Peter the Great, Catherine I, and Toila Beach

Trip Start Jun 03, 2010
Trip End May 28, 2011

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Where I stayed
Toila Spa Hotell (Campground)

Flag of Estonia  , Ida-Virumaa,
Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 3

Our third day in Tallinn. Today we set off late after doing some business at the campground, and spent some time outside of town in Kadriorg Park. This is a large green park east of downtown featuring some important buildings of Peter the Great who ruled Russia in the very early 1700s. A very interesting character with practical interests and skills. As a young man he secretly traveled to other countries such as Britain, where he worked in shipyards and metal fabricating shops to learn the kind of trades that Russia needed. He loved Tallinn, and lived very simply in a cottage which we toured, while building his summer palace, Kadriorg Palace. Kadriorg is Russian for Catherine, and so the park and Palace was named for his wife, Catherine I. That story is even more interesting… she was the simple daughter of a Latvian farmer who was captured in battle. She worked as a slave in various royal establishments, and eventually was discovered by the Tsar, Peter. They fell in love, lived together secretly, had a couple of children, until he finally married her for real. She became "co-ruler", and their daughter, Elizabeth, became a Tsarina in her own right.

From the park we pedaled into Tallinn again for a last look at this most charming city.

July 4, 2010

We packed up and headed east toward Russia, stopping about 50km short of the border at a beautiful campground in Toila. Such a contrast to the parking lot in Tallinn, this place is on grass, with trees, and a trail (133 steps down) to a peaceful little beach on the Soome Laht, which is the big inlet leading off from the Baltic Sea toward St Peterburg.

The campground is attached to a hotel and spa, rather poshish by Estonian standards. We have walked around in there, but not likely going to do the spa thing… just not our taste.

Much more Russian spoken here, and signs are all bilingual. Campers are a mix of Finnish and German mostly.

We'll probably hang out here another day, as we can’t enter Russia til July 6.
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