There are two guys with us here on this stand facing the beach. I say beach but don’t picture miles and miles of sand being washed over by soothing waves. It’s not like that. It’s a small strip of sand in the middle of Tallinn. But it’s nice. The two guys, they’re nice too. One of them wears a red shirt with a blue and red logo on the chest and a big smile on his face. The other is decidedly less happy, wearing a white cap with a blue and gold logo. They seem to have fun together though.
Tallinn is a nice city. It has a wonderful old center with streets filled with historically rich buildings and there’s this old washed out industrial complex, now turned into a hip neighborhood that would make Berlin’s hottest quarters proud. Actually, the only thing that’s not nice in Tallinn, is its inhabitants. Now, don’t get me wrong. These people, they’re nice to us. Friendly, well-spoken in English. They’re just not very nice to the country they live in, the town they call home or even themselves.
A good example is the Free Walking Tour we took. We love Free Walking Tours, obviously, because I was a guide on one of those back home. Though, this one was a little different. We went there with great expectations, happy about being here and expectant about what was to come. When we left, early I might add, an hour later, we weren’t happy anymore. The Free Walking Tour left us negative, about Tallinn and the Estonians. That’s because Estonians can be very self-deprecating, bringing themselves down about everything. And this guide was a pro.
Yet, we don’t see any of this during our time here. We see a lovely, vibrant city with great people. And all the people we meet are friendly and kind.
And that’s what we see tonight, while we’re barbecuing on this small strip of sand with a group of people. We meet the two guys I mentioned here. One is a fan of Atletico Madrid, the other a Real fan. And even though one just won the Supercup and the other lost, this city puts them in a good mood, as everyone here is. We sit there as the Atletico supporter wonders aloud: “I sit here, a Real fan to my side, having sausages with Americans, Turks and some Dutch people. What a wonderful city.”
Indeed it is, my friend. Indeed it is.