Uncertain beginning…

My mum had done it again. So what had she done?, you may ask. Well, let me explain.

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly then…

After finished checking in at the gate, we moved to a security check-point and a staff there asked us to step out of the vehicle. ‘Mum, he wants us out of our car.’

I didn’t see what happened because I was occupied with the security guy and mum was at the other side of the car but she stumbled as she was climbing out of the seat and took a rather awkward tumble.

The security was all clear and we were allowed to return to the car. As I buckled up and started an engine, mum confessed what she had done to herself.

‘You did what?!’

She showed me a red mark on her knee as she recounted the circumstance of her little accident. ‘Were you hurt?!’ ‘I think I twisted my hip when I tried not to fall.’ Oh no, mum…

The journey to Caen Port was to take five hours and her injured hip started to bother her as soon as we settled ourselves in our reserved reclining seats.

‘Don’t worry, mum. I’ll fetch painkillers from the car!’

I went down to the car deck with a steward and brought back the medication and a yoga mat. ‘Mum, lie down flat on the mat.’ Even though she found it a bit embarrassing at first, she admitted that resting on the mat felt much more comfortable than on the reclining seat.

The ferry was busy with school children. It looked like there were at least three separate school trip parties on board and the kids were everywhere except the reserved areas.

You go and entertain them!

Good luck, Mr.Teddy…

Then, I went to the upper deck to take some photos so I could show them to mum…

I wished if she could come with me because the views around the upper deck area were spectacular.

We are almost there!

‘Oh, why did this happen to me?’ Mum sighed as she did her seatbelt. ‘I’m sure it will get better soon if you take it easy for a while.’ I tried to sound optimistic even though I was not sure at all.

It was hardly an auspicious beginning of our road trip…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Salut, Calais!

Our mum & daughter road trip had finally come to an end. It was a whirlwind ten days holiday which was filled with lots of laughter, meaningful conversations and a few unexpected events. I was very sad because the holiday with my precious mum was over but also I was relieved because I managed to finish the 3756km drive without any incident and to deliver mum home safely.

After leaving Cité Europe, we followed Google’s instructions for Eurotunnel Terminal.

Wind mills were hard at work at Calais…

My word of advice for anyone who is considering using Google Map in order to find the right terminal for cars and coaches is, DON’T USE GOOGLE MAP unless you want to end up at a terminal for freights!

Until we found ourselves at the check-in gates for lorries, I had 100% confidence in Google Map. However, the glitch let us down at the very end. Shame on you, Google!

After a few frantic three-points turns and whizzing around countless roundabouts, we managed to find the right terminal without using satnav and parked the car at their car park.

‘Phew, that was a bit hairy!’, we agreed as we alighted from the car…

We looked around a shop and used a bathroom before joining a queue for the immigration.

The queue through UK Border Force point was long and slow …

Same as the cross-channel ferry journeys, an interview by the immigration officer took place while we were in our car. Even though, the interview was friendly and courteous, it was much more thorough , therefore, it took a lot longer than I expected. Since the UK terror threat level was still critical, it was understandable that the border force wanted to scrutinise every single person entering the UK properly.

Finally, we were boarding…

Salut, Calais…

A journey to Folkestone was smooth and eventless.

When we arrived to the UK, the sun was already set…

So this was the way our road trip ended. I never thought that writing a chronicle of the holiday would take this long! Anyway, that’s a wrap! Thank you for your patience and I hope our adventure was entertaining and inspiring somehow. We are already plotting another mum & daughter road trip 2018 which will take us all the way to the south of France and back. I can hardly wait…

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

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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