Let’s swap places in Soller this week

Written by Shirley Roberts
Photographs by Rachel Fox

Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday 6th December 2016

This weekend is the ‘Puente’ and for those who do not know what it means, this is an explanation. puente (Spanish for bridge) is a holiday in Spain, it is the day off to bridge the time between the weekend and a holiday, thereby creating a long weekend.’ This means that as we celebrate Constitution Day and The Feast of the Immaculate Conception next week (which are both Bank Holiday days) many people are taking a week off.  All schools will be closed for at least two and in most cases three days.  This is the traditional time for a mass exodus out of the Soller Valley for the workers who have just finished their seasonal work.  A straw poll of where everyone was going revealed London and Euro Disney in Paris to be the favourites.  Family visits to other parts of Spain were next on the list and then came all the exotic destinations. So many of the major hotel chains in Majorca are major players in other locations and at this time of year they give discounts to their staff who want to travel to one of the company hotels. The Canary Island, Cuba and Porto Rico benefit from this group.  The question in Soller is who is going to look after the visitors arriving here for their Puente breaks?
The local Estate Agents are the main beneficiaries of this holiday as so many of the weekenders are looking for properties here.  The endless stream of people getting excited about this area and wanting to buy is a very positive sign.  In conversation with the major players in the housing world here their view seems to be that a steady small recovery in prices is underway but not the price hikes that many sellers were hoping for.  This often leads to an impasse at the end of the sale process when the buyers chance their arm looking for a further reduction before a sale happens.  The sellers are all very tired of this ploy and just pull out rather than play that game. There is no doubt that the Estate Agents earn their money in this place!
The Town Hall of Soller issued the Christmas & New Year programme this week.  This covers events from 3rdDecember to the 8th January 2017.
So much happens here is a very low key and local way.  Children and Adults Christmas Show cooking, making of the traditional sweets and biscuits of the season.  Music, concerts, and performances of all shapes and sizes. All local schools will have a concert and a party for the children before the end of term. The ‘Talking Time’ project that I am involved with in the Port of Soller school are requiring all the English speaking helpers to assist in the singing English Carols for the parents to show what good work we have done with the children this term. The project of a native English speaker being part of a lesson every week with their year group seems to be working very well.  We hope we give a good account of ourselves at the Concert.

There are groups of workers in Soller right now working harder than in the summer.  Many more Hotel rooms will be coming on stream in the heart of Soller next year.  Some of them are coming from the development of small Bed and Breakfast accommodation. Others are larger developments of emblematic Soller buildings.  The sound of builders working is a serious winter feature and caused consternation at the Town Hall this week.  Negotiations to fix hours that noisy work can happen met with a problem of interpreting the rules in a too restrictive way.  The outcome was that the whole subject has gone back to the drawing board and a delayed decision. In the mean time the hammering and demolition continues.

The Puente  holiday is the beginning of all things Christmas here for many.  The Christmas lights are not on yet. that is always much later in December. The workmen are busy fixing them so we know they are a pleasure yet to come.  The Christmas Tree in the square of Soller is always a talking point.  We have had some unusual ones that’s for sure.  This year everyone wants to know the site.  Last year it was changed from the Fountain Square to just outside the Town Hall.  Consternation all round greeted that decision.  It’s great in an uncertain world to concentrate on our own small local issues occasionally.   Happy Puente Holidays to all… 

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