FRIDAY, JUNE 19 2015
0700: Breakfast at the Funkey Hotel
1200: tour bus to Centre du Visiteur (Visitor Center) on the Route du Lion.
1400: Visitor Museum, Lion Mound, and Panorama. The Visitor museum was newly opened in 2015; its location underneath the battlefield is an amazing feat of engineering. The Panorama is located in the rotunda of original Waterloo museum, first opened in 1911. Opened in 1826, the mound is an artificial hill that offers a commanding view of the battlefield and surroundings. Many of our gang climbed the 226 stairs to the top of the nearby Lion’s Mound (150ft / 45m tall). A massive iron statue of a lion sits atop the hill; legend holds it was forged from the cannons left by the french on the battlefield (facts suggest otherwise).
Appetizer: four cheese croquette, or beef carpaccio with Parmesan chips.
Main Course: Steak Tartare (a surprise that was not very popular; lost in translation).
A re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo was scheduled for this night; a 2nd on occurred on the next night. Though the battlefield was quite large, our vantage point offered good views of the action. The mock-battle involved more than 5,000 soldiers – the 1815 battle involved more than 150,000 men. The re-enactment seemed chaotic enough; visualizing the action on the real battlefield is nearly impossible. The black powder smoke used by the re-enactors gave us a taste of the time; but it is unsettling to consider what it must have been like that day, amidst live ammunition, thundering noise, confusion and spilling-blood.
Despite the evening’s shadows settling over the battlefield, the action continued until around 22:00.