(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.
(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.
And of course I have a soft spot for Alexander Gordon, as another Scot – this is the bed where he died.
The great man himself, in the room where he wrote his dispatches – I think!
And there were ships! Napoleon being transferred from Bellerophon to Northumberland
It was a shame for him, but I love the idea of a monument to a 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…
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!
This is the memorial to the surgeons of the field hospital at Mont St Jean farm.
And Mont St Jean itself.
I liked this painting.
The monuments are a wonderful mixture of large and imposing and small and unassuming.
The Belgian monument.
The Inniskilling Regiment of Foot.
A monument to a French regiment.
The Hanoverian monument.
Alexander Gordon’s monument, and its inscription
From there it’s not far to the battlefield – the Butte du Lion is very visible from the main road.
I was surprised by how flat the battlefield was, even allowing for the earth that was moved to make the mound.
The panorama was crowded but still surprisingly evocative – the soundtrack (including bagpipes) definitely helps with that.
A model of La Haie Sainte farm, at the centre of the battle.