Thursday, 28 May 2015

There's been more than one battle at Waterloo you know!


'My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself...'

What do you know about Waterloo?

Do you say the words 'Waterloo', 
and immediately launch into Abba's famous song?!

If so, you're right!
'At Waterloo Napoleon did surrender'

Fast forward two hundred years, and local Waterloo Blogger Gattina
is kindly showing me the famous sights of the Battle of Waterloo.
Where Napoleon's tyrannic rule ended, changing the direction of Europe.

As we arrive at the man made Butte Du Lion
we notice masses of soldiers ready for action,
as if they were going off to fight in 1815.

The area appears to be a massive construction site,
with frenetic activity and workmen trying to finalise building
 before the upcoming bicentenary celebrations.
These days, instead of being on horseback,
the soldiers are in cars fighting for a parking space!

Butte du Lion, Waterloo
The organisers are expecting 120,000 spectators
at the Waterloo 2015 commemorations on June 19-20 2015.
 This will be the biggest reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo
 with 5,000 soldiers, 300 horses and 100 cannon.

Hopefully by then, they will have finished the building works
and completed the car park!

'How nice of you to arrange a VIP welcome!'

I say to Gattina, as the band swings into full force on our arrival!

It was lovely to meet Gattina,
who appears quite used to meeting random bloggers
 introduced via the Internet, but for me this was a first!

I first got to know Gattina through her blog  which I love to read as
as it brings me up to date on my previous life living in Belgium.

This is what happens when two bloggers meet:


 Hug (as we feel we're meeting old friends)


You can see Gattina's version of events here

There are 226 steps which give a panoramic view of the battlefield.
The new underground memorial was having it's official opening that day
with invited dignitaries, hence the soldiers and the band.
 TV crews and media, swirl around and Gattina and I snap happily away.

We are in blogging heaven!

Musicians performing at the inauguration of the Waterloo Memorial 
We follow a line of soldiers being signed in to the VIP opening,
check out the cow hide back packs!


After all this excitement and a drink at the cafe, 
to get to know each other a little better, 
we head off to the Ferme de Hougoumont, Braine l'Alleud.

Hougoumont was the pivotal point 
in the Duke of Wellington's defensive line in the Battle of Waterloo.
Once sadly derelict,
it is slowly being transformed with the help of British donations
which are being matched pound for pound by Belgium.

Peter Snow reports below "It was here at this peaceful farm 200 years ago that 5500 British and German troops died or were injured, in one of the epic struggles of history. Wellington said that the outcome of the battle of Waterloo depended on closing the gates at Hougoumont".
Here you can find more details of Project Hougoumont below:

Walking around the austere Hougoumont buildings 
I am transported back to my own 
 personal battles in Belgium,
 arriving to live in Brussels, over twenty years ago
with my DH and two children, one just ten days old...

It was about giving up a career 
and becoming a full time stay at home Mum,
in a country where I knew no one.

It was about learning to converse in a country 
which had three official languages 
 French, Flemish and German
where everyone was multi-lingual whilst
moi, arriving with basic school girl French, felt illiterate!

There were others but
my battle didn't last too long,
like Napoleon I capitulated
into the 'stay at home' Mum role
and grew to love Belgium!

I even ended up living there, twice and loving it!

'The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself...'

A massive thank you to Gattina for a wonderful day out
It was a pleasure to meet you!

Linking with the following:

Song-ography: Waterloo by Abba

Alphabe Thursday
B: for Belgium Blogging Buddy
Thanks Jenny!

The Good, The Random, The Fun

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