Day 51 - Waterloo I Was DefeatedSeptember 23 in Belgium ⋅ 🌧 16 °C
Woke up to a cool misty morning & we were back on the road by 8.10am. 30 minutes later we approached Belgium with our passports & itinerary to hand. There was no border, just a sign telling us we were now in Belgium.
First stop was Spa and to the Formula 1 race track. We were able to drive right up to the grandstand, but everything was all locked up. We then drove into & around the town of Spa, which wasn’t overly exciting.
We set the SatNav for Waterloo and due to diversions we ended up passing through an attractive little town called Sougné-Remouchamps, which is the home of cycling champion, Philippe Gilbert. We spotted a cafe that seemed ideal for a late breakfast.
We parked up outside the 251 year old Royal Hotel Bonhomie & walked to the cafe. It was now when we first discovered that Belgium is far stricter than other countries with it’s mask requirements. It is compulsory around town.
We entered the cafe & ordered two coffees, then Jackie ordered a tuna salad baguette. I then asked for the same, but with sliced egg. The lady returned with two tuna baguettes, but mine with egg as well. Horror of horrors, I tried to explain that I don’t eat fish, she couldn’t understand & took both away in a huff. I chased after her & relieved her of Jackie’s & somehow managed to order an egg & rocket baguette. Everything turned out ok, but just felt a bit awkward.
Next stop was Waterloo & the Memorial of Waterloo 1815 museum located on the site of the Battle of Waterloo. We paid our €16 each which was reasonable & followed the designated route with our masks on. It was an interactive museum with lots of exhibits & culminated in a 15 minute 3D video depicting the events of the 18th June 1815, when 300,000 soldiers clashed. 40,000 men died or were wounded & Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated.
We then entered the Rotunda, which had a 360 degree Panorama of the events, then climbed the 226 steps to the top of Lion’s Mound for our panoramic view of the battlefield below. The Lion’s Mound was erected in 1826 to commemorate the exact spot where the Prince of Orange was wounded.
It was over 2 hours well spent, then we hit the road for Ypres (Leper). Around 4.30pm we arrived at B&B Inga in the heart of Ypres old town. We have the run of the whole place, including a well stocked kitchen, as there are no other guests.
Before going anywhere we set about completing our Public Health Passenger Locator Forms & submitting them. About 6.30pm we walked out into the rain & hotfooted it to the Ypra Inn next to the Menin Gate. The barman confirmed that the Last Post ceremony was still place, but with a restricted audience of just 200 persons instead of the usual 1000s.
Jackie & I sat in the bar with a Belgian beer & watched a small crowd gather. With 20 minutes still to go, we took up two of the last few remaining allocated spots under Menin Gate. At 8.00pm sharp, three buglers appeared & played the Last Post. As always it was a very moving experience.
It was still pouring with rain, so we ducked into a bar in the main square across from St Martin’s Cathedral & had another beer. It was all a bit damp & miserable so we called it a night, without lunch or dinner!
Song of the Day : Waterloo by ABBA.
Bonus Song : Last Post by The Central Band of the Royal British Legion.Read more