So number 3 son is having a great time on Majorca and sends an email to his father posing this quuestion, "Do you know about the Sóller tram train. I found it fascinating. Sadly"
fbb knew nothing about the Sóller tram train; nothing about Sóller and very little about Majorca apart from its reputation as a holiday resort.
At first glance, fascination is a little subdued.
But we rush ahead of ourselves. Where is Sóller?
Sóller (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈsoʎə]) is a town and municipality near the north west coast of Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands of Spain. The town is some 3km inland, from the Port de Sóller, in a large, bowl-shaped valley that also includes the village of Fornalutx and the hamlets of Biniaraix and Binibassi. The combined population is around 14,000. Sóller has been inhabited by humans since Talayotic times (from 5200 BC), and remains from this era include bronze statues (two of which can be seen in the Museu de Mallorca). The location of Sóller deep in the Tramuntana mountains meant that the town was isolated from the rest of Mallorca and missed out on much of the Roman occupation.
During the 19th century, Sóller became a major exporter of olives and citrus fruits. The French Revolution had seen a great deal of French immigration to Sóller, and it was these migrants who utilised their links back in France to build trade relations. With trade came wealth and the creation of impressive manor houses and public buildings, giving Sóller an air of grandeur rarely seen in other Mallorcan towns.
Much more impressive than that iron archway and just a few yards from the "fascinating" entrance is an equally fascinating subway.
So far, inspired by No 3 son, we now have the choice of a train from an obscure little station; or two bus services from deep in the bowels of Palma de Mallorca. It is slowly becoming much more fascinating.
As we shall see tomorrow.