Throwback: Waterloo

(This isn’t a new write up any more than it’s a new visit, but I haven’t posted it here before!)

It was few year ago now – before the 200th anniversary – that I was at a dance festival in Belgium, and instead of going into Brussels for the day before an evening flight home, slipped off to Waterloo.

After a week in Flanders it was a bit disconcerting to be thrown into French halfway through the train journey, especially in a town with such a Flemish name. The town itself has the main museum, and a very helpful tourist office.

The Wellington museum

The Wellington museum in the town was originally the inn where he spent the nights before and after the battle.

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Waterloo museum

(I wasn’t sure whether I was allowed to take pictures in the museum or not as I didn’t see any signs, but no one was watching me, and I had the flash off.)

I liked this picture, showing Scottish soldiers with captured eagles.

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Scottish soldiers

And of course I have a soft spot for Alexander Gordon, as another Scot – this is the bed where he died.

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The bed where Alexander Gordon died

The great man himself, in the room where he wrote his dispatches – I think!

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Wellington

And there were ships! Napoleon being transferred from Bellerophon to Northumberland

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Bellerophon

It was a shame for him, but I love the idea of a monument to a leg.

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Uxbridge’s leg

I bought a copy of this map, in the hope it would help me understand the Master and Commander books better, but I don’t know what I did with it…

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1815 map

The tourist office had given me information about buses, but I decided to walk down to the battlefield – partly because I’d hardly walked anywhere for days, and partly to walk past some of the monuments. The first part was all very modern and dull, though – the bus might have been better!

The monuments

This is the memorial to the surgeons of the field hospital at Mont St Jean farm.

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Field hospital memorial

And Mont St Jean itself.

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Mont St Jean

I liked this painting.

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Horsemen

The monuments are a wonderful mixture of large and imposing and small and unassuming.

The Belgian monument.

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Belgian monument

General Picton.

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Picton

The Inniskilling Regiment of Foot.

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Inniskilling regiment

A monument to a French regiment.

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A French monument

The Hanoverian monument.

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Hanoverian monument

Alexander Gordon’s monument, and its inscription

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Gordon monument
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Gordon monument inscription

From there it’s not far to the battlefield – the Butte du Lion is very visible from the main road.

The battlefield

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Butte du Lion
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The lion

I was surprised by how flat the battlefield was, even allowing for the earth that was moved to make the mound.

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The battlefield
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The battle

The panorama was crowded but still surprisingly evocative – the soundtrack (including bagpipes) definitely helps with that.

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Panorama
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Panorama
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Panorama

A model of La Haie Sainte farm, at the centre of the battle.

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Model of La Haie Sainte

 

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