Monday, July 20, 2009

Battle of Waterloo - Butte de Lion

On Sunday in Brussels we finally had the pleasure of returning to the International Protestant Church, which we joined last Fall but haven't been in town to attend service in several months. Since it is a church comprised mostly of expats, the vast majority any Sunday are traveling. So our poor attendance record is shared by most. This particular Sunday the attendance was particularly sparse. There are always people coming and going, settling in and moving away. I was surprised that one of their Summer traditions is a songfest where they ask the congregation at the beginning of the service to call out 3 or 4 of their favorite hymns and then on the spot they piece those together 2 verses each to cobble the opening hymn. Pretty unique!

After church we went out to the adjacent field of the International School of Brussels and Connor and Kirk just ran and ran on their track and football field. Connor especially loved it when Kirk would literally run and jump over her head. I was surprised at how fast and far Connor can fearlessly run. She must have been up and down the football field 5 times. Gotta love toddler energy!

After a nap the day continued to brighten up more and more. We just had to get out; it was too gorgeous of an afternoon to let pass by. So we drove the 40 minutes to the site of the Butte de Lion on the battlefields of the Battle of Waterloo.

We climbed to the top of the conical artificial hill raised to commemorate the location where William II of the Netherlands (the Prince of Orange) was knocked from his horse by a musket ball to the shoulder during the battle. The Battle of Waterloo is where Napoleon Bonoparte was defeated, putting an end to his rule as French Emperor.We climbed up, up, up the stairs and the view proved quite impressive from the top - overlooking all the surrounding battlefields. Of course our little Connor didn't pay too much mind to the beauty around her, but just wanted to wiggle, wiggle, wiggle all around the tiny monument. We told her she must have "ants in her pants" to which she lifted her skirt to look for those pesky ants! We looked down and the soldiers were readying for a cannon display. It was LOUD! We were glad to be so far up. Connor wasn't sure whether to be scared or to clap in amusement.

After the cannon display Connor was determined to "go see soldiers!" When we met up with one he spoke no English but shared his hat with Connor. She wasn't sure what to make of it all.
I thought the photos of the reenactment were helpful in picturing the history that took place on the fields. I have heard they do a full scale reenactment every five years.

We also saw the Panorama painting of the famous battle. It was very similar to Atlanta's Cyclorama of the Civil War. We were pretty pooped by this time, so didn't stay long. But long enough to appreciate the art and the historic setting.
These next two are a couple of my favorites from the day: Happy Connor in the green, green grass and then a contrasting colors shot of the monumental hill on a blue sky day.

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