Here comes 2017 in Soller
Written by Shirley Roberts
Photographs by Rachel Fox
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
on Tuesday 3rd January 2017
A tidy weekend of New Year celebrations and then it was back to work for the hundreds who are on a mission here in the Soller Valley. The ten month season we enjoy only allows two months for the builders to rush in and do the annual refresh and renewal of the hotels and restaurants who close briefly. The builders, painters, and craftsmen and women of our parish are in their busiest mode and have to keep working around yet another public holiday. We have the builders in the mountains working hard on the tunnels and tracks of the train. This major piece of engineering is due to end by February 1stto allow the Soller Train to continue to be the top attraction for Majorca. Thousands of people visit every year just to have the train experience and keep the magic of the railways alive.
In the Soller Valley we have the train that cuts through the mountains in expertly designed and maintained tunnels giving a unique means of transport. We have the coast road route from Valldemossa via Deia which skirts the sea all the way down to the Port of Soller. This journey gives the Italian Amalfi coast road a run for its money. There are many that say that this road has it all and they simply love it. Then, if that weren’t enough, we have two mountain routes out of Soller that are both in themselves breath-taking.
The Coll mountain stands proudly above the entrance to the Soller road tunnel. This road is on the cycling route of Majorca and is one of the favoured hard men climbs owing to its 52 hairpin bends. Then the mountain route from Soller in the direction of Lluc Monastery and ultimately to Pollensa is a majestic find for all those that take the trip. Climbing from Soller towards Fornalutx and beyond takes you higher and higher into the Tramuntana. The oasis’s which are the reservoirs of Gorg Blau and Cuber come into view and provide a beautiful watery backdrop to the stunning mountain scenery. This journey is a majestic reminder of the beauty and awesomeness of the area in which we live. The Gods were very generous to us in the Soller Valley when they handed out the vista.
With all this in mind it is very interesting to note that history did not always judge the area so well. In fact, the Doctors of fifty years ago recommended that if you had asthma or arthritis then the Soller Valley was not a place you should live. The high humidity and general dampness of the area was considered very unhealthy. These days there is an expansion plan for the area and the medical pros and cons don’t get mentioned as often. The angst now is all about the fires that are allowed to burn in the winter causing breathing problems for young and old alike. The debate about the advisability of the daily pollution caused by the fires is an ever present one. It is particularly on cold still mornings that it is at its worst. The inversion means that the smoke just hangs in the air until the sun rises high enough to burn it all away. Sollerics love a fire and this debate will run and run in 2017 that is for sure.
There have been a huge number of incomers to the Soller Valley in 2016. These are people who have made permanent relocations here and are starting their businesses in 2017. They have had their first Christmas and New Year experience here and have generally loved it. Some were lonely and really missed their families and what they had left behind. The sunshine and tradition of a Soller Christmas was very interesting for them but it didn’t replace the people who normally made up their team.
New year means we do it all again and we want to do it well. The Soller Valley has done a serious job of reinvention over the past ten years. Some of the infrastructure projects are finished but there are more to come. All eyes are on the developments that are scheduled for the Port of Soller this year. The fishermen are to get a new centre built in the Santa Catalina Port area and then there is the master plan. This piece of paper talks of high end shops and an auditorium over the sea for beautiful concerts. It will be great to review all this at the end of next December to see how far we get.
So for now from all of us in the Soller Valley we wish you a happy and peaceful 2017. Please come and visit us here soon – you are very welcome.