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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9

July 18, 2015

Day 4 - Rundale Palace

8th July, 2015

The beautiful gardens of the Rundale Palace were glistening in the sunlight as we continued our walk through the many hedge walkways. It was a humid 26 degrees celsius, as Mum, Dad, Harri and I read names of roses out like a composition of a song. And so this is how our Day Three in Latvia played out :)

To begin the day we all woke up to a cloudy morning :( The weather app on the Iphone got it wrong ... again. Mum had made us all poached eggs for breakfast with toast, so we all ate together after saying grace. Dad then talked with his mum and brother on Skype, while the rest of us quickly got changed to talk as well. The day was looking like it could be a great day, because the weather forecasts are rarely correct. Subsequently, I have actually found that it is better to look at the forecast to see what the weather will NOT be :) 

Today was going to be a driving day. I had already planned where we would be going, and so all we needed to do now was to draw a line on the map to help us get out of the busy city. Once that was done, we set out on our way in the car from Riga to Bauska, which is the closest town to the awesome-looking Rundale Palace. After I directed Dad through the round-about roads closest to Riga, it was such a nice change getting onto the main road heading to Bauska, because it was more relaxing driving on these roads than the roads we had been on previously. I guess this is because it is more of a country highway, which is not leading to any major city. 

As we continued our journey following the A2 main road the scenery opened up our eyes to a side of Latvia we had not seen before. Plains of fields filled with yellow and purple flowers, a miniature village, and every now-and-then we would see old farm houses that look like they would fall any moment. It is at times like this I wonder whether people live in these places, or not…

Route showing the main road from Riga to Bauska, and the number 1 I think is the Rundale Palace = Our destination. 

The yellow fields we passed along the way.

Arriving at Bauska in the car.

The little town of Bauska was such a lovely town. Very clean and crisp. We stopped off here for a toilet break, and to ask directions from the information centre.

The information centre in Bauska.

After recieveing the right information we needed from the info centre, we all then got into the car. As the day was basically 'my day' for giving directions, I guided Dad down the country roasd and over the bridge into the palace parking. 

Walking up to the Palace there were stables and houses selling various fruits and souvenirs. It was a lovely community-type atmosphere. As we walked over another bridge, we speculated on the extravagence of the gates to the Palace. Funnily enough, there weren't many tourists at all at the Palace. It is such an amazingly, magnificent looking Palace that I don't understand why there aren't more tourists. Shame really…

Walking up to Rundale Palace courtyard. The palace itself is shaped like a u, and on the outskirts are the gardens.

We had all felt that it was an excellent time to have our luch, being nearly 12:30. Hence, we made our way downstairs to the Palace cafe. It was interesting to get there, because we had to walk through tombs and an exhibition of door handles and key holes :) It was very out of the way, so I guess that is why it was pretty much empty, only besides one other person. The cashier ladies didn't speak that great English, so we pretty much blindly ordered a meat soup, just knowing that it was a 'large chunk of meat from a pig'. 

As we sat at the table waiting for our meal we imagined ourselves as servants for the Duke and Duchess of the Palace. We would sit here and quickly eat the delicious meal the cook cooked up for the servants, which I am sure would be awesome, and then continue with our duties. There would probably be light chatter, but other than that it is difficult to imagine. A world away from our own... Downton Abbey seems so graceful, everyone knowing exactly what to do all the time, I imagine I would have difficulties knowing what to do every second of the day. But then again, you would probably pick up a regular schedule.

Here we are with our pork soup, which turned out to be ham. 

The waitress firstly came out with our napkins, forks and knives, and then in another lot our bowls and plates. Surprisingly, she then brought out a little tiny bowl of some white looking thing, which I thought must be butter, but when I smelled it it was sour cream. Interesting :) Next she brought out a basket of rye and white bread, which must have been freshly baked, and a platter of butter mixed with dill. I was unsure about how the butter would taste mixed with a herb commonly used with fish dishes, but it was so refreshing!! A great way to add a fresh taste to bread :) Finallly she brought out the huge bowl of soup for us all, and told us we could tell her if we needed more. Wohoo!! 

The ham soup.

Now, how would I describe the soup? Wel, it was such a different flavour of ham-and-saltiness. The broth was super flavoursome, I have never tasted a broth so full of taste I don't think. Definetely a highlight!! The thing, I think, here is that there really are no words to describe the way that the meat tenderly fell off the bone, or the smell of rich stock filling our nostrils with happiness. 

Anyway, after filling ourselves with more helpings of the soup, because we could, we set off for the Palace gardens. As the sun had come out now, we thought it would be best to take the garden route, so we headed outside to pay for a family ticket. I had to pretend like I was a year or two younger than I actually was, because we wanted to get the cheaper price :) 

Walking through the gates to the gardens, after getting the okay from the ticket lady, we were over-awed with the largest array of roses that we had ever seen!! The spread of the gardens were ginormous, and looking at the map we realised there were even more gardens through the hedges we could see on the outskirts of the roses, so we were overwhelmed really. We thought, first is first, so we began with the roses. 

The rose gardens of the Rundale Palace. These particular roses are called "Jazz".

The scent instantly hit you walking through the shades of white, pink, purple, orange and red. I am under the impression that in that garden was a museum of every possible type of rose that has every been named. For instance, we found roses with names such as Queen of Perle (my favourite), Smoothie, Gloire de France, Pretty in Pink, Rene Goscinni (the author of Astrix and Obelix) and Cinderella, which all delighted the imagination with the possbile reason behind all the names. 

Queen of Perle roses.

Selfie at the rose gardens.

After sweltering in the hot sun for an hour, we all decided that it would be best to head into the air-conditioning of the Palace rooms. I was simply beyond the capacity to think, because of the humidity, and so that sort of ruined the extravagence a tad for me.

Mum and Dad admiring the ball room in the Rundale Palace.

Harri's favorite room, the games room.

A lovely painting I took for my Grandma in Australia :)

The white room. The patterns on the ceiling were actually 3D, which was amazing!!

The vase room.

I am guessing this is the vase room for obvious reasons. One question I would really like to ask the owner would be how they chose what vase they were going to use for each bouquet of flowers. Walking along, I found another room like this one, so there would be such a large amount to choose from!! Personally, I would choose the middle purpley-coloured one on the third teir from the bottom. What about you?

Bauska castle, looking very modern. 

A few kilometers away from the palace was the Bauska Castle. It has been extended recently, after half of it was burnt down. Hence the modernity of the place. What would seem like a 3D wall of the castle, was actually drawn triangles to make it look 3D. It was very interesting architecture!!

The Bauska castle walls.

As we continued on our way, and drove back to Riga passing more fields of yellow, green, and purple, we allowed oursleves to reflect on the day. We all told our favourite place on our trip, and I reminded them that we still had two more day to go!! The question was, what are we going to do tomorrow?

Now you are uptodate,

Laura

xoxo

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