During the last five months, I have been buying flights to different places like Billund, Stockholm, Malmo, or Gothenburg.
I didn’t take any of those flights, and I didn’t plan on doing it when I bought them. So why did I buy them?
Well, Tallinn’s airport is one of the best airports I’ve ever been to. It’s small and cozy but full of interesting areas, a VR room, ping pong tables, and … yes, a beautiful Estonia piano.
Now, this piano is something special. It has a stuck key (D#3), but it is kept nicely in tune, and the sound and velocity are just amazing. It is a pleasure to play it. Every time I’ve been to Tallinn’s airport, I’ve spent as much time as possible playing it before onboarding.
Ticket to nowhere
Since September 2021, I have contacted countless music schools and piano halls here, asking for a piano to play (kind of a piano lesson minus the teacher). Most of them won’t even bother answering and those who did gave me prices starting from 100€/h, and that was kind of excessive for just playing the piano for a while.
So I thought… I have this beautiful piano at the airport that’s free to play. All I need to do is go to the gate area… How do I do that? Easy, with a flight ticket!
So I started to look for flights from Tallinn, the cheapest ones. I found out there were really cheap flights, as low as 5€. So I bought my first flight to Billund for just 5€. I went to the airport two hours earlier, got past security, and got straight to the piano. Then I had almost two blistering hours of pure joy playing that beautiful machine. Then I left. I was scared at the beginning, thinking that they could stop me on my way out and ask me why I didn’t get on the plane. But they didn’t. My plan worked.
Five euros for that was much less than I would be charged for an hour at any music school or concert hall, so I kept on repeating that every time I felt like I needed a moment of peace. I got recorded by some guys for their Instagram or TikTok feeds, but I really didn’t care.
An unexpected gift
My visits to the airport went on regularly for months.
Recently, though, Miguel and some of my employees bought me a piano for our apartment in Estonia. Well, that may sound expensive, but it isn’t. There are a lot of people trying to get rid of old pianos here, so they got one (probably for 50 euros) and paid for the shipping costs (that was probably the most expensive part) and gave it to me for my birthday.
It was a beautiful moment. I got it tuned, and now I am able to play anytime I want without needing to sneak into the airport with the cheapest ticket available.
No, it’s not an Estonia piano, but it is a nice old lady with a lot of character, and I love playing it as often as I can.
If we leave Estonia, I will just donate it or give it away for free to somebody who wants it. And I kind of like that, it follows the minimalist and stoic ethea quite well. All things must pass.
A performance at the Toompea Church
And a couple of days ago my friends Petya and Dave visited us in Tallinn, and we had the chance of performing together at the amazing Toompea Church in Old Town Tallinn. We have a shared project (Motion and Sound) where we perform together, dance and music, completely improvised, usually for one hour. Every performance is unique and unrepeatable. Also, a very stoic (and Buddhist) concept I would say. The fact that you are seeing something that will never repeat again is what makes it so special.
We had an intimate, lovely performance. Toompea Kogudus is truly a special place, and they have the most amazing Estonia grand piano. Playing it was just a delightful experience, and I had a great time. Getting in touch with the staff at Toompea and renting the place took me a lot of effort (I spent months until I was able to get an initial email from them), but it was worth it.
So even while traveling the world, far from home, I have found ways of playing the piano. There’s always something you can do to keep on dreaming, to keep on breathing. Don’t give up, and do what you love, even if you have to get a ticket for a flight you’ll never take.