In my frequent train journeys around the island, I never experienced this. | LLUC GARCIA


Last week’s article struck a chord as I talked of the ‘commuter’ element of Soller these days. I have had messages from people in Santa Maria, Sineu, Manacor and Inca saying I was telling their story. The southeast corner of Mallorca always has had commuters into Palma for work. For the rest of the island this was made possible by improved train and bus services. This has been added to by the ‘second homeowners’ finding the coastal property too expensive turning their thoughts and bank balances inland.

At a local Thanksgiving dinner over the weekend, I talked to a Mallorcan friend living in Sineu for the past 17 years. From being one of the few who travelled on the early train into Palma, he is now one of hundreds. He says that the crowded trains are just awful at that time of the morning. The trains have not increased in frequency since the upsurge of users which often makes the journey unpleasant.

In my frequent train journeys around the island, I never experienced this. From 11am onwards the trains are a dream. The only real crush I have experienced has been on the train to Inca for Dijous Bo.

So, these are the facts coming in from all sides. We can observe this for ourselves as we look at the local stats as they are printed at the end of the year. If you were an actuary considering the financial benefits and risks of all this, you might come up with one view. If you are resistant to change and want to keep one foot in the past, you would come up with another. If you are looking for the ‘middle ground’ then work needs to be done quickly. The emergence of ‘them and us’ can arise out of nowhere if it’s left to simmer.

Fornalutx is ahead of the curve in so many ways. A very forward-looking Village with a cultural mix. To celebrate this, they often have International Food nights in the Plaça. Local people bring out their own home dishes and sell them as supper in the square. So many tastes from around the world are represented there. The next Gastronomic Food Fair of Fornalutx is on December 15 from 7pm to 9pm.

Planning permission for intended works is the current debate in Soller. The Town Hall has taken the unusual step of apologising for the delay in decision making. It is not unusual for this to take up to two years. Staff and politics are the reasons given, which doesn’t work for those who are trying to progress personal and business projects. The amount of money from all these permissions which end up, in advance, in the council coffers is huge. Those in the queue are considering their options and taking advice. Maybe staff need to be drafted in from Palma…

When you read this, it will already be December and 2023 comes to its great finale. What a year to review, as Mallorca got hotter and busier than ever. In the meantime, we are loving our current world which is sometimes eerily empty. Walking into town some evenings we see no cars on the main road and hardly anyone around the streets. In the centre a few bars remain open, and the shops have their lights on. This is all set to change now that December has dawned. Some hospitality venues closed for most of November to have a rest before the ‘Christmas season’ begins. Soon we will have piped music and many friends arriving for the end of year celebrations. The silence of November will be replaced by the bonhomie of December. The Soller Train runs for another week before retiring to the sheds for a makeover couple of months.

Soller life is comfortably predictable, and we know that Soller without its regular train service takes on a different feel. Day trippers still arrive by car and bus but not in the same numbers as the train brings. The Soller world retracts and becomes more local and temporarily insular. The politicians are called to account in these months as people have time to think about the local issues of importance, and how to resolve them.