Monday, June 8, 2015

Rundale Palace

A visit to Rundale Palace was a must on my list when visiting Latvia. (Rundale castle is one of Latvia's most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rocco 18th century art. The palace was built between 1736 and 1740 as a summer residence for Ernst Johann von Biron the Duke of Clourland. It boasts 54 rooms which have been restored to their original splendor, it took 50 years to restore.  Some have called the palace the Versailles of Latvia. 

I went to Smile Line Tours to see if they had a tour going there in the next couple days. I was told there was a minimum of 2 people to take the tour, the woman asked if I wanted to give me email in case she could find any one else going  so I gave it. By the afternoon there was an email saying I could join a tour the following morning. I was very happy to say the least I headed to the tourist place and had a bit of trouble finding it again and asked a girl who had a sign for a walking tour and even though it was not the same company she was representing she actually walked me to the location.

There were 3 on the tour, two men who turns out walked in and booked the right after I left one was from Washington DC he said he lived in Buffalo (there's always a Buffalo connection) years ago for 4 years and loved it.  The guide was really good his name was Janis.  We drove to the Palace and we made a bit of a stop at Bauska Castle (Bauskas Pils) and walked around the outside including some ruins. 
Bauskas Pils
Then we continued to the Palace the weather was a bit gloomy but at least it was not raining we looked around outside our guide told us to look up and pointed out a stork sitting on the nest on top of one part of the palace.  The admission was not included in the tour so we stopped to buy our tickets and they were also selling a pass to be able to take photos inside for an additional 2 euros and of course I gladly paid that. 

We climbed the beautiful staircase and began the tour of the various rooms and each one seemed more outstanding than the other. There were rooms of so many different colors  and I was enjoying each one immensely. Our guide was full of stories pointing out so many things that I think we would have overlooked he obviously enjoyed showing us the rooms., and he knew so much about them, which only added to the visit. The pictures capture a bit of the grandeur of the rooms. Click to enlarge.
Up the beautiful parade staircase

The White Ballroom

Afterwards we went outside and sun had come out we looked in the gardens which were beautifully laid out  I read there are 2500 roses in the Rose garden but we did not see them. It was probably too early for them to be in bloom. We then stopped  at Balta Maja restaurant on the grounds and tried some of the apple pie that our guide had told us about and he was right it was very good.  I would recommend visiting the palace to anyone interested in beautiful displays I am so happy I was able to visit there it ranks high in the palaces I have visited.

Porcelain room

The Rose Room

what a ceiling
the Dining room

superb ceilings
Balta Maja Inn

View from the gardens