Haapsalu first delighted visitors in 1825 when its first mud spa opened in 1825. News spread to Saint Petersburg and the Russian aristocracy soon brought their weary bodies to be restored in the healing sea mud.
Today the town still attracts high end Russian clientele who come for the 13th century castle, the beautiful (and well maintained) 18th century architecture along the promenade as well as, presumably, some mud healing.
I’m staying a few minutes walk away from all this near a large pond and a quiet beach. The weather is balmy. The air is filled throughout the day and long into the evening with the excited squeals of kids and teenagers as they jump, swim, splash, dunk and lounge. My heart swells with these warm happy sounds. I am glad for their delight, even though I am also envious of their youth. I want to tell them to savour this joy for they do not (can not) know that in the moment of this never-ending summer night of youth ‘there is life and food for future years.’ [Wordsworth]
The day’s end brings with it the most amazing light. Each night I am treated to a radiance of yellow and blue and purple and red. It is truly spectacular. One woman is literally open-jawed. Another stands facing west, hands on hips, cool water lapping at her ankles, swaying slightly, obviously content and serene. Another gets off her bike and sits on the wall to watch the show, taking long gulps from her water bottle as the sun slowly disappears below the horizon.