Wednesday, 9 May 2018

In the Palace of the King

First of the travel posts.

Had a lovely few days. Harris's friend Roberto and sister Myrsini came out to visit. We headed down to the Mwami (King's) Palace in Nyanza. I last went there a couple of years ago with my friends Senga and Paul. The last King of Rwanda died in January 2017 in exile in America.

On the drive out we crossed the Nyabarongo, which is the river marking the boundary between Kigali City and the Southern Province. This year's wet season has been extremely heavy, coming after at least two years of very little rain. It's led to a lot of flooding.


Nyanza's a fascinating place with the beautiful old traditional palace and a more modern one built in the 1930s. You're not allowed to take photos inside the 1930s palace, but you are inside the traditional hut - which is far more impressive anyway.


Traditional Bow and Arrow
King's Bed

I would seriously love to live in a Mwami Palace. It's absolutely gorgeous inside. Cool when it's hot outside, and complete with a fireplace when it's cold. The decorated imigongo screens also allow you to see out without people being able to see in. 

The old kings of Rwanda had two priorities: milk and beer. The milk hut was tended by a royal virgin who was responsible for the King's milk, butter and ikivuguto (yogurt).

Butter Churning Calabash

She lived next door to the King's beer taster, who was a eunuch. As much beer as you like but no sex - fair trade off?

And a place to prepare the sorghum out back. It had to be boiled and left to blacken for three days before you could brew beer from it.

Finally, it was off to sing to the royal cows. These guys have a grand life. They're even buried when they die, after living a long and natural life.

Many of the pictures in this post were taken by Harris.

We stopped off at a cute restaurant on the way back for beer and potatoes.

Then it was homeward bound for more beer. A lovely day out had by all, and a little bit of history.

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