Waiters’ Race @ Reims part3

What do you call his behaviour other than simply showing off? One of the competitors became a bit too cocky at the end of one of qualifying feat…

Aren’t you a bit too sure of yourself? Let’s hope the victory won’t be snatched away from under his nose…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part2

After watching the race near the south end of La Place Drouet-d’Erlon for a while, mum and I decided to move closer to the start of the race.

Now, we were on the halfway line of the racecourse…

There was no seating for mum but the new place offered a much better view…

The waiters’ race, le course des garçons de café, was originated from Paris, France, and the first race was held at the beginning of the 20th century. The idea behind the event was to promote the recognition of the waiter profession in Paris.
The principal rule of the competition is to carry a tray laden with a bottle of water and a few glasses while racing as fast as possible without spilling its contents on the tray. Another rule is the participants are not allowed to run. The reason behind it is because waiters never run during their service, therefore, they are only allowed fast-walking.

See, they are walking, not running…

The pace of their walk was steady and the trays seemed to be glued to their palms.

However, there was always an exception. This guy was not particularly in a hurry, was he?

He was more interested in posing for a local newspaper photographer!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Waiters’ Race @ Reims part1

‘Re-bonjour, Reims!’ We greeted the city like our old acquaintance as our car slipped away from A344 and entered the city centre.

The city centre was very quiet because it was Sunday. However during we were checking in to a hotel, the receptionist informed us that there was some event happening on nearby Place Drouet d’Erlon.

So what is going on…? OMG!!

Course des garçons de café – waiters’ race!!

I had seen a similar race in Paris ages ago and I was amazed by their professionalism and athleticism.

So let see what Reims’ waitors can deliver…​

One of the locals kindly placed plastic chairs for us by the temporary barriers and we could watch a qualifying heat in style.

It was a hot day and a dog was cooling down in the shade…

Poor you. Wearing a fur coat in the summer isn’t easy, is it?

Place Drouet d’Erlon in which the race was held was a pedestrianized street in the heart of Reims. The thoroughfare was laden with various bars and restaurants and probably the liveliest part of the city…

The waiters’ race started at the north end of Place Drouet d’Erlon and the participants were to hurry down southward, making a beeline to la Fontaine Subé, a famous landmark of the city which stood at the junction of Rue Buirette and Place Drouet d’Erlon.

Once reaching to la Fontaine Subé, the contestants were to circle around the monument and to dash back northward, using the east side of the wide street…​

The public of Reims also had a go at the race…​


Bon courage!’ “Allez!’

We wondered how many had survived navigating the long cobbled street without spilling the contents on the trays. Carrying a tray while walking a long distance didn’t look easy nor fun for me.

If the inevitable happens, you are out, like him…


The race report will continue. So watch this space…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Last Tarte Flambée @ Strasbourg

I love my Bella to bits and nothing will ever change my feeling towards her. However, the life with Bella the Dynamo tends to be full of unexpected mini drama and it can be a bit more than I am asking for. For example, I took her to our usual Regents Park run this afternoon and she came back with loose claws, one definitely on her right front paw and another suspect on her left hind leg. How did it happen?! Are you a trouble magnet or something? You are the trouble wearing fur, aren’t you?

Nothing was wrong with her then…

On our way home, I noticed that something was wrong with her. Normally, she was pretty chilled out on my lap after playing in the park. However this time, she seemed to be paying too much attention to her paws. I felt around her pads with my fingers, expecting some small twigs and leaves stuck between them but found none. And Bella didn’t like it at all. She never dared to sink her teeth in my fingers, yet she made sure I knew her discomfort. At home, I gave her a more through examination while Hubbie held her so she wouldn’t wriggle too much. Then, I discovered one of her claws was definitely loose. Oh dear, I will have to make an appointment to a vet tomorrow, I sighed. My heart sank because I was super committed and busy this Monday and a visit to the vet would be overladen my plate for sure. However, it has to be sorted and the life is like that, isn’t it? Continuous problem solving exercise…

Probably, the sky above the pavilion was telling me something…

There may be trouble ahead…

Anyway, let me get back to the evening my mum and I had our last tarte flambée aka the flammekueche at Strasbourg.

