Sunday 1 May 2011

The Chest in the Attic

The city of Tallinn is guarded by a big cruise ship and ferry terminal, the amount of ships moving in and out is impressive, Tallink, Viking Lines, St. Peter Line - they are bringing and taking many thousands of people a day. FRAM is only a small ship with only very few passengers, compared to this. After our guests have started their excursions, we receive some 100 port guests from the Hurtigruten Tallinn office, who eagerly get an update on the latest destination info, that Karin and the staff have to offer, first hand pictures and impressions. Meanwhile, the ship traffic outside goes on, incessably. And this is only the beginning of the season. Not all of the many many people travelling via Tallinn will have the time to explore the old town, using the place just as the Baltic hub it presently is. 
And here is the dilemma: Everybody who does not go for the sights of Tallinn misses a lot, makes a clear mistake. Then again, we can be grateful that not the full load of people shoves through the narrow gates and cobblestone alleys. Of course there are folks in the streets but somehow you never have the impression of being beyond the critical mass(es). 
So you can engage in the place, let yourself flow back in time, marvel at the thick old walls and studded doors from the medieval age or take in the well-preserved beauty of the Hanse League era houses (when the city still was named Reval), still here in all their detail. And suddenly you get the feel. The feel. The outside world with its tall buildings and shiny facades is - well, outside. 
In here is the mystic atmosphere that overcomes you when you find an old wooden chest in the attic and open it for the first time. And it is not empty. The sound of flutes and song is carried through the streets and in the squares. the bells tolling the time start to be the only clock you want, the thick meat soup in the tavern the only meal you desire. Yep, here you are, captured by the atmosphere.
And all of a sudden - much too early - time's up. We are short visitors only, but we had our sneak peak backwards. And this is a warm, good memory. An old one.