It was two of us, who visited the Senlici Hotel, we got there by Monday evening. The yard area with cosy lighting and the hotel in the backyard, in size of a bigger house, made a very good impressioon. A primeval tree in front of the house, the parking area and luxurious pavement added homy atmosphere and feeling that guests are always welcomed here.
Host welcomed us and introduced the possibilities of accommodation, also gave us a comfortable suite with two rooms in it.
Later that night, during delicious supper with good wine, we met the hostess of the restaurant nearby.
It turned out that they also have a family business and it has been active for 25 years already. At first they grew vegetables, which they marketed even outside Latvian.
As the location next to the Jelgava highway is excellent, they started catering too. In time they have expanded the restaurant with several extensions on both – first and second floors. Behind the restaurant there is a playground for children with uncountable attractions.
The father in this family business looks after all the attractions and figures out all technical solutions, he also builds them with some help from coworkers in the workshop behind the house. In summer children can have a train ride in carriages which are behind the tractor. The host says that this is a hobby, a little bit of fun and some income for him at the same time. Obviously that means everyday communication with people and love for children.
Responsibility areas, activities and services are strictly divided between brother, sister and the father of the family. The son of the family is responsible for accommodation and motorboat rides on the river Lielupe in a unique historical wooden motorboat.
The daughter of the family is responsible for restaurant and bakery and she offers breakfast at brother`s hotel, also picnic baskets etc People book the restaurant by the highway for jubilees, seminars and several other events.
The host, who has been behind the whole business from the beginning, is also active at local municipality. With some help from his friends he finances broadening the family business and is active at many communal movements. The whole idea and construction of the amusement park and its management is on his shoulders.
A new asphalt road was built in cooperation with the local municipality, it was connected with the agreement with the family business to quarantee a number of working places during certain period of time. The family business has used the EU projects funding mostly on the host’s initiative. Their last big venture has been building a huge stage across the highway, where different events take place, like dog shows, fairs, local bands perform etc
More than ten people are working in the business, dependig on the season. They cooperate with several other service providers in Jelgava.
We visited Silva’s Teahouse. The owner introduced the services and showed us the floating restaurant, which has been in construction for years and different clever solutions, how to build a stage, or how to make clever storage places.
We also visited St Trinity Church tower across the river Jelgava. There is a tourism information spot on the first floor, a french restaurant on the second floor and the museum on other floors. But from the top floor there opened a beautiful wiew through the glass balcony, over the city and the meadow behind the city, by the river, where wild horses live. The wiew from the tower was expandable on computer screen, connected to the cameras. And with one click we could send postcards with town sights to our e-mail from the tourism information spot.
We visited several other sights in Jelgava. Our host told us many legends and stories about them. Many buldings were already renovated and many were in the process of getting restored. Everything was clean and neat.
After the impressive excursion we had lunch at the family rastaurant. And the organizer from Latvian side made several videos and recordings with the hosts and with us.
The host showed us different innovative approaches for heating the buildings, they use ground heating system for heating the rooms and solar panels for heating the water. While building the new room for seminars the host used several clever solutions, like giving different functions to one room, depending on the season and necessity. Everything was clean and organized. Personnel with sparkling eyes and highly motivated.
Form this visit we remember very hospitable people, a big well-functioning family business built up with hard work in decades, optimism and sustainability in talking about the future.
The visit took place from 26. to 28. of March
Tareq Taylor, a chef and TV-personality from Sweden visited Soomaa for filming new series for his highly popular show, “Tareq Taylor’s Nordic Cookery”, broadcasted in over 100 countries all over the world.
“Miesai un Garam IK”
(For the Body and Soul)
LATVIAN TRADITIONAL PIRTS* (BATHHOUSE) RITUALS
Latvian traditional pirts is known as wet bathhouse, where one gets use of the hot air, moisture (steam), water and plants as they work on human organism.