Welcome to Soller! | Rachel Fox

Recent arrivals are the subject which fascinates me this week. Every year new people arrive to live in the Soller Valley. Their reasons for coming change with the financial situations in other countries, retirements, internet nomads and family stories. There are few that see a job advertised in Mallorca and apply for it. The pay and conditions are so low in comparison with where they have come from. Lifestyle, weather and being only a two hour plane journey away from the UK is often given as the reason for re-location, but a job with a great salary is rarely mentioned.

Let’s not knock the lifestyle and weather, it is far more important than we give credit for. A safe, happy place to bring up children is also high on the positive list. Those leaving some inner city schools in the UK tell such tales that Mallorca seems like utopia in comparison. The past 20 years has seen an explosion in the schools in Mallorca available using the English language. The majority of these are fee paying but this availability is a far cry from the past.

Not every newcomer wants to absorb the Mallorquin way of life. They choose to live alongside it. They love to be able to find food brands they recognise from the UK and listen to radio and watch TV in English. This attitude used to be so frowned upon. ‘Why have you moved to Spain and not learned Spanish?’ ‘Why do you want foods from the UK when Spain has a great Mediterranean choice?’ ‘What on earth is Marmite?’

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Businesses have sprung up all over the island catering for the tastes of all the incomers. South American sections in the supermarket sit alongside the German, Chinese and UK choices. This is a fact of life and not a game changer for most locals. As long as the incomers, from wherever they come from, register with the authorities, pay their taxes and abide by the laws of the country, how they live and eat is really up to them.

In Soller this week the visitors have changed to the ‘adult’ variety. Children in Spain are all back to school this week and many of the private schools have already started their new school year. Our hotels are almost 100% full and the restaurants all encourage you to book in advance. Busy old September is back after a few years covid related absence. The cyclists and walkers are returning and a little worried that it is still too hot for their sport. The beach is packed and the cocktail hour much enjoyed. The ‘adult’ theme of September is a gorgeous place to be. All the beautiful couples parade their tans and their great clothes as they head off for dinner. The smell of great perfumes linger after they have walked past and its lovely to be part of it all. Wedding proposals and planning is in the air as the Port of Soller puts on its romantic shawl for September.

The locals of Soller are looking at their plans until the end of the year and deciding whether to sign up for any of the activities on offer. From local dancing to dry stone walling the list is pretty long. The newly extended sports complex of Son Angelats has much more than swimming to offer and are signing up classes now. Can Dulce in the Gran Via has classes every day from ballet to costume design and much more besides. The local music school has opportunities for all those who play an instrument and the Third Age Choir is always looking for new voices. The non- Spanish speakers are always worried about how they can join in if their command of the language is not great. I can tell them from all my line dancing experiences here that talking is a small part of communication. Watch the feet or the paintbrush and you will do just fine.

September ushers in the change of focus as work and hobbies take the place of sun related activities. The sea still calls and beach weekends are always fine but September begins the change into the next season in our world. A truly beautiful one at that.