John and I, and some of you, have now immersed our and yourselves in those 3 days in June 1815, the 16th, the 17th and the 18th, to a point of knowing the individual battles and the main characters by heart.
It would be impossible to relate the whole story in a single post. Suffice it to say that on the 16th Napoleon took on Wellington and the English coalition at Quatre Bras, and Boucher and the Austrian army at Ligné. Napolion won, but not decisively. On the 17th Wellington pulled back a bit but did not retreat. The Prussians also retreated, but only to the nearby town, Wavre, not back to Germany, as Napolean supposed and hoped. For Napoleon to win he had to keep the two opposing armies separated, and conquer first the Prussians, and then Wellington. On the 18th he failed to do this, and Wellington, with the help of the Prussians, in a close battle, finally and fully beat Napolean.
In all, about 10,000 died and 30,000 were wounded (and may have died later) to restore the royal king- ships of Europe, roll back Napolion’s social reforms, and establish peace on the Continent until
WW I, about 100 years later.
The preserved Battlefield presents some amazing sights:
Prominent from every direction is the Lion Mound. John and I mounted the Mound, at a cost of much huffing and puffing. Beside it is the cylindrical building housing the old but gorgeously painted Panorama.
Buried under the field to the left of the old building is the very modern and technologically and historically moving 3-D movie theater and museum.
The picture above, and many more, actually moved as we stared.
The 3D theater requiring 3-D glasses was not photographable, but an astounding experience, very moving.
We later cycled around the grounds gaining a better understanding of the role of rolling hills in the battle, and an appreciation of how many pubs were closed in August, as we grew hungrier and the mileage mounted.
That’s the farm, La Belle Alliance up yonder. Note the loose gravel road; difficult but no falls. Not a place for thin tires ( lesson learned ).
But yes, many monuments later, John successfully found us a tavern (named after Josephine) and we enjoyed a restorative delicious meal, and then cycled back to town. Was a wonderful day.