June 16, 2015
The festivities for the bicentenary of the Waterloo battle will take place just in a couple of days. It starts on June 17, with the inauguration of the renovated Hougoumont Farm. For this event our King Philip has invited the representatives of all countries which had participated in the battle 200 years ago. There will be Charles and Camilla (for the UK) King Willem Alexander and his wife Maxima, the Duke of Luxembourg and his wife, the president of Germany and other VIP's. The only once who won't come are the French Government. They still haven't digested that they had lost the battle 200 years ago. Fortunately the French population thinks otherwise and lots of French tourists and French soldiers for the re-enactment of the battle will also be there.
I went to the Lion site to see if everything was finished since I had been there the last time. Amazingly it was ! Only a few details had still to be worked out.
Despite the big amount of tourists from all countries the Visitor center was closed ! The next day when I worked as volunteer in the Waterloo tourist office, I heard that now you have to buy tickets at the new museum, called the "Memorial". As I didn't know and all the others neither, we all went into the site of the Lion's mound and Panorma for free. It turned out that it wasn't for free at all but somebody had left the door open. I think they lost quite a lot of money this day ! That's a good start, hopefully the organization has no other glitches.
There was still a little hill as a rival just in front of the huge Lion hill. The new restaurant was finished too.
Poor Napoleon needs some fresh painting
The beautiful old restaurant with an eagle at the entry had been replaced by a new built
and the eagle now stands a little lost besides
The open fire, so it had been said, should look exactly the same as in the old restaurant. Unless I wore the wrong glasses it doesn't look similar at all.
And this is the new restaurant, not very cozy !
In front of the "Memorial" entrance stood these pictures of the different army leaders. They were so ugly that besides Wellington and a very handsome Napoleon, I didn't recognize anybody. Napoleon hasn't been handsome at all, he was short and fat.
The entrance to the Memorial which is an underground Museum
Lots of tourists had the same idea as me, to come before the crowd arrives. The terraces were full, even an angel was present.
I went inside to see the Lion, as they had forgotten to close the door and for once I could take pictures of his head. From outside usually you only get his bottom. The mound is 43 m (141 ft) in height and has a circumference of 520 m (1706 ft) and I walked all around.
A crowd of very brave tourists climbed up the 226 steps (or more) some of them had to give up and returned.
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
June 16, 2015