists.

Springcleaning
Caravans that spend the winter outdoors are exposed to the ravages of extreme weather and the environment. Paintwork, rubber window seals and synthetic materials suffer irreparable damage if they are not regularly maintained.
Caravan owners should clean their caravan thoroughly at least once a year.

° Maintenance starts with a thorough wash. Wipe the dirt off first then wash with a soft sponge. A washing brush with a telescopic aluminium handle can also prove useful. Of course one can equally take a caravan to a car-wash.
There are also very good appropriate cleaning products that you can use to wash your caravan without using water. The milky liquid envelopes the particles of dirt so they cannot damage the surface and the paintwork stays scratch-free. But beware of using a dirty cloth! Problem areas are the joins and gaps that rinse water cannot reach.
Treating the coachwork: The exterior of a caravan should be treated at least once a year. A first layer of deep cleaning polish will remove mild weathering and rustfilm from the paintwork. If the paintwork is in a bad state, you will need specialist help with sanding and wax polishing. But if the paintwork is recent, a good cleaning agent and high gloss mirror polish is usually enough.
Wax sealant: If you want to do a professional job with minimal effort to seal large surfaces on your caravan, you should opt for an easy to apply wax spray. The protective layer it provides will stand you in good stead for several months.