I’ve just come home from the rehearsal of the opening ceremony. The scene with the world map in lights was the only scene that was rehearsed in the hour I was there – while it was magnificent, after the fifth time I decided it was really time to get myself home and get some sleep.
Having been reassured that New Zealand was indeed on the map, I figured I didn’t need to stay up to see what might happen next. As you can see from the photos, NZ is a little “out of this world” on the map when the circle of light goes around, but at least it is on. There was great consternation from Kiwis on seeing a previously released photo of the world map without New Zealand at all! So New Zealanders, you are assured that you are on the map!
The one horse that featured in the part of the rehearsal I saw was a very young girl leading a magnificent grey horse, I’m guessing a Percheron but I’m no expert in these and there was no one on hand to explain anything. In fact, there were a handful of volunteers and workers, but it was all very casual. The security guard let me into the temporary stables, which I was pretty sure was the wrong area for a journalist to be, but a very helpful volunteer called Juliette guided me to the right place and the people there just said “sit wherever you like and go wherever you like until someone tells you not to!”
So, I’m sure the opening ceremony will be spectacular and more than just the one scene but guess we will have to wait until the night (Saturday, August 23) to find out!
Earlier in the day we took the opportunity to travel the 20 minutes or so to Bayeaux. What a beautiful town! A little shopping was done, more eating (the crepes were fantastic, especially the dessert ones with apple and salted toffee sauce!), and a visit to the famous tapestry depicting William the Conquerer (also known as William the Bastard) and his victory at the Battle of Hastings. A magnificent piece of work, well worth queueing for 40 minutes and the €9 entry fee to get in. If you intend visiting Bayeaux, I would suggest going early to firstly find a park and secondly potentially avoid the queues.
My main concern at this point is there is no obvious place for the legendary Kiwi party after the eventing has finished in the area around the D’Ornano Stadium. The bars that are in the neighbourhood are closed at the moment, but all look quite small. We will check them out when they do open next week but at this point, the best bet looks like the Games Village. The only downside to that is that it closes at 10pm. I’m sure we will figure it out, the first challenge is really to win something worth celebrating!
We are off to Haras du Pin tomorrow to do the stud tour. The weather today has been lovely, compared to some of the other days we have had, but it still isn’t exactly tropical. If you are still packing, I would suggest putting in some warmer clothes.