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Published: November 6th 2013
Waterloo and Brussels in Belgium 2 & 3 November 2013
After leaving Luxembourg, we headed north on the motorway for 180kms. Neither Luxembourg nor Belgium has toll roads and we found their roads to be excellent. It continued to rain lightly most of the way.
Just as we were arriving in Waterloo, we spotted the 45m high Butte deLion, viewed from the Waterloo battle field. This is where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington on 8 June 1815. The monument was built 9 years after the Battle. There is a massive lion statue at the top of the big mound which symbolized success and strength.
We climbed up to the top and had a magnificent view of what was the battlefield. Now, there are farms all around with the town of Waterloo in the distance. I was thinking as I tried to get out of the very cold wind on top of the mound that the soldiers of the battle were lucky they were there in summer as the cold, wet winter would have been worse for them.
Next to the mound was a circular building which housed a Panorama of the Battle of Waterloo,
including the army’s of Napoleon, Duke of Wellington and William 1 of Orange. When we walked into the building we heard the recording of men shouting in battle and horses neighing. It added to the effect of the whole experience.
We then drove around the town which only has 30,000 people. Knowing there was no camp site in the area, we parked down one of the side streets which worked very well. It rained on and off during the night.
The next morning, it was very overcast and bitterly cold! We headed for Brussels, which is a city we visited in 2002 and only 30kms from Waterloo.
Once we solved the challenge of finding a park (although this is always a little easier on Sundays), we rugged up (it was 8 degrees with a lower wind-chill factor), found an excellent map of the city and saw the following:
· Kapellekerk la Chapelle-chill
· Palais de Justice – which is a massive building
· Palaice Royal
· Parliament House
· Brussels’ Cathedral
· Grand Place Grote Marktr
· And of course the famous Manneken Pis – this is a statue of
a little boy and his pee is a water fountain. Legend has it that a little boy was lost for 5 days and when he was found he was doing a wee in the spot the statue now stands. They dress him in different outfits which total over 800 which are displayed in the Grand Palace Museum.
· Atonium which is 20 minutes from the city. We drove to this area after leaving the CBD. This is a weird construction of 9 metal balls which is like Belgium’s Eiffel Tower. The 9 balls represent an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It was built for the World Expo in 1958 when people still believed atomic energy would save the world. We didn’t climb it this time.
As it was Sunday, we saw markets in nearly every square – and Brussels has plenty. We think that one of the most interesting and attractive squares in the world is the Grand Place. Around this square is the beautiful Gothic Hotel de Ville, the Baroque town hall, Beurs/Bourse, museum, trade guilds, many of which are gold lilted.
We also stopped at one of the many chocolate outlets and bought some
lovely Belgium chocolate.
As we were driving out of town, after seeing the Atonium, it started to rain – excellent timing. We were on our way to Gent. I hope you enjoy the photos of one of our favourite cities in Europe.
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