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30 May 2017 / leggypeggy

Parts of Bauska Castle are still romantic ruins

Baukas Castle courtyard

Castle courtyard

Over the last month, we’ve been travelling/driving around Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Frankly I’d like to write about all of them at once, but every post takes time, research and sorting through photos. That’s all precious time when I’m supposed to be driving, sightseeing, eating, sleeping and doing the dreaded hand laundry.

So today I’ve decided to take you through a Latvian castle—Bauska—where I bet someone in the past would have done all the laundry for me. Unless, of course, I was the laundry slave. 😦 You can be sure I wouldn’t have been washing the outfits below.

For now, I’ll pretend that I was important and I’ll guide you through ‘my domain’.

This impressive (and now partially restored) castle stands on a narrow peninsula at the confluence of two rivers—the Mūsa and Mēmele—that form a third river—the Lielupe.

The Livonian branch of the Teutonic Knights started building the first stone structures in the mid-1400s. Construction continued into the 1500s.

The castle was both a military stronghold and the administrative centre of the area.

But after the Livonian Order collapsed in 1562, the castle became a residence/palace for one of the Dukes of Courland.

About 150 years later (in April 1706) and during the Great Northern War, part of the castle was blown up by the retreating Russians. By the end of the 1700s, most of it was in ruins. Gosh, don’t you hate it when that happens?

But luckily in the 18th century, the ruins were deemed ‘romantic’ and so attracted the attention of painters and historians, and ultimately restorers.

Today much of the castle has been restored, and what hasn’t still looks rather romantic. It was interesting to see a small area of floor tiles that were still original. They are very subtle compared to the replacements, and much nicer, in my opinion.

We also saw lots of furnishings, artefacts and clothing from days gone by. Sadly, I never saw a laundry tub (only a two-seater toilet), so I’m guessing that I wouldn’t have been able to get my clothes washed. I suppose they wore their get-ups for years on end.

Baukas Castle, kitchen

Kitchen with an oven I could stand in

That said, I love seeing the kitchen. The stove/oven was big enough for me to walk into—really a spot to cook for a crowd. The clothes of the day were fascinating, too, and not really candidates for being laundered.

Hope you enjoy this swag of pictures of the castle.

P.S. We’ve visited a bunch of castles and palaces over the last month. I’ll try not to bore you with them, and will share only the ones that are different.

Baukas Castle

Watch tower on right (with flag flying) with cannons in foreground

74 Comments

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  1. beetleypete / May 30 2017 5:04 am

    The Baltic States are so evocative of north European history. Constantly fought over, almost into modern times, they have such a rich heritage. Thanks for showing me this small part of Latvia, Peggy.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. magarisa / May 30 2017 5:08 am

    Haha, a two-seater toilet! For couples? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 5:14 am

      Talk about the royal thrones! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • magarisa / May 30 2017 5:15 am

        Caught with their pants down!

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 5:18 am

        Oh dear, I’m laughing so hard I might choke. If you don’t hear from me, send an ambulance. 🙂

        Like

  3. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / May 30 2017 6:34 am

    Weird, isn’t it, that doing laundry for jeans and tee shirts is so easy today, but when they wore layer upon layer of silk and velvet and lace, the only laundry facility was someone’s two hands and a bucket. Probably why no one ever laundered anything. They all thought water was poison. Well, it carried the vermin that brought the plague so I guess that was true.

    OMG, I have questions about some of the things you photoed but I can’t even ask the one about the two-seater. Gives new meaning to a night on the town.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 1:46 pm

      I never travel with jeans. They are so darn hard to wash by hand and then get dry. As for the two-seater, I just had to include that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. spearfruit / May 30 2017 8:38 am

    Very nice, thank you for sharing Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ken Berry / May 30 2017 9:24 am

    Don’t know if your research brought this up, but the Memel(e) river on which the castle stands is included as one of the boundaries of old Germany in the now-banned first version of the German national anthem, the Deutschlandlied or Deutschland über Alles.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. gerard oosterman / May 30 2017 9:40 am

    The two-seater toilets were/are popular in Finland too. Why not share ablutions with family members? A great journey throughout all those North-Eastern countries. The forgotten corner of Europe and the former USSR.
    They all have one thing in common and that is the elevation of so much art and creativity.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. pvcann / May 30 2017 9:50 am

    Fabulous. Love that two seater, doing absolutely everything together 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Vicki / May 30 2017 9:52 am

    Love the 2-seater toilet and having studied art & fashion design at college, I find the old clothing as interesting as the architecture and other miscellaneous stuff in your photos.
    Thanks for sharing, especially as you’re supposed to be seeing the sights & travelling. Can’t be easy reviewing the day’s Photography and keeping the blog going at the same time.

