All at sea in Puerto Soller. | Rachel Fox

0

This is what we were waiting for, the days when ‘normal’ returned to the Soller Valley. This turned out to be more than normal and absolutely overflowing and crowded with all who had missed our Valley. Second home owners, returning Soller families, trippers from other parts of the island, were all here. Traffic jams, every day, from the port to the entrance to the Soller Tunnel as local visitors all went home. The atmosphere was joyful and only marred by the return of local pickpockets who were also glad to back amongst the crowds.

So what did our returning visitors find here during the Easter season? A mixed bag of weather for sure with a glorious Easter weekend deteriorating into a chilly rainy spell. A beach which was being topped up with sand on their visit and no deckchairs to be seen. The sea was used by many families and we all watched in wonder as they jumped in with not a wet suit amongst them. Our German and English friends are very hardy people.
The restaurants went into a ‘bookings only’ zone for a few days to cope with all the people they had to turn away. Suffice it to say that is no longer the case, now we are back to plenty of restaurant space for everyone. New restaurants in our world had their first taste of ‘busy’ and some just didn’t have enough staff to cope. Soller is the same as everywhere else on the island with many hospitality vacancies.

Hotel occupancy was high, I am reluctant to say what the percentage was. A war of words has developed on this one with one side saying that the Soller Valley hotels were 100% full. Others came back with a more realistic 89%. Immediately the Easter weekend was over some hotels started pushing special offers and price reductions. We are all aware that the downturn happens now until the next Bank Holiday weekend of May 1.

In religious circles the full scale Good Friday production in St Bartholomew’s Church is occupying the chatter. The Rector has been in Soller for a couple of years now and has not been able to use his media and publicity skills because Covid did not give him an audience. He made up for it this year and the Church has never been so packed for an Easter service. With strobe lighting, colour and magnificent music it was a sight to behold.

Dining in the Easter sunshineDining in the Easter sunshine. Photo: Rachel Fox

Soller is now finishing up the jobs it said it would do before Firo 2022. The Calatraves Park has new railings all around it to protect children from running into the road. The people are grateful but still question why this work has been outstanding for the past 10 years. A new Dog Park has been opened near the Lapanto car park. This is an exercise route for dogs with things to jump over and walk across. I didn’t see any weights or dog’s gym equipment but I am sure it’s just waiting to be unveiled.

During Easter the new bus stop on the Desviament road was unveiled and put into use. Catch the bus there for the Deya and Valldemossa without going down to the Cetre bus stop.

The summer bus route from the Puerto Soller to Alcudia, via Lluc is up and running now. Four services a day, every day, was all ready to roll on Easter Saturday.

So Easter is considered a great success here in the Golden Valley. The staff are all a little shell shocked at just how much hard work it all was. They are very grateful to be busy but this was like going from 0 to 100 kms per hour with no gradual build up. The time for reflection is now upon on businesses to work out their strengths and weaknesses in preparation for the May Bank Holiday weekend. This will be immediately followed by the two week influx around the Soller Fira and Firo. This is their golden opportunity to use everything they have learned and make it all work for everyone, customers and staff alike. Staffing is an issue but good training and reasonable expectations is as important.

We enjoyed the whole Easter experience and are ready for the season after this lesson in ‘Tourism 2022’ style.