For someone with a wild imagination like myself, it is incredibly easy to travel in space and in time, without leaving the chair I’m sitting on right now. Give me a book, a playlist. And if the book is right, the tracks on point, I will see the walls of the room disappearing, the floor changing, to be replaced with something else entirely. The air will be purged with different scents, the weather may change. Even my clothes. Anyone around me will be able to see me, but I won’t see or hear them. I’m in a different land. In a different time. Like my mum likes to say, I’m inside of the book. And honestly, there is no better description for this phenomena that I’m sure that I’m far from being the only one to experience. Or, at least, I hope so.
But this same phenomena also happens when I travel. My preferred destinations have always been places full of culture and history. With its own identity. I will easily trade a luxury hotel with a small room with creaking wooden floors in the centre of the Old Town. I don’t want to just be in a new place. I want to find my way through the intricacies of its History. And, when I’m alone, and focused enough, I can experience those cobblestone streets as they probably were all those years ago. And Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is a place that makes it so easy.
I can hear the whining of the horses, the loud taping of the horseshoes. The woman walking in their ragged, muddy dresses, carrying the laundry at the top of their heads. The kids of the wrong side of town, filthy and barefoot running around after stealing a loaf of bread. Or the little one in the corner selling the newspaper. And the group of loud drunken men, with their swollen beer belly, leaning on the walls of the tavern at night. It is a mix of smells. And not necessarily pleasing. Potentially the smell of horses and horse crap. The smell of sewage. But wait, there is also the scent of just baked bread. We follow it to the cleaner part of town. There are small boutiques where the ladies who have married wealthy merchants choose the silks for the next ball in the manor of the count.
Just look at these plaques. It’s like they’ve been there for centuries.
All of this, and much more, stories, characters, even magic, comes to me. I will try to find the facts of the town, of the country. I will go to the museums, preferably Art Galleries. Because Art is such a good way of understanding beyond hard facts – the sentiment, the feelings of the times.
And I’ve been rambling for too long. Confinement is making my imagination run wild this year, recovering from the shock that 2020 was. The fact that I’ve had the courage to start going through my old photos has ignited it. And now I’m once again travelling in space and in time inside my head. And it is a lovely way of surviving.
Fore more posts about Tallinn:
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