And after 200 years have passed since this battle the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they hear “Waterloo” is
Waterloo has a visitors center where for a fee you can climb to the top of the Lyon Butte monument, watch two films and check out the “panorama”.
The films were in French with English subtitles. The first had some good graphics and information on what exactly happened at Waterloo – the number of troops, their fomations and the timeline. What it really told me is that the game of Risk is not much different than how battles used to be fought. The second film was the abridged version of a 1970 film titled “Waterloo” This kept our attention for two reasons – one it starred Christopher Plummer. You are never quite sure if it really is him until the credits but much time was spent studying his character each time he appeared on screen. The second point of interest were the horses – lots of horses, they ran so fast together and they had quite a few stumbling and falling. Whatever the horse stuntman were