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An Introduction to Skating in Russia
Skating the Dikes of Kotlin Island

by Kathie Fry

Photos of Skating the Dikes of Russia

More of This Article
1. Introduction
2. Moscow
3. St. Petersburg
4. Pushkin
5. Peterhof
6. Novgorod
7. Kotlin Dikes
8. Sosnovy Bor
9. More Information
Photo Galleries
St. Petersburg
Kotlin Dikes
Sosnovy Bor
Video Clips
Me Skating in Moscow
My Fall in St. Petersburg

One of my favorite day trips from St. Petersburg is to skate from Kronstadt on the Island of Kotlin, back toward St. Petersburg on a series of dikes and bridges. Kotlin Island is the home of a naval fortress that was originally built to guard St. Petersburg against attacks from the sea.

You can access the island by car because it is connected to the mainland by bridges and narrow strips of land. The most pleasant way to travel there is by boat, but if that is not possible you can hire a taxi or use one of the public mini-van services. NOTE: If you ever visit Peterhof by boat, and you look across the water from the spot where you land, you can see the dikes and the town of Kronstadt off in the distance.

Usually our first stop after arriving in Kronstadt is to visit the naval museum housed in the former Kronstadt Maritime Cathedral. After the museum we visit a local shipyard to get a close-up look at some Russian warships and submarines. The road into the shipyard is almost not skateable and getting close to the ships usually requires a combination of skating, walking, and stepping over bad places in the road. You could always remove your skates, but that would not be nearly as much fun! After leaving the shipyard, we skate through the streets of Kronstadt, stopping in different places to view the shoreline and several military monuments.

Finally, with great excitement and anticipation, we arrive at the entrance to the dike road. The highway on top of the dikes is mostly fine for skating, although sometimes, as you approach or leave one of the dikes, you might encounter some gravel or a rough spot in the road. I am only an intermediate skater, and I have never found this to be a problem, but I would advise you to pay close attention to the skating surface when you are on this road. The route across the dikes is mostly a series of gentle uphills and downhills as you skate from dike to dike, with the area just before and after each dike being the steepest. We usually stop at the top of each dike to drink water, take photos, and regroup.

After we reach the mainland at the end of the dike road, we move off the main highway onto a quieter country road that runs through a beautiful pine forest. Usually we skate this road at a more relaxed pace, stopping frequently to take photos, talk to the locals, and view the dachas (country homes) which range from very simple to ultra-luxurious. We continue through the forest until we reach the resort area of Sestroresk, where we linger for a swim and a stroll on the beach. If you walk far enough up this beach there is a naturist area where you can swim and sunbathe in the nude!

After leaving the beach, we usually stop at a cafe for lunch, and skate to the nearest town to catch a train back to St. Petersburg. It is also possible to skate all the way back to the city if you are feeling especially energetic at this point.
Part 8 -->

More of This Article
Part 1: About Skating in Russia
Part 2: Skating the Streets of Moscow
Part 3: Skating St. Petersburg
Part 4: A Day of Skating in Pushkin
Part 5: Skaters Visiting a Palace at Peterhof
Part 6: Skating Novgorod Kremlin and River Trail
Part 7: Skating the Dikes of Kotlin Island
Part 8: Sosnovy Bor Biathlon Loop Trail

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