Dear Sir,

There is a great deal of confusion for tourists who wish to spend a walking holiday on the island, and there is no doubt that rights of way, and the attitude of landowners, change frequently. You did supply a telephone number for the Consel Insular de Majorca, but when you arrive for a week or fortnight's break, the last thing you are going to do is to pick up a telephone and try to explain the walk you hope to achieve. What is missing is a detailed OFFICIAL publication of walks, from the easy to the difficult, with proper large-scale maps and a good explanation of start and finish points. The tourist leaflets which do exist are inadequate. Books of walks for sale have no legal status. Many times we have wandered round helplessly trying to find the start of a path, or have been turned back by angry landowners when we are sure we were on the correct track. No official footpath signs are erected. For visitors from other countries where clearly indicated uninterrupted use of footpaths is a birthright, the situation on Majorca is a mess. If Mr Antich and his government were truly concerned about tourism, they would spend their energies sorting out such problems rather than trying to collect a Tourist Tax; in any case, I have no optimism that such money will be used for proper enviromental development. And think of this, Mr Antich - we would willingly pay our Euros to get our hands on a decent official walking guide to the island!

Yours faithfully,

Steve Riches, Northampton, U.K. (by e-mail)

Who's in charge?
Dear Sir,

Having returned from a sojourn in other parts of Europe I find the same old problems concerning the Tourist Tax - putting aside whether one agrees or not - I find statements by tour operators saying that they are not interested in any deals with local government and that they do not intend to collect the tax totally obnoxious. Who runs this island? The elected government or the tour operators? If its the latter then God help us - they have collectively brought everything down to the lowest possible level already, the current administration may not be to everybody's taste but they are elected by the people. If the Tourist Tax becomes law then it has to be abided by unless of course we are advocating that any tax we do not agree with we don't pay!! Yours

Alan Morris, Calvià. (by e-mail)

Well worth the money to keep the island beautiful
Dear Sir,

We have just got connected to the internet this week so I was chuffed to find your Bulletin pages. I buy your paper daily during our holidays on the island. My family and I absolutely love Majorca, in particular the Calvia area, we visit twice every year. We love it so much that we are now saving hard to emigrate to the island. Hopefully by this time next year we shall be residents there. Regarding the tourist tax, I believe if you use the facilities you should be prepared to pay for them, people would soon be moaning if the streets were left littered with rubbish or there was no hot clean water in their hotels. It is well worth the few pounds added to your holiday to keep this island beautiful. Keep up the good work on the website.

Bev Chapman, Doncaster (by e-mail).

Beware of gypsy flower sellers in Palma
Dear Sir,

We have just returned from a week of mixed weather in Majorca. Bad weather is not always bad news, for instance on Wednesday we fought our way up through the rain and hill fog to Deya.The clouds lifted a little, the town was virtually deserted, no parking difficulties and we had the town to ourselves. The rushing stream and waterfalls at the town entrance were particularly impressive. As always we went to pay our respects at Robert Graves grave and Ca n'Alluny his house. But on a brighter day earlier we had visited Palma. Sitting in the water gardens beneath the Cathedral and Royal Palace we were interested to watch the activities of a gypsy gang in the gardens. We know these nuisances of old so were able to wave them away when approached. Others were caught off their guard, so a warning to all visitors.. beware. If you accept a flower several loud and confusing things will suddenly happen at once to confuse and disorientate the visitor. The lady will suddenly very loudly and startlingly demand money and then shout not enough and demand a note. Another lady will start to twirl and dance around the victim. I was amazed how many visitors actually got out their wallet at this point, whereupon the first lady tries to grab it. The second is still dancing about and the poor sap with wallet out is trying to keep the first lady out of it whilst wondering what on earth the second one is doing. At this point he usually puts the wallet back in a pocket and retires rather confused what all the noise and shouting was about. It is a mad few seconds and then appears to be over, the gypsies suddenly disappear and the poor sucker is left holding a tatty flower and glad to still be in possession of his wallet. But here is where things get serious. We noted that after such encounters one of the gang quickly crossed the road to a public phone box and held a quick conversation. I have no doubt that having had a good look in the wallet and even noting what pocket is was put back into, usually just casually into a back pocket, they were alerting another accomplice via that modern blessing, the mobile phone,further down with a description, ready to relieve the victim of his wallet altogether once he had relaxed. It is a pity that such nuisances are permitted in one of the showpiece areas of the capital. It is an even greater pity that throughout the half hour we sat and watched this going on a municipal policeman sat in a patrol car by the pedestrian crossing, doing nothing and never once so much as got out to see what was happening not 50 metres from him. Visitors, enjoy Palma, a wonderful city but be alert and on your guard. Also look out for pickpockets on the buses, beware of pairs of men with a coat folded over one arm but that's another story!! Want to hear that one?

Christopher John, (by e-amil).

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