Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday 29th December 2015
Photographs by Rachel Fox
The page turns and a New Year begins this week. It is natural for me for writing purposes to have a hunt through the diaries and Facebook entries to check on the highlights of the year. The Soller Valley has enjoyed a brilliant 2015 and the consolidation of its place on this island has been the biggest development. I know there are writers for this paper who believe that Palma and Magaluf are the only place people talk about on this island but I beg to differ. The creation of the third talking point of the Island in The Soller Valley becoming Majorca’s second City is well underway.
The designation by UNESCO of Soller being the Capital of Culture of the Tramuntana helps us but that is only part of the story. The media are on us all the time with TV cameras from the UK, Spain and Germany being frequent visitors. Two prime time UK television programmes featured Soller oranges and the Train and Tram in 2015. The first was Country File that talked oranges with us and the second was Michael Portilllo giving the Soller Train and Tram pride of place in the finale of his programme about the Great Railway Journeys of the World.
The location scouts found us a great place to film and locations for television and cinema happened as did many advertisements. So many shots on TV feature our Tram, Lighthouse, Repic Beach, St Bartholomew Church – I could go on and on. By August this year some people were even complaining that Soller had become a victim of its own success and that there were too many people in the place. No Solleric would ever agree with that statement they are always more than happy to welcome all. They know that after busy days the train takes the day trippers back to other places on the Island and the place sinks back into its own eccentric calm.
2015 has been the year when the largest group of English speakers for many years permanently relocated here. Amongst that number are a percentage who used to live here and then left for work purposes and are now back. The quality of life for families here is such that even those who returned to other countries for very good reasons have found an even better reason to come back.
This year a new coalition is ruling Soller. They have declared transparency in all matters and are tackling the perceived notion that politicians are usually corrupt head on. They have held neighbourhood forums and published information for all to see. There is the beginnings of an interest in what they are doing by a jaded community who are tired of politics.
Modernisation has come to some parts of Soller with fibre optic Wi-Fi and internet speeds to rival central Palma. This all depends on location and the age of the building you live in but it is a start. Great excitement was felt when earlier I the year it was announced that piped gas was on its way to Soller. Little has been heard of this in recent months but we still live in hope that our days with the gas bottles might come to an end.
The cultural round up of 2015 has been very exciting with music in all its forms being the clear winner. Choirs, musicians, soloists and music festivals have entertained us. That together with the number of live musicians playing the summer months in the restaurants and bars of City of Soller and its Port means we are rocking.
There is work still to be done on the infrastructure and the centre of Soller is heading for another major shake up. A three-month consultation period is about to start and then another re routing of the heart of Soller. The Bus Station at the Port is still a disaster story and passengers still have no shade from the heat or the rain. This is now said to be because the bus stop in the Port is due for relocation.
There are many, many good things happening in this place and a real will to be a cutting edge resort within a resident community of people who live and work here. Of course there is always room for improvement and the pace of change means that everyone with a business is running to keep up. We are all looking forward to the excitement and the challenges of 2016 and anticipate it being a great year for the Soller Valley.
Thank you for reading all about our Soller world in these weekly columns. It is great to hear from you and meet so many who come to visit us. We wish you a very happy New Year from all of us in the Soller Valley.