J’aime l’autoroute française!

We checked out of our hotel at Reims around 10:00 and headed towards our final destination, Calais. The city was 274km away and A26 would take us there.

I must say, driving on the French motorway was a pleasure…

You see what I mean?

Especially, the landscape around Arras, was very flat and open. The scenery may have lacked the grandeur of the Alpine region with the rugged peaks and winding roads, but I preferred the calm and predictable vista on A26 after the continuous driving of the past nine days.

There was just a blue sky and golden crop fields on the both sides of the motorway…

Another thing I liked more about driving on the French motorway than on the German equivalent, was there was hardly no bullies behind their high-powered wheels. I really was fed up with those German drivers who tailgated my car and pressurised me to move to a slower lane despite my speed was nearly 90mph while we were in Bavaria.

The French autoroute was all calm and civilised…

As we got closer to Calais, we started to see more cars with the British number plates. ‘What shall we do at Calais?’ We would have more than six hours to kill before boarding a train home…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part6

Finally, the moment had arrived to decide a winner of la course des garćons de café de vile de Reims 2017!

After the false start, six finalists lined up at a starting line and waited for a countdown.

‘Cinq, quatre, trois, deux, un, ALLEZ!’


So off they went. Bon courage!

The race looked all fun and good-spirited for the bystanders but it was no mean feat for the competitors. I had no idea how many qualifying race the waiters had to take part in in order to win a place in the final but it looked like they had to go through three or four qualifying feats. As you can imagine, most of the participants appeared a little worse for wear when they reached the last race.

Here comes this year’s winner, Jeremy!


I never noticed him until he crossed the line because he had been so inconspicuous. He never did any of those attention-grabbing stunts like his rivals. He just kept his head down and made as little mistake as possible. And it paid off handsomely in the end.

Do you remember this guy? He spilled his tray just before the race started?


During his first lap, Everything seemed to be fine and dandy. His strides were a full of confident.

However, he became too sure of himself too soon? A cruel twist of fate pounced upon him just before he crossed a finishing line…


A guy who was in the fourth position walked past him like a breeze, snatching away a coveted third place under his nose. Oh how sad. The vanquished picked up cups and bottles from the pavement, looking tired and dejected.

Shortly afterward, the annual race was wrapped up with a small award giving ceremony.

For women’s winners…

Oh no, a guy in a high-visibility vest moved in and blocked our view. Damn.

And for men’s…

So what was the prize of the race? There was a brand new Renault on display at the north end of Place Drouet d’Erlon. May be a little too extravagant to be the prize? We weren’t sure.

‘Aren’t you hungry, mum?’ After all the excitement of watching the race, we both found we were hungry.

We tried to get some food at Ernest Hemingway, a bar / restaurant along the racecourse…

Unfortunately, they only served drinks because it was Sunday afternoon.

In the end, we had burgers and fries at Burger King…

Our very first fast food in France! We sat outside and munched on our food and sipped cold drink while the event organisers busied themselves with dismantling crowd-control barriers and a small marquee for a DJ.

Fun never last, does it? Our holiday together is almost over too! Mum and I became a little too emotional during our last supper at Reims…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part5

The race of the race was fast approaching. All the qualifying heats were over, and through them, the final six were chosen.

The finalists were warming themselves up and steadying their nerve…


Then, they lined themselves up at a starting line…


However, a mishap happened. Could this be some sort of omen? What kind of race will this be, we wondered…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Aimez-vous Brahms

I have to interrupt the report of the Waitors’ Race at Reims for today because I have come across a wonderful gem during I was beachcombing Youtube last night.

“Goodbye Again” 1961


The film is based on a novel by Françoise Sagan’s Aimez-vous Brahms.
I call the film a gem because the cast is amazing: Ingrid Bergman, Yves Montand and Anthony Perkins, the location is glamorous: ever so beautiful Paris in the late 50’s and the costume for Ingrid Bergman: designed by Christian Dior! What not to like?

As a teenager, I read all of Sagan’s novels, imagining how it would like to be in love. Even though most of her love stories ended tragically, it didn’t put me off from reading them and I found being “ennui” impossibly grown-up and sophisticated. Oh how shallow and immature I was then.

Anyway, the film may be getting deleted from Youtube soon because of the copywright business. So watch it while it lasts!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part4

The competition was getting more serious as the qualifying progressed. The race was no longer a display of happy comradeship between the fellow garçons but naked personal ambition between the men / women with trays and aprons.

Behold the dead heat!

They were almost on the verge of trotting just before crossing a (imaginary) finishing line. We weren’t sure which one came first in the end because it was such a close finish…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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