Every year I like the month of May more and more! Not only with the first memories I remember from my school days, when my class teacher often said that spring was in my head, but with the beautiful changes of nature here in my homeland! It’s been a while since my last blog post, but I can’t say I’ve been anywhere, I just miss the feeling of having to write down what I’ve experienced in digital form. This time about nature here in Latvia, about one day, about how beautiful Latvia is in spring. I agree with Imants Ziedonis: “Latvia is a wonderful country, but the beauty must help to emerge.”
The plan for the day is simple! Dobeles blooming lilacs and Abgunste Manor, but adjustments are made and plans are changed in the process. No, I’m not staying at home, but…
According to public information, Lilacs garden at the Institute of the horticulture in Dobele has one of the world’s largest collections of lilacs. As a true fortune seeker in lilac blossom, this is the chance to finally get your hands on the big prize and eat all lucky lilac flowers! However, this opportunity slips by as we arrive at our first planned destination we realised that the streets are full with cars and the lilac garden by dozens, if not hundreds, of other fortune seekers.
More information about the lilacs and other “Flower Roads” (four places in total) can be found here: Dobeles Ceriņi
It is unanimously decided that we will only look at the lilacs as we pass by (thru the car window). It is recommended to schedule a visit on a weekday if possible, as the attendance will be much lower then. It’s not like we give up and drive away from Dobele, but we do an Olympic circuit around Dobele Castle, walking around the castle grounds both inside and outside. The combination of daylight and spring sunshine does not disappoint. A wonderful view and atmosphere. Inside the castle, you cannot see the city itself, i.e. the new buildings, and for a moment you can catch a sense of what it was like when the castle was built some eight centuries ago. From the wooden castle at the top of the hill, to the stone ruins of the modern world.
Next, our way lead us to Abgunste manor, which was originally planned as the final place of the Italian Spring event, but… Another “but” for the simple plan of the day. Before visiting the manor, I had a cursory look at the manor itself, its location on the map and other details. After seeing some pictures on social media, I thought it would be good – worth a visit and a look! I will tell you about the estate in detail, because I was and am pleasantly surprised. Back to the event, the “Italian Spring” in a nutshell means that various Italian cars, both old and new, end their few-day tour on the estate’s territory (Press release: “Italian Spring” is coming to Zemgale and will end in Abgunste). The cars were mostly quite fresh, and you could count the retro cars on the fingers of your hands. All the cars were Alfa Romeos with one tiny Fiat next to them. The cars looked more like parked vehicles and did not show much interest to the visitors, with the exception of those few retro cars.
About the manor itself. A real gem compared to the gloomy city blocks. If this is the result, then I have no question why the townspeople (the current owners of the manor) bought the manor, worked to restore it, and of course live there. The manor regularly hosts events, has rooms for overnight stays, and instead of numbers, the door has words on it describing the room. The manor also offers the world-famous game “Escape room’s”, where participants can escape from the room by solving puzzles and completing tasks. Another important thing to mention about the manor are the cats. They are not only live here, and in large numbers, but can be seen in paintings on every corner. The surroundings of the manor create a pleasant calm, definitely worth a visit. As a romantic, I would definitely recommend one of the rooms to spend the night in to enjoy the surroundings of the manor, both in the morning and in the evening hours. More information about the manor can be found on their website.
The manor has been visited and we can go home, as the hours fly by if you have good company and the weather is pleasant. However, we pass through Jelgava on the way, and do one “olympic lap” in Jelgava as well. We take a short walk to the observation tower on Castle Island. The road from the castle to the observation tower is currently undergoing roadworks, but this is no obstacle to getting to our final destination.
Enjoying the views, active chatter and our way lead us home to end one of the many days of spring. Reminding myself once again of the quote by Imants Ziedonis mentioned at the beginning.