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The Soller Train: a journey back in time... (Majorca)

On present day Majorca there still exists testimony to what the island was like two centuries ago: The Soller Railway. The train takes the passengers a thrilling trip back to the 19th Century, thanks to the trains appearance and characteristics being almost identical to what they used to be.

A brushstroke of history...

The Soller Railway was opened in 1912, giving the inhabitants of Soller a new way to leave the valley, mush faster and more comfortable than before. In those they were only able to leave by sea or on carriages that travelled along a narrow never-ending winding lane taking over four hours...

Story of a trip

Along its route, the Soller Train crosses the most beautiful and characteristic scenery and flatlands of the island, never-ending fields of almond trees, eye-catching examples of carob and olive trees, as well as other local produce of the land.

The first part of the journey is practically straight, as we go inland towards the first mountains, the line begins to twist and turn, and bridges and the first tunnels become habitual travel companions while the passengers can contemplate beautiful views of the Majorcan mountains and its typical constructions, like for instance, "ses marjades" or "construccions de paret seca" (dry stone wall constructions). These constructions, as can be seen in the photos, are stone walls which are used all over the island of Majorca. Their objective is to stop erosion and floods... caused by the rocky landscape, thus allowing hill farming (marjades).

The final part of the trip, the last 10 kilometers, the train occasionally seems to just hang from the cliffs. There are alternate areas of light and darkness and the train goes through the longest tunnel (2856 metres long) which was dug out in less than 3 years.

On arriving in Soller, right next to the station exit, is the first stop for the Tram that goes to the Port. Travelers can, this way, continue their journey back in time due to the fact that the tram is also conserved as it used to be. There are a total of eighteen stops along the trams route, the first two are to be found still in the town of Soller, the following ones are located between the township and the port and the last ones are dotted along the coast before the trams arrival at the quay itself.

And when we get off the train...

Before going towards the port, Soller itself should be visited. It is not just a town where the train goes, by chance, Soller is a beautiful town that lies in a grand bowl shaped fertile valley.

In Soller you can go for a stroll around the village and enjoy the architecture of houses that date back to the 14th century, or even earlier, as well as a large number of modernist buildings that together make up a beautiful route. The "Sant Bartomeu" church, located in "Plaa de la Constituci", along with the bank next door, "Can Prunera" in "Sa Lluna" street, as well as most of the houses on "Gran Via" street all stand out. The Botanical gardens which house plants endemic to the island of Majorca can also be visited as can the "Fet a Sller - Sa Fbrica de Gelats" ice-cream parlour, which the tram passes by.

And going back to the tram, once we have reached the last stop, we find ourselves in front of the "Sa Posada de lArtes" where the stagecoaches once left from for Palma and which maintains its beginning of the century appearance. When the traveler has descended from the Tram, he can enjoy the views over the beaches, the swimmers and the fishing boats.

Practical information:
Sller Train.

Telephone and addresses of the stations:
In Sller, Plaa dEspaya, 6. Tel.: 971 63 03 01
In Palma: Plaa dEspanya, 2. Tel.: 971 75 20 51 or 971 75 20 28

Fotos:
Judith Rivero - Flickr



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