The good, the bad and the ugly in Soller
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday 7th April 2015
Photographs by Rachel Fox

As the swallows return to the Soller Valley the residents brace themselves to answer their questions.  It seems to be a fact of life that when our many friends return to whence they came for the winter they think that life will go on uninterrupted in the Soller Valley.  The work they saw started in the Autumn they expect to be finished when they return in the Spring.  Some of them seem personally offended that progress has not been made as they expected and they make the ‘eyes rolled to heaven’ comments indicating that they expected nothing less.  This is a fact of life here that slightly offends me – I must admit.  I hold the view that just as life does not go to plan  in the UK so it does here.  I am very proud of the work that the City of Soller does  and the annual improvements are a real pleasure.  I am also not blind and I know that there are a list of outstanding jobs that really need to be sorted before the bulk of the returners come back and we are called to give account on behalf of the Town Hall. The reasons for delay can be anything from running out of cash to finish the work to the lack of political time left in this administration to start and finish a task.

The main complaints are threefold – the first is to do with the Bus Stop and Shelter that was supposed to be provided in the Port of Soller.  This is a ‘hub’ bustop for public transport and for all the coaches that use it as a pick up point for their day trippers.  The local papers have printed many photo’s of people getting soaked there when we get a heavy shower.  At the end of last season the word was out that the Ferrocarril ( the masters of the Soller Train and Tram) were going to step in and provide a state of the art bus stop because they were ashamed at how long it was taking for the powers that be to provide a suitable building.  I cannot comment on what is going on behind the scenes right now with this one but at the time of writing there is still no building to give shade from the weather.  I am sure this will be resolved but ‘when’ remains the question.

The next cause for concern is the state of the children’s playgrounds for the area.  Many swings and play equipment have remained broken for months.  The Town Hall issued a statement to say that these would be fixed before the start of the 2015 season – so far we are still waiting. The last in the trio of complaints concern the lack of toilet facilities in the Port of Soller.  The day trippers arrive in their thousands each day en route to Sa Colobra as they alight the Soller Tram.  A couple of toilets were installed at the quayside but they are woefully inadequate for the numbers that need them. Local restaurants are being used as the public toilets and they are a little out of sorts with this state of affairs.

Against these three issues have to be placed the many wonderful things that have been achieved in the past winter months.  High on the list is the new mountain path that now exists where the derelict Rocamar Hotel stood for so long.  The planning for this and the design of the new start to the mountain walks of the Repic Beach end of the Port of Soller is bringing many compliments to the officials.  The walkers and new visitors are delighted that this area has been made so accessible and beautiful.  A new car park has been installed in Soller and the Market Building has been renovated and new lighting installed.  The list of smaller improvements is endless and reflects a consistent approach to making Soller and the Hidden Valley a ‘looked after’ destination.

The City took time out of its busy schedule for Easter and gave itself to the Easter observances and to pleasure.  Our neighbours are really good at enjoying Bank holidays and they take to the streets, parks and beaches with their families and work takes a back seat for a few days. The new restaurant openings in the area enjoyed a sell out and they have started their new ventures with a huge smile on their faces. 

As we leave this bank holiday weekend we are straight into the next events of the Soller Valley. Saturday 18th April 2015 starts the Firo of the Orange which lasts for two weeks.  Participating restaurants offer a special orange menu and the train and tram offer special fares to get you here. The April Fiesta of the orange is new for this year as it usually takes place in June.  So an early opportunity to celebrate all things orange and to taste their use in all things gastronomic exists from next weekend.  See you there – you are very welcome…

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