Portillo in Puerto Soller.


Nearly two million people switched over to BBC2 on Friday night to watch Michael Portillo bring his latest series of Great Continental Railway Journeys to an end in Puerto Soller.

This summer, Portillo and a TV crew came to Majorca to film the Balearic stage of his attempt to trace the early 20th-century roots of the Spanish Civil War, which divided his family and sent his father into exile. The former politician discovered a nation fractured at the time by social tensions and regional loyalties, which today offer a rich diversity of cultures to delight the tourist. And after arriving in Majorca from Barcelona, Michael spoil himself enjoying spectacular scenic views aboard the 1912 vintage railway to Soller and the 1913 tram down to the port where he proclaimed that there is so much more to Majorca than just sun and sea and recommended that people come to the island to enjoy the Soller train experience.

He also travelled down to Manacor, as Bradshaw had done in his days, to the capital of pearls and had a go at making a pearl necklace at one of the pearl factories. He also got trampled underfoot at the bottom of a Catalan ‘people steeple’ and learned to make the perfect paella. But the highlight, was clearly the Soller train and tram.


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Sean Dobson / Hace over 4 years

I watched this programme and all the other programmes in this and previous series of Great Continental Railway Journeys and Great Railway Journeys and Portillo is the Alan Whicker of railway travel,being very enthusiastic and presenting facts in an entertaining way and being very willing to join in. The programme on Majorca was fantastic free publicity for Majorca and a little bit of colour and sunshine in a cold,wind-swept UK.