Monday, 29 June 2015

Sunday bliss - after the battle!

Through the woods to Waterloo
Yesterday was a lovely day. Small clouds on a blue sky, nice temperatures and a small wind. A
perfect day to go biking. My husband and I decided to bike over to Waterloo, to visit the battlefield and some of the farms, which were part of the battle, but not so accessible when we were there last time.

We were not entirely sure on the biking route to Waterloo, but started out in the forest, enclosing our part of the suburbs. As usual this is such a treat, biking or walking under the huge beeches. They are standing very close, so the sun comes down in rays only. Absolutely beautiful. At one point we had to take the tunnel under the highway to go over to the other side. Too close to the big road, but we made it into the village of Waterloo, to continue over to the battle field area.

Buddy looking cool amidst a palm
tree in a Waterloo restaurant!

By this time we had biked around 23 km, so we opted for a light lunch and some sparkling water to get some more energy, before going around the battlefield. We looked at the various monuments, Belgian, Hanoverian, French and Gordon's (a young noble man how died in the battle, the stone was risen by his family). Unfortunately, none of the Monuments are beautiful to look at, but I guess it was the style of the time.

Furthermore, we found a monument to Victor Hugo. I did not know why it was there, so had to go to Wikipedia. It turns out that it is a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his visit to the battlefield. He came to Mont-Saint-Jean on May 7, 1860 and stayed two months in Hotel des Colonnes. Here is where he finished writing Les Miserables.  He obviously did come here, although during his stay in Brussels in 1837 he wrote: I don't want to see Waterloo. I find it not necessary to make this visit to Lord Wellington. Waterloo is more odious to than Crecy. He wrote his famous vers Waterloo, morne plaine from the poem L'Expiation, during his stay in Jersey between 1852-55.  That was before he went to Waterloo.

The Victor Hugo monument. A nice resting
place has been made next to it. 

We passed by the farms that were very much part of the battle; La Haie Sainte, La Belle Alliance and Hougoumont. The battle field looked very peaceful on this sunny day. It is difficult to imagine the horrors of battle that once took place here.

La Haie Sainte, Waterloo

Hougoumont, Waterloo, where
the Allied kept up the defence. 

And old tree outside the farm
Hougoumont. Maybe a relic
from the 19th century?


  1. I just read The Sage of Waterloo, a new novel (by a Belgian writer) that takes place at Hougoumont. You might enjoy it too, esp. now that you've been there!

  2. I am happy you loved it. I actually met Leona, who is part of the Brussel's Brontë group, on the day of the re-enactment and the morning talk with the Brontë Society. She told me about this new book of hers, and I am looking for a copy. Seems like a great story, and will probably be even better when you know more about the battle.