Dinant • Belgium | The Bathtub Regatta

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When we first found out that we were moving overseas, Jared’s first order of business was researching unique European things. One of the first found and calendared was this: Dinant’s bathtub regatta. Each August 15th, people build boat floats and race (in theory) 1 km down the river Meuse. The race is open to anyone who wants to participate and the only caveats are that your boat 1) must incorporate a bathtub, and 2) it must be man-powered. Intrigued? So were we.

About 10 months later, having completely forgotten about the regatta, we were scrolling through our calendars and stumbled upon the entry we had put in there so long ago. Did we still want to go? Sure, why not. And so fresh off a red-eye flight back from the States, we hopped in our car and headed to Dinant to check it out. Turns out the regatta didn’t officially start until later that afternoon, so we did a mini tour of the city – Dinant’s big claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, creator of the saxophone – and grabbed some beers while we waited.

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Once the schedule start time arrived, we hunkered down along the river with the other folks and waited for the spectacle to begin. This year’s theme was the 200th anniversary of the birth of Adolphe Sax – some boats went all out and were floating dance parties, others were much simpler, and some chose to go with their own theme. The one lesson we learned that day is just because you are high and dry up on the river bank, doesn’t mean you’ll stay that way. Quite a few of the boats would cruise up along the edge and send some splashes of water up into the crowds with their paddles. Survived those? Then keep an eye open for the water balloons rocketing in.

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The best part of this one was actually the flip side. This is the float I’d want to be on!

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