Raixa is a manor house of Arba origin. | Shirley Roberts

Raixa is fifteen minutes from Soller in the car. The newly created roundabout created a bus stop at the same time. This means, for the first time since it has been opened, Raixa can be accessed by bus from Soller, or, in the other direction, from Palma. One straight walk along the currently awful access road will take you to the house and magnificent grounds. I think the access road has been prepared for the tarmac which will one day make it beautiful. At present it isn’t easy to walk or drive this path. Take it all very carefully.

Raixa has history and has been used as a film set. The house, chapel and grounds are glorious. Inside is a set or rooms which are used for educational and exhibition purposes. Little remains of the inside of the house as it used to be. Raixa is a manor house of Arab origin, an old Islamic farmhouse. It is located 12km from Palma next to the Sierra de Tramuntana and located in the municipality of Bunyola.
Raixa is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm for an exploration of the house and gardens. Free entry to all.

The reason I made one of my frequent visits to the house was to see the new exhibition showing peasant women in the 60s tourist Mallorca. This runs until April 16, 2023.

The exhibition ‘Dones fent paisatge’ reflects on the role of peasant women compared to the idyllic image of tourist promotions of Mallorca in the 1960s.

This is the result of journalist Empar Bosch’s research residency at Casa Planas. She compiled a hundred photographs from the 1960s, interviewed twelve women who lived in the Serra de Tramuntana and analysed their role in caring for the territory. This work was for the book “Dones fent paisatge” (“Women making landscape”), published by the Serra de Tramuntana Consortium and Casa Planas. The Raixa exhibition gives a glimpse of this work which comes from her photographic archive of more than 3 million images.

The work of women in the Mallorcan countryside is little documented. This is why the collection of oral testimonies of the women who still keep their experience in their memories is so valuable. They had to combine hard physical agricultural work with domestic chores and supplemented this with handicraft activities in order to earn an extra income. It is the use of the ‘artificial image’ of the peasant woman as a tourist attraction which is on display here.

An unusual concept to ponder on and wonder what the women of the time thought. So many of them left the Soller Valley for tourism related work. Many had left in generations before to sell fruit and vegetables in Solleric shops in France. Others ventured further afield as they married the economic migrants of the time.

I found the pictures sad, haunting and beautiful. I would have liked to have seen so many more, it was just a taste of this interesting subject. The Raixa wander awaited me after a touch of culture. A beautiful day for an outing to appreciate the blossom and the beauty of this little oasis on our doorstep.