Tourists walking through Soller and on the tram. | Archives

This time three years ago we were counting down to Lockdown. All were avid followers of news reports and the experiences coming out of every country. New Zealand appeared to be the star country, and everyone wanted a Prime minister like theirs, in charge. Time passed and no country escaped, Prime minister’s and experts’ words came and went. If you had time to write the script how different would it have been? No one knows the answer and the kindest thing we can say is that all countries did the best they could with the information they had. That statement might be good enough unless you had family and friends who died. There are still many who want answers and do not consider ‘moving on’ to be an option.

In Soller the recent renovation of the Cemetery includes a Covid Section, to commemorate those we lost at that time. This decision did not meet with universal approval especially from families whose family graves were moved to make way. Delicate decisions all round and people left with questions.
The wonder of the week in the Soller Valley was at the glorious weather which bought us trippers galore. So many used the Soller Train from Palma to make a ‘day of it’. The delight was marred when they got on the Tram to have lunch down in the Port. A price rise to 8 euros for a one-way ticket was eye watering. Some just got off the tram and walked to the bus stop where they could travel for free if they were residents, and for 1,80 if they weren’t. We all know there are few who pay that price as the day trip which includes the train, tram and boat doesn’t have 8 euros included for the Tram trip. Residents have special priced tickets, and many visitors buy a set of cheap tourist tickets. The people who pay the price are the ad hoc visitors who don’t fall into any special category and must regard it as the price of a theme park ride.

Driving the streets of Soller has become a sedate affair since the arrival of the signs which tell you what speed you are doing. They are there to make you observe a 30 km speed in built up areas and 20 km near schools. We are generally a law-abiding bunch and these signs have had the desired effect. Except for the boy racers who think they are exempt. Last week, one was recorded and arrested for 80 km speed, down a 30 km residential street.

Respect for the worker has been on the minds of many in Soller this week as some have learnt about EURES. This is a European cooperation network of employment services which encompasses all EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. They have thousands of jobs on offer and many employers love the Balearic service sector workers. Medical staff, especially nurses are in high demand as are all careers in the hospitality industry. The salaries offered are almost three times what they earn in Mallorca plus many countries offer accommodation too. There is a labour shortage in Europe and much to tempt the young of Spain who still come up against the local 1000 euro per month salary ceiling.

Such a lot of talking going on in families, who can see the point, but don’t want their young people to leave. This subject has been discussed in their families for generations as so many were the economic migrants of the past. They don’t want history to repeat itself. The young, who have already gone, send back glowing reports of their quality of life, and money in the bank.

I trawled the ERES information and learned of so many interesting companies in great locations looking for staff. The UK is of course not on the list as they are no longer part of Europe. Freedom of movement in Europe still means so much to the young of every country, especially now their working skills are in high demand. Exciting for a generation, but worrying for the government trying to build the skill set and workers for the future of the Balearic Islands.