The torrential rains of the week have seen us all a bit damp. The Soller Valley avoided the weather horrors of the East of the Island. We just had unrelenting rain which seeped into the wood around the window frames and made our houses in need of drying out. Landslips on mountain roads are common in rain and so delays and giving up on journeys has been commonplace. The visitors arriving this week are viewing the rain soaked streets and few bars and restaurants open with horror. Fortunately, the newbies in our restaurant world have been delighted to welcome all looking for food and welcoming smiles. For some there has been a real advantage to being one of the few places open in January.
The ‘Blessing of the Animals’ fiesta was cancelled and instead happened last Sunday. Animals and the Soller horse races for ribbons is a very odd feature of our world. It’s always great to have a Soller gathering especially after the hibernation of the wet days where everyone vanished off the streets. The dried out visitors had something to see and celebrate with us.
The elections took place on Saturday evening. The Valentes Dones are the Valiant women of our world. They played a very important part in the Soller invasion of 1561. They were credited with turning back the tide of history and have been revered ever since. Every year the elections take place for the two girls who carry the honour for a year. The election event causes a gathering, in costume, of many of the figures of the Moors and Christians battle. Together with local music and barbecue the event is a huge local tradition. This ends January in the Soller Valley world. The elections over, the focus turns to the preparations for Carnival.
The Soller Valley is a well oiled machine for making sure traditions and celebrations are brought to life every year. The work of so many Sollerics behind the scenes is acknowledged and appreciated by most. Some can be forgiven for thinking that events are tourist celebrations and funded by a tourism budget. This is simply not the case. These events would happen every month, tourists in town, or not. This is Soller Valley tradition linked to their history and the rhythms of the Catholic Church. All are welcome to join but it does not mean that Soller is a theme park.
The Soller isolation ends on February 2, 2020 when the Soller train starts its 2020 season. The tram lines have also received a makeover and both our ancient transport services are ready to roll. This delights locals who still believe that this is their transport link plus those who are visitors. Lots of debates and discussions to come on the future as the Ferrocarril are under pressure regarding a full timetable for residents.
They all want earlier and later services on trains, trams and buses. Sollerics would be very happy not to drive into Palma if there were realistic timetables to bring them back.
As far as our visitors are concerned the fact that the train comes back in time for the glory of the Almond blossom flowering is just marvellous. So many visitors from all over the island make this journey at this time of year. The blossom has its own story it Majorcan legend. It is said that a Scandinavian princess who married a Majorcan rich man wanted something to remind her of the winter snow fields of her country. To open her window and see snow in Majorca was her desire. Snow was a hard ask so he arranged for plantations of almonds who gave their blossom in January. This was to please his love and the reason there are so many thousands of almond trees giving their blossom at this time of year. So the almond tree is associated with the power of love and to lift our spirits.
On Thursday January 20, 2020 Soller celebrates along with all schools The School Day of Non Violence and Peace. (DENIP). This is observed on January 30, the anniversary of the death of Mahatma Gandhi. Soller square will be filled in the morning with children from all the Soller Valley schools. This event will take place all over Majorca and all are welcome to join in and take time out to consider the power of the message.