13. RWANDA ROYAL PALACES
Many of the artifacts at the National Museum of Rwanda relate to the reign of kings - or mwamis - and the lessons taught by Rick were ringing in our ears as we hit the road to our next destination - Nyanza - the royal city of Rwanda.
But first, as had become our habit (or should I say KEVIN's habit), we had to make a pit stop for 'brochette'. He'd tasted this Rwandan shishkebab our first night in Kigali and ever since then he couldn't pass them by. Our driver got used to screeching to a halt at roadside villages whenever Kevin spotted smoke from a brochette grill.
The photo above is of the turnoff at Nyanza - also a boarding place for buses - and brochette vendors were plying their trade to passengers. We had grilled corn-on-the-cob there too, and thus fortified, drove the remaining short distance to the royal city.
The palace hut at Nyanza is a replica built to 75% the size of the original. A 7-foot-tall king (the height of the last mwami) wouldn't need to stoop to enter.
Kevin and Oliver posed in front of the door to the king's bedroom and staged a battle in front of the wall separating the front room from the back.
Just a stone's throw from the traditional palace is the modern palace, situated on beautiful grounds.
I was very curious to go inside because I had put an article about King Rudahigwa and KAGAME'S AUNT QUEEN ROSALIE on my website - including a photo of them on the verandah - and wanted to stand in that very place:
It's kind of amazing that I'm even actually wearing a dress that has a somewhat similiar bulls-eye design as the Queen's. Another picture I have is of the king and queen seated in front of the fireplace and so I went inside looking for that room.
The fireplace was there but no cozy chairs or other comforts of home. The palace hasn't been lived in since King Rudahigwa died in 1959 and with it the reign of royalty in Rwanda. We took one last photo of the grounds looking out from the verandah.
Later in my hotel room - many miles down the road - I was reading LAND OF A THOUSAND HILLS and came to the part in the book where the author describes having been to this very palace in 1957. It was for Jubilee celebrations marking the 25th year of King Rudahigwa's reign. It was history jumping off the page and it enhanced greatly the significance of our recent visit there. I've excerpted the pertinent passages at ROYAL REIGN IN RWANDA
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