    No need to reply to comments either. Your followers will understand completely.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 1:52 pm

      Thanks Vicki for finding a comment loophole. I usually try to get them answered while we’re waiting for the breakfast hour to roll around. Can’t do much sightseeing at 6:30am.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Brian Lageose / May 30 2017 10:14 am

    Naturally, I so wanted to babble about the two-seater, but since everyone else is doing that I’ll have to refrain. I do agree that the original tile is much more pleasing, and I think my favorite photo in this set is actually the one in the watch tower, looking up. For the record, I love castles, and it’s fine by me if you talk about every single castle you’ve ever traipsed or thought about traipsing… 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 1:52 pm

      Okay, okay, more castles coming up just for you. Will throw in a few churches too.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. sriramjanak / May 30 2017 11:18 am

    beautiful…Thank you for sharing…:-)

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Julie Manley / May 30 2017 11:46 am

    Yes, they did wear these kinds clothes for years on end without washing them, because the fabric was way too expensive to wash, but they didn’t wear it next to their skin. They wore linen undergarments and they were washed regularly and often – by servants.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 1:54 pm

      Thank you for pointing this out, Julie. I suspect that such elaborate clothing wouldn’t be washed today either.

      Like

  12. Ashwini Nawathe / May 30 2017 2:09 pm

    Wow. Don’t hate me, please. But right now I’m so jealous you! I can’t wait till I save enough money to tour such offbeat places. Till then I’ll live vicariously through you. Amazing blog and beautiful place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 2:54 pm

      Thanks so much. We had to work, wait and save for a long time to be able to travel. So you are most welcome to join vicarious journeys with us until you have the chance to travel too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ashwini Nawathe / May 30 2017 8:46 pm

        Yes, Thank you. You are going to be my motivation! Love your blogs by the way.

        Happy blogging 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 11:21 pm

        Happy bogging to you too.

        Like

  13. dfolstad58 / May 30 2017 2:58 pm

    I love castles, and museums and historic sites but not wild over two seater toilets! Great 👍 post

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sartenada / May 30 2017 3:37 pm

    Excellent post and fantastic photos. Thank You. I enjoyed very much the photo presenting two-seater toilet. In Finland inside our most beautiful historic castle there is one-seated toilet, but it is world’s first water toilet, because all went straight to the stream below. 🙂

    Here is the evidence:

    Medieval castle of Olavinlinna.

    Happy and safe travels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 4:55 pm

      Thanks for that link. Nice to see the castle in the snow. We visited Olavinlinna just recently and I will write about it soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sartenada / May 30 2017 5:48 pm

        How nice to read it. I must have visited also at the same time:

        World’s biggest wooden church,

        because it was very near to it.

        My hat, You travelled outside Helsinki. Generally people stay there and think that is Finland, but the real Finland is outside it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 11:49 pm

        We hired a car and travelled outside Helsinki for eight days. Next time we’ll need to travel farther north.

        Like

  15. Andrew Petcher / May 30 2017 4:22 pm

    A fascinating place Latvia. I went to Riga several times from about 2005 but in ten years it became overrun with stag and hen parties which started to spoil it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 4:55 pm

      Luckily we haven’t encountered a single stag or hen party. Guess it pays to arrive on a Sunday.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sadaf Siddiqi / May 30 2017 4:27 pm

    Amazing pictures esp. the castle. Latvia seems a wonderful place. Lucky you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 4:56 pm

      We feel very lucky. We still have two more days in Latvia.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sadaf Siddiqi / May 31 2017 8:49 pm

        Great. Enjoy!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Aquileana / May 30 2017 4:55 pm

    Beautiful & very informative post…. Enjoyed learning about this Latvian castle and loved seeing the artifacts and clothes displayed there… The location is gorgeous as well!. Thank you for sharing with us. Love & best wishes 😀 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Chris Riley / May 30 2017 5:27 pm

