Day 12: Raudsilla – Mezotne Palace

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
Distance covered: 490km
Driving: 9am – 7pm
Weather: Sunny
Lowest temperature: -7C
Border crossing: Estonia – Latvia (no checkpoints)

The night was short, sleep was light, but with a sunny and cold morning, we quickly got back to life and into the car, with a first stop only one kilometre away at the “Gut Kolga” manor house. This used to be the biggest noble property in Estonia, for centuries in the hands of the Stenbock family, but now got sold to a new owner.

Within an hour, we reached Talinn, had breakfast and did a walk through this beautiful medieval town towards the concrete socialistic ruin of the Linnahall.

The next stop was the task of the day: to find the ruins of former soviet prison and labor camp at a quarry. It was a great adventure to climb the wall, wander through abandoned buildings and across the frozen lake with houses standing in the ice. In summer, this is now a hotspot for swimming, beach parties and diving and throughout the year a great motive for photographers and even became the set of the apocalyptic movie “Beautiful Day“.

The location in summer:

As most of the other teams, we drove south along the shore of the frozen baltic sea and crossed the border from Estonia to Latvia without any controls: Europe is great!

As every day, we started to look for the hotel for the night during the afternoon. We initially planned to stay in Riga, but found a hotel in a great looking manor house, a bit smaller but definitely in better shape than “Gut Kolga” in the morning.

Mezotne Palace was formerly used as the state guest house of Latvia and only recently was turned into a private hotel. As usual, we called the hotel some hours before we got there, to check if there was a restaurant. “Hello?  …. Ah, you are the guests! … You want eat? Next restaurant is 30 km away. I will call kitchen master!” After driving the last 20 km on a dirt road, we got – as the only guests – to this remote and beautiful place. The receptionist was wearing joggers and informed us about the menu options: “You want pork or chicken or fish?” We chose pork, were invited to the dining room in an hour and moved into our nice rooms (the windows with lights on the second floor).

For dinner, the joggers got changed into black trousers and a white shirt and we enjoyed the easy but good food, alone in the large dining room. The rest of the evening we spent upstairs and posted a last call for donations for our charity project: drilling a well in Uganda. By now, we were quite close to make our initially stretched goal of 7.000,- €. Thanks to our great friends, the final gap of 324,- € got not only closed within minutes, but even more money was donated. This clearly asked for some celebration with Champagne and Oasis music.

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