Queues at Palma airport to get a taxi. | PILAR PELLICER


There may be thousands of tourists pouring into Mallorca currently but listening to some of their travel tales of woe doesn’t make for comfortable reading. A couple got talking with me in a local Soller car park. It had taken them 48 hours to get to the island from the UK, what with cancelled flights, delays, problems with car hire et al. They told me that they were only staying a week and were dreading the flight home.

Meanwhile, other contacts arriving here reported queues as far as the eye could see at Palma airport. They suggested the local authorities provide ‘survival packs’ for families arriving from bulging incoming flights with products to include water, wipes and sustenance such as nut packs. They thought this might help with problems of dehydration and the potential of travellers fainting while waiting.
None of these reports make me want to spend one moment away from my home. The idea of now getting on a plane to the UK or farther afield fills me with dread and I will hold off to do any travel until later in the year when hopefully the excitement has died down and more staff can be found to fill the void on flights.

A week ago I ventured for 36 wonderful fun-filled hours to Madrid and came back with a virus which is only just waning. The only good thing about it is that it stopped me eating and so my chocolate fetish has been put well and truly on hold. In fact, it could be sold as the perfect summer diet although in fairness I was miffed to have succumbed having not had as much as a sniffle in three and a half years. I suppose my run of good luck had to come to an end at some stage and it could have been so much worse!

The authorities in Mallorca have been made aware of the colossal queues and mayhem and are now deploying more staff at passport control. Lets’ hope it’s all smooth running by the time we hit the peak of the holiday season.

RUTAS CULTURALES - Veinte pueblos de la Serra están incluidos en un ambicioso proyecto divulgativo.

Live and let live?

Locals in the seaside resort of Whitby have voted with their feet when it comes to holiday lets. As the pretty resort has seen an explosion in holiday rentals with second home owners taking over the town, they have voted to ban all but fulltime residents from buying new builds, and to charge holiday let owners double the council tax. This is the first round of voting but it is obvious that enraged locals want their town back and to be able to afford to buy homes at non exorbitant prices.

Here in Mallorca the same thing is happening. There has been a suggestion, backed by one of the local political parties, to restrict the purchase of properties by foreign buyers unless they can prove residency for two years. The problem currently is that there has been an invasion of foreign investors buying up old properties for low prices, tarting them up and selling them on for a phenomenal amount. This immediately means that properties are out of the reach of locals many of whom have modest salaries. Aside from investors, there are many foreigners snapping up fincas which they will mostly likely use for only a few months per year. In Soller this has been a major issue and most political parties are agreed that action is needed. At one time, foreigners purchasing unwanted ruins and restoring them was welcome and the local economy benefitted but it seems to have got out of hand. If one considers the mountain village of Deya, basically now Chelsea-on-Sea, you’ll be hard pressed to find a local in anything other than a service role to wealthy foreign second home owners or hanging on to their rental properties for dear life. Some locals still own properties in the village but many of their offspring can now no longer afford to live there, the place of their birth. It’s a very sad state of affairs and such a turn of events will inevitably change the feel and character of a village. Twenty odd years ago, Deya was bristling with musicians, artists, eccentrics and fun hippies.

You could hang out in a cheap bar with friends and enjoy delicious cheap tapas and wine and stimulating conversation from those around you. Now, with one or two worthy exceptions, you’ll need to re-mortgage your home to dine out regularly in Deya. The musicians, hippies and artists have all but vanished, some long gone, others having upped sticks to cheaper zones on the island. Although big real estate and developers may have ripped apart the heart of Deya the saving grace is the surrounding natural beauty. Whether you’re a toothless beggar or as rich as Croesus, the breath-taking views are still free of charge for now.


Dreaming of rain

Every time summer comes, I find myself dreaming of rain. I’m not a sun lizard and much as I like great weather, soaring temperatures don’t float my boat. I suppose if I were lying in a pool, languishing on a beach or shady terrace with a book and cocktail, it might not be so bad but sitting at the desk on numerous work deadlines, is pretty challenging. I comfort myself that the next two busy months will whizz by and soon September will be here with milder sunshine, fewer people and even the odd delectable breeze.