    Love the research that goes into your posts, and the collection of photos you choose. It’s clear you put a lot of time into making your posts as interesting as possible. They always make for good reading. Pleased to see I wasn’t the only one with an imagination running riot as to the two seater. Not sure how I’d feel about chatting to a neighbourly companion in such a situation. Think I’d rather sit in contemplative, lonely, silence…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 10:33 pm

      Thanks Chris. Each post takes time and I often get ‘lost’ chasing information.
      As for the two-seater, I think we might have to save that for diplomats and politicians. 🙂

      Like

  19. DreamTemples / May 30 2017 7:55 pm

    The castle looks lovely.I love seeing the kitchen too.Probably the busiest place in the castle when meals were cooked for so many people.The two weighing scales of different sizes hanging on the wall are interesting.Thanks for sharing.
    Sheela

    Liked by 2 people

    • leggypeggy / May 30 2017 10:34 pm

      I especially loved the kitchen too, and the fact I could stand up in the ‘oven’. I’m glad you noticed the two sets of scales.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. lmo58 / May 30 2017 11:58 pm

    Thanks again Peggy for yet another informative post with great photos. I love the ruins and am with you on the tiles. The originals are much nicer. Have just arrived in Nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 12:39 am

      Thanks Louise. How wonderful to be in Nice. We are still in Latvia.

      Like

  21. voulaah / May 31 2017 12:13 am

    Whaat a fabulous and very informative post, thank you so much dear for good sharing
    Kisses

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 12:39 am

      Thanks Anita for stopping by and for commenting. Always appreciated.

      Like

  22. Ilze / May 31 2017 12:18 am

    …and the internet is way too faster than in Germany 🙂 Where are you now?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 12:41 am

      The internet in Latvia has been fantastic. I’ve been very impressed. We are east of Riga tonight, then heading to Estonia tomorrow. When do you return to Latvia?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ilze / May 31 2017 12:49 am

        We still don’t know. We want to be free for a while 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Phil Huston / May 31 2017 12:53 am

    Cool. Ancient glass is amazing…and the tile. Do you think its subtlety might be age and exposure? Just a curiosity…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 4:05 am

      I think you’re right, Phil. Age must have something to do with the intensity of colour, but I still think the old version of tile is more stylish.

      Like

  24. Dippy-Dotty Girl / May 31 2017 3:05 am

    How beautiful these ruins are and I like the imagination inserted into your post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. dave ply / May 31 2017 4:10 am

    They say it’s good to be the King, looks like it wasn’t too shabby to be the Duke either. Of course, I suspect even average folks accustomed to modern day comforts might not give a 5-star rating to the accommodations, especially on a cold, breezy, winter night, or when neighbors with explosive intent came to visit.
    As for the two-seater, when I was a kid out in the sticks we actually had an outhouse so equipped. I don’t remember ever sharing it though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 4:23 am

      Now that you mention it, Dave, I think I’ve been at camps with two-seaters. Not that I’ve ever shared either. And yes, I think being kingly or dukely wasn’t all that great back then. Maybe the food was better, but you were certainly a target.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. kkessler833 / May 31 2017 4:14 am

    Beautiful post! I love architecture!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Curt Mekemson / May 31 2017 5:10 am

    I once stayed at a place that had a two seater. I’d use one side one time and the other the next, so neither would feel left out. I like old castles, Peggy, so write about as many of them as you want. 🙂 –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / May 31 2017 5:24 am

      Thanks Curt, I thoroughly endorse your equal-opportunity approach to two-seaters. And more castles coming up!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. kunstkitchen / Jun 2 2017 4:28 am

    So enjoy your travel stories and pictures. This looks very romantic indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. milliethom / Jun 6 2017 6:14 pm

    A fascinating tour round a Latvian castle, Peggy. I’d be in my element there. I think you’re right when you say they probably wore their get ups for years on end. Personal cleanliness wasn’t high on people’s agenda back then. Many people possessed two outfits – if they were lucky. Lovely post and fab pics!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Jun 7 2017 7:17 pm

      Thanks Millie. I think having lots of clothes is a fairly new habit. My mother said she had two wool skirts for winter when she was in university in the 1940s. Of course, this was during WWII, but her family was well-enough off, so it was indicative of the times.

      Liked by 1 person

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