Some of you will know this already but I was born and raised (to an alarming height) in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, also known as ‘town’. Ah St. John’s, home of fog, the Gut, Ches’s Fish and Chips, me mudder and to the longest continuously running sporting event in North America, the Royal St. John’s Regatta. Of this we townies are pretty proud and I think this year will be the 193rd, what I affectionately call, Regretta (beer tent, oily hot dogs, every person you’ve ever known in your whole life, need I say more?).
Alright the Regretta is pretty old but how about the oldest horse race in France? Right on the heels or in this case the hooves (god I slay me) of the medieval festival comes the Fête de la Bague right here in my little ville. Since 1639 they’ve been at this, 1639! If you think Paris is mired in dog merde you should have seen Semur last night, actually you didn’t even have to look, a deep inhale would have done the trick.
It’s a huge deal. The streets are filled to capacity with people from all over France. There are hundreds of stalls selling the usual type of market fare but also ones offering the somewhat unexpected. I suppose no medieval horse race would be complete without these:
Oh now this is right up my alley. Screw finding a hairstylist, all I need is a couple of these and I’m good to go. And speaking of manes, check out these lovelies:
These enormous beasts are run in the nod to history race which is so beautiful. They charge down a 2 kilometer gravel path lined by ancient chestnut trees that has been the course for 373 races. But the second race is fierce.
They run so close to the sidelines that you can hear every breath the horse takes and see right into their eyes as they zoom past. Absolutely breathtaking. All this and a haggle down on a gorgeous linen shirt at one of the stalls, pas mal.
But I’ve got my own race to run. Tomorrow is Fête de Sign A Lease In A Foreign Country. And they’re off, as we head into the homestretch it’s Rusty on the inside with Giraffe pulling up the rear…