Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our trip to the Palace (no king or queen in residence)

Last Saturday, Elder and Sister Carson, the CES couple in our mission, took Sister Harper and me to Rundale Palace. They have a car, as they travel throughout all 3 countries in their assignment. It was so nice to travel by car! The palace is about 1 1/2 hours away from Riga (as the crow flies perhaps--and there are plenty of crows), but it took us more like 2-3 hours to get there, as we went by way of Jelgava, which is on the border with Lithuania.

It was cold and lots of snow on the ground, but the Carsons wanted Sister Harper to be able to see the Palace before she leaves (on the 9th of March). It is located on a large acreage, with not much but farm land and/or open fields around it, so you see it from a distance (no mountains or hills to block your view).

We parked and walked a distance, including over a moat (no drawbridge now). The palace was built in the mid-1740s and is being restored. Only 1/3 is available to tourists and even it is in need of additional restoration. But, it is grand and opulent. There are large stairways, with wooden floors, leading upstairs to two ballrooms and some bedrooms and other rooms. The ballrooms have parquet flooring (original-thick wooden planks) and the ceilings and walls are decorated with 3-dimensional cherubs and flowers, etc. The artisanship and craftsmanship are amazing. There were also paintings throughout, many of them were family members at various ages. One room was devoted to paintings of the Savior, depicting various times of His life. The bedrooms were enormous. The colors of the walls, upholstery, wall coverings and window coverings were really beautiful. A shade of blue was used in more than one room and it was a beautiful color. One bedroom was in emerald greens; one in rose.

One thing that took us awhile to identify was a very large, blue and white ceramic tile, nearly floor to ceiling, square object in nearly every room. We finally learned they were the source of heat. We didn't learn how they operated, but they were very decorative and much more effective, I imagine, than a fireplace would have been, with the ceramic tiles retaining the heat.

The thing we didn't get to see, but hope to be able to go back for, are the grounds. They have well-manicured orchards in front and back and, according to picture postcards available for purchase, beautiful gardens.

It cost 5 lats (about $9-10 USD) to tour the palace, which we felt was very reasonable.

1 comment:

Dan and Nicole said...

Sounds beautiful Grandma!