Blimey! What a day!
As you see we returned save and sound from our trip to Belgium. The trip was really great but pretty exhausting so I used the small breaks during our family Sunday with relaxing the tired and constrained limbs. But the event was worth it all. Two dear friends of me and I spent an interesting, entertaining and wonderful day in Waterloo and collected irreplaceable and unrepeatable impression of the battlefield and the people there. Mostly of course impressions of the actors who brought the scenery to life but likewise of the thousands of interested and affable spectators.
But let's take on thing at a time. After our really early start the journey to Waterloo went really well. The roads were rather clear and the driveway to the parking areas was very well-signposted. Thus we found a good parking space between La Haye Sainte and Belle Alliance. So with disembarking I took the first breath of history. Well... It was about a quarter past nine, weather seemed indecesive and there ware only a few spectators at the site and I caught my first impression of the field of honour: The Lion's Mound.
|The Lion's Mound, Saturday morning 09:30 a.m.|
First we headed to the Allied bivauc which was set near and around Hougoumont. Luckily the Allies where rather early birds as we and thus we got to see a lot of well-dressed reenactors and overall plenty of kind, hospitable and affable fellows from Germany, Sweden and the UK.
Please click on the pictures to enlarge them.
|Black Watch on guard portrayed by a multi-national group.|
|95th Rifles on guard as well.|
In this early morning not only the common soldiers were on duty. Event High Command was awake and full of zest for action:
|Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher and ADCs|
|A gunner of the Royal Foot Artillery cleaning one of their numerous guns.|
|Our friend Holger inspecting a piece. He was an artillery NCO during active service though.|
|British hussars and light dragoons.|
|A British camp site.|
Strolling around in the Allied camp we met one of the most impressive, formidable and credible persons I've seen this very day. A seasoned veteran who called himself the 'camp rottweiler' barking at some visitors wearing French uniforms. But barking with a with a wink. Somehow all reenactors are comrades no matter which uniform they're wearing.
|The seasoned 'Camp Rottweiler'. My greatest resepct, Sir!|
|An officer inspecting the camp site.|
|A pleasantly relaxed day's schedule for the II / 95th|
|Plannig surgeries in advance appears strange, doesn't it?|
|Hougoumont as seen from the Allied camp.|
|A humble visitor in front of a historically important gate.|
|With respect for those who gave their lives there 200 years ago.|
While our first walk through the Allied camp was coming to its end we heard bugles and drums. Obviously there were preparations for a larger parade or exercise starting. First unit in full dress were the black Brunswickers:
|Brunswickers receiving a medal for their efforts at Quatre Bras reenactment.|
|Redcoats in line formation awaiting a speech of their brigade commander.|
Indeed the Allies initiated a large parade and marching exercise on the field in front of their bivauc. Actually I missed the Prussians but there were a lot of British redcoats as well es some Belgian troops and a Swedish / Finnish force:
|King George's men marching.|
|Riiiiiiiight Dress !|
|Black Watch preparing for a photo.|
|Prince William of Orange inspecting his troops. In the background the Swedes and Finns.|
Unfortunately we didn't meet the Iron Duke but it was after noon meanwhile and especially my travelling companions didn't want to miss the French camp. Thus we left the Allies and firstly headed towards the 'Village du Lion', a tent city of merchants, and towards some other attractions. But this part of our journey as well as my encounter with fellow blogger Carl ('Hitting on a double 1') will be told in part two of my report.
Let me end with another picture of the Lion's Mound. Obviously at 01:00 p.m. attendance figure had grown essentially...
|The crowded lion...|
Follow our way to the French camp in part 2 of my report: