A Night in the Belgian Ghetto (Part 3 of 3): The Battle of Waterloo

This is Part 3 of a tumultuous weekend spent in  and around Brussels during the Spring of 2012. For Part 1 please see: https://crobsabroad.com/2014/12/15/a-night-in-the-belgian-ghetto-part-1-of-2/

“Where do you want to go on a road trip?” I asked Fillip, who was lounging back on the living room’s corner sofa wearing nothing but a skimpy pair of shorts and a completely unbuttoned shirt. He bashed the buttons on his Xbox controller and Tiger Woods hit another 300+ yard drive.

“Germany! I’ve always wanted to go to Koln and it’s not that far a drive.”

“Okay, I’m up for that. Do you have a car?”

“No but we can just take our dad’s. He won’t mind!” (Said in a tone that made it blatantly clear his dad definitely would mind).

“Sweet.”

Within half an hour we were packing the boot of the BMW 5 Series estate parked in their driveway; leaving as much room as humanely possible for the pair of German Shepherds Fillip was rightfully unwilling to leave behind. He had been left on dog-sitting duty whilst his parents were away for the weekend, and wasn’t going to let them leave his sight.

With Bjorn behind the wheel we screeched out of Nivelles onto the main highway; the sat-nav indicating it would take three hours to reach our destination. The driver however had a different idea of what route to take and soon indicated off the slip-road signposted to Waterloo.

“We can’t drive past the sight of one of the most famous battles in history without stopping to have a look now can we?”

I guess that’s a valid point!

Pulling into the car park Fillip let the dogs run loose whilst Bjorn and I paid our entrance fee and trudged up the Lion’s Mound from where we could see the vast expanse of land where Napoleon’s army clashed with Wellington and Bulcher 200 years ago. It was a glorious vista and on the anniversary of the battle each year thousands of volunteers dressed up in Seventh Coalition and French uniforms can be found re-enacting the bloody encounter in the surrounding fields.

Back at the tourist information centre we found Fillip, the bearer of some unfortunately bad news. Their parents had arrived home earlier than expected to find the house in pitch black and their drive empty. The brothers were to bring back the car and dogs immediately and not to think of doing anything as rash as an impromptu cross-border road trip ever again. We piled into the motor and headed back in the direction from whence we came what felt like only minutes after setting off. Germany would have to wait to be graced with my presence until another time, but under the circumstances I was happily content with the historical knowledge gained of Napoleon’s defeat.

That weekend in Belgium had been an interesting one to say the least, but in no way has it put me off returning. As a matter of fact, I am keen to go to Brussels even more now than when it was nascent and unknown.

 

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