The Soller Valley traditions have all taken place now for the arrival of the Three Kings and their presents. One day off to play with them and then it's all change. The children are back in school and the airport runs have begun in earnest taking visitors and returning students to catch their flights. All of a sudden the world seems empty and quiet. Today starts the three week shut down of the Soller Tram. This joins the train in snuggling into the train shed while all the lines are checked and repaired.
In Soller square more cafes than normal are closed. Café Soller frightened us before Christmas with a kitchen fire. The repairs begin today with reopening set for three weeks’ time. We have so missed this place situated as it is in the sun and on the edge of the Lluna. The finest people watching spot in the whole town.
We all get busy now as life returns to normal for a couple of weeks. Then comes the bonfire, barbecue and demons season and our party vibe begins again. Only two weeks before this and the San Sebastian fiestas in Palma. A bit of serious work for a few days is what most people are concentrating on. The early 2020 house buyers are in town ready to do their deals this week. These are the ones that hope to get their renovations done in time for them to have at least a bit of summer enjoyment come September. Sometimes it seems as though the whole of Soller is being renovated in the winter. A summer moratorium on building certainly concentrates the winter mind-set.
Brexit and the end of month deadline is a talking point here at present. This became a bit louder when the British Consular Agent announced her intention to speak to us here in Soller about the future. The date set is Tuesday 14 January 2020 at 11 am in the Escolapies Cultural Centre. So, will she have anything new to tell us on that date? That is the question of the day.
The forest fires of Australia continue to terrify us and we are in sympathy with all in that country. We had a minute taste in the Puerto Soller last week, when a farmer clearing scrub, set light to the woods behind the Torre Picada. Fire engines and helicopters were soon on the scene and worked into the blackness of the mountain night. All sorted very quickly but we will never look at a fire in the same way again after the experiences on the other side of the world.
The story of the week concerns those who are trying to find their unique selling point. The Lluna, which is Soller’s main shopping street is changing. There are now nine establishments selling coffee, snacks and a full menu in some cases. These are interspersed between local foodstores, fashion and tourist shops. There has always been a big debate about the possibility of success of these ventures. Their competition are the cafes around the fantastic Soller Square. One of the local owners in the square told me at the weekend that the Lluna cafes are having an impact on his trade. He is one that can remember the days – around 10 years ago - when the train ran through the winter. Nowadays local cafes have had to make themselves far more resident focused in the winter to survive the weeks of no train visitors. Residents became their USP and heating their cafes professionally for winter was some of the work that happened then. Now the USP is around concept stores. A cafe exists within a clothes shop selling ice cream on the side. The fastest possible internet in another encourages the browsers to sit awhile.
In another world here Elena Davis ran an English Library, every day in Bar Turismo. This became the meeting point for English speakers new to the area. This has now become the focus of new café owners in the Lluna.
To provide this sort of facility amongst coffee and lunch is considered a possibility. Many comments received on Sollerweb in 2019 indicate that this is something newcomers would really like. So many come here to work in isolation on computers. The fact that there is an English speaking friendly hub would be of great benefit to them.
In the Soller Valley we welcome many new residents every year. We look forward to meeting them and enjoying their contribution to our world. Good luck to all who join us in 2020.