After leaving the cathedral, we sauntered southward, trying to find some inviting eatery along Rue du Maroquin.

‘What do you fancy, mum?’ She pondered for a while and replied, ‘How about Alsasian pizza with beer?’ It sounded very agreeable, therefore, we headed to Le Gruber la brasserie Alsacienne.

The restaurant was pretty full but soon their receptionist ushered us to one of their tables facing the street…

Since it was one of those summer weekends, Strasbourg was brimful of tourists from all over the world, especially from France and Germany, and we were a little worried as if the service could be slow because of it. However, the staffs, who must have been dealing with the tides of visitors on daily bases, seemed to be totally unfazed  and came to take our order fairly quickly.

Mum ordered tomato and basil tarte flambée and I ordered a ham and cheese one…

Mmmmm, tarte flambée and beer are the best bed fellows! The saltiness of the dish enhanced the flavour of the beer so well. We enjoyed our last supper at this historical city very much…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Prayer @ Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

The clock went backward during the last weekend and I still haven’t finished writing about my summer holiday! I am so ashamed.

Believe me because I am feeling rather desperate and also disappointed by my slackness. Ohhh, I must find time and energy to resume chronicling the road trip! However, the longer I lay it off, the harder it becomes to get back to my former productive self. I am so depressed.

Anyhow, I have to restart it from somewhere, therefore, it goes like this…


My mum let out a deep sigh and her shoulders dropped when she checked the latest news in Japan through her iPod touch after we returned to our room at Hôtel Cathédrale from our tram trip. ‘Mao-chan died today.’ She looked visibly distressed while she scrolled the screen.

Mao Kobayashi, a.k.a Mao-chan was a Japanese broadcaster and also a wife of a famous Kabuki actor. She was battling with breast cancer and her days living through the ordeal was recorded in her blog.

I didn’t know much about her and her illness until the BBC featured her as one of the hundred women who influenced the society, 100 Women 2016.

Mum sat at the edge of the bed and uttered, ‘A poor woman. I wish if I could be in her place so her young children would have their mum.’ ‘Oh mum, I never wanna lose you! But I know what you mean…’ We both felt helpless and sad.

‘Let’s visit the cathedral, mum.’ I tapped on her shoulder.

We tried to visit the place one week ago, yet we didn’t in the end because the queue for the entry was too long. However this time, the queue was almost non-existent. It may have been due to the fact that the cathedral was to be closed for the day in twenty minutes time.

The first thing we did as we entered the cathedral was to buy a candle and pray for Mao-chan and her grieving family…

My knowledge about her was best described as sketchy, but her untimely tragic death did touch me.

Unlike her, we are very fortunate, mum and I agreed as we placed a flickering candle on the tray.

Time spent with one’s loved one. That was what she must have craved ardently yet it was cruelly snatched away from her. It must have been heartwrenching for her to realise that she would have to leave them behind.

I promised to mum that I would never ever bore mum or Hubbie with me moaning about lines on my face or freckles on my nose. Because I was so lucky to be alive and all the marks I bore on my body were evidence of my physical existence in this world.

Poor Mao-chan would have loved to have lots of laughter lines on her beautiful face and to grow old happy! For her sake, we must try to be grateful and enjoy everyday as it comes, mum and I put our hands together and prayed.

After dedicating a candle and prayer, we walked around the cathedral.

The inside of the enormous gothic structure was awe inspiring. Soaring walls were like a deep ravine and the nave in front of us was far and long…

Before the present cathedral was constructed between 1176 to 1439, there was a cathedral in a Romanesque style with three apses which was reputed to be decorated with gold and precious stones.

We wanted to explore this amazing place  longer but a church official started to herd up the visitors towards the exit, pointing at his wrist watch. Ok, ok, OK! We’ve got your message. We gingerly started to walk to the door.

Out of the darkness…

and into the light…

Now, we must find somewhere to have our last supper at Strasbourg…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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