Toursts descend from Soller's train. | r.s.s.

November life throws up all the talk about change and the reality of it happening. In the port of Soller, three years have passed since first word on the proposed reinvention of the Citric hotel, on the Repic side of the bay. This is now reality and at least 40 workers are there daily, moving speedily on with the plans. It has already been announced that this new creation will be open for business in July 2024. So, what will its name be and who will it appeal to? Before the name Citric came to that building it was called the Brisas. Maybe it even had a name before that, I do not know. The location was always wonderful and even more so when this 1-star hotel had the opposite view of the bay, to the 5-star Jumeirah. A re naming and re branding is in the mix and everybody has a view.

The nearby Marbell hotel was given a fantastic make over and became the ‘Pure Salt Hotel’. The large groups move in and allocate the name of their brand to their acquisitions. The Citric, with its very local owners, have other hotels in Mallorca and so far, there is no group ‘name’. We will have to wait for the first announcement on this one.

Meanwhile back in Soller ‘acquisitions’ are the news of the week. The Town Hall is the recipient of yet another fine building with palatial grounds. This is being gifted by a local family who want the building to be a ‘Museum’. Many readers will know that Soller has three similar buildings in a similar situation today. They all need money spent on refurbishment and ongoing maintenance. This is out of a budget which many think should be concentrating on affordable housing for young, local people. The idea that another legacy arrives with massive financial commitments does not please everybody. The simplest answer would be to sell the old buildings and use the money wisely for the benefit of the Town. Sadly, the terms of the gift and legacies make this a very unlikely outcome.

The Neighbourhood Forums are well underway with politicians meeting locals in area meetings. The discussions and proposed resolutions are published for all to read in the local papers. The discussions are interesting and informative but little progress on most issues has happened since the same meetings last year. The difference between then and now is that we have had local elections and some of the politicians are new to their roles. Some of the ideas presented are futuristic and will need to pass through regional government hurdles. Many left the meetings doubting if much will have been achieved before the ‘same time next year’ meetings will happen.

The November weather still gives is our great outdoor lives. Little to no rain and the sun breaking through for some, of most days, means we can plan. A walk, a hike, a cycle, or a coffee in the square can all just happen as it suits us. Our friends in the UK are very envious. The surge in flights booked for November 2023 is bringing many more visitors than usual to the Soller Valley. The few hotels remaining open are doing a roaring trade.

The Soller Tram has changed to an hourly service this month and the Soller Train to four journeys a day. Many arrive this way but many more are on organised quick visits from cruise ships. They arrive, the coach parks on the main road and the people walk into town behind a guide with an umbrella. A little orientation chat in front of St Bartholomew’s Church and then it’s a walk down the Lluna to Can Prunera. Sometimes the people travel en-masse on the Tram to the port, where their bus picks them up. Total time of visit approximately 4 hours with little time to stop and savour or spend any money locally. Tourism of this kind is often discussed and criticised. However, there is no doubt some visitors who were introduced to the Soller Valley this way, return for longer visits and some even end up as homeowners here…