When I was a kid, I will never forget sitting in front of the TV, watching Charlton Heston’s chariot tear around the track in Ben Hur. I wished I could have been there. Well, now I can! The mighty Chariot Race is only one of the adrenaline-pumping events to take place at Budapest’s annual National Gallop, a rather new Hungarian invention. On September 19, Heroes’ Square will be transformed into a spectacular racetrack covered with over 6,000 square meters of sand. Young jockeys, modern day Hussars on horseback, will race à la Charlton Heston in front of grandstands of cheering crowds, competing for the 21.5-million-forint cash prize, a glittering sword, and national glory.
But that’s not all. The day includes mock battles and archers shooting arrows on galloping horses. And Andrássy Avenue will become the Gallop Promenade, presenting 1000 years of Hungarian history. This is an event I won’t miss. And who knows — if one of those chariot drivers gets injured, I may just have to volunteer!