The Swallows, Cyclists and Walkers of the Soller Valley

Written by Shirley Roberts
Published in the Majorca Daily Bulletin
Tuesday April 4th 2017

Photographs by Rachel Fox

This weekend marks the change in the Soller Valley to the next season.  This one is defined by activity groups and the return of the swallows.  The Swallows are our friends who have homes here and in other places.  They usually leave as winter begins and return about now for the glorious spring, summer and autumn before leaving us again.  They are a great, enthusiastic bunch who are very anxious to get involved with their other life here on their return.  They love to catch up with the Soller chattering’s and tell us tales of their winters and exotic travels. They bring with them concerts, poetry readings, belly dancing and gossip and we are all delighted to see them. They join the Easter people who are here for the school holidays when even the beach comes alive again with children in the water and the bucket and spade brigade doing what they do best.
Soller and its Port are fully open for business now and the only places not open are the ones that had delays on their winter works and building and painting is still taking place. New restaurants are emerging in both places and promising even more delights to the gastronomic feasts that await here. Last summer we had the mystery of the vanishing Soller prawn that left our waters to the consternation of many.  I am told that this is not a problem right now and that Soller prawns in all their deliciousness are available to buy and barbecue just as you are used to.  Don’t forget that the ‘in drink’ to have with this feast is cold white port.  At least that’s what all the visiting celebrity chefs tell us when they are here.

The Soller Valley is inundated with walkers and we are glad to see them return for their annual walks.  They are great easy guests as their days are full of the beauty of the mountains and shorelines and then they come back to the hotels to eat copious amounts of food to enable them to do it all again tomorrow.  They are tucked up in bed by ten and cause no upset to anyone – or is that really true? The Sollerweb comments section this week has had a number of posts about the rudeness and lack of walking etiquette of our new generation of walkers.  Maybe they are too young to have understood the tried and tested rules that have accompanied the walkers of the past.  The paths they tread in the mountains are narrow and meeting people coming the other way has always resulted in a ‘hello’ and a nod and an occasional thank you if you have moved out of the way to allow them to walk faster than you. Those rules now don’t seem to apply and the friendliness of the like minded walker appears to be disappearing.  This is just sad and I hope that the tour guides and leaders of the groups wake up to this before it is too late.  They have a responsibility to make sure that people know what the locals expect from the people who share their space for their activity holidays. A little pleasantness, good manners and a smile go a long way.

I can’t leave this subject without talking about our friends the cyclists.  They are a blind spot for many local people who can’t see a group of bikes straddling the road without feeling the anger.  There are rules for co existing on a narrow island and there are many professional cycling groups who know what to do and filter in to the road to allow cars to pass.  There are many others who just don’t do that and frustrations are caused, swear words exchanged and accidents narrowly averted. The development of cycling as a destination sport here is a phenomenon of the past ten years and everyone has to get used to what that means. A new cycle route linking Soller to the Port has been approved and will help when it is complete.  This joins many other cycle routes planned for the majority of Majorca. There is huge effort going on to make this work for the cyclist and the car drivers but we are not there yet.  A little patience, consideration and friendliness will go a long way until we are.

So we welcome all our friends and visitors and hope that when you arrive as a visitor you leave us as a friend to return many times.

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