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.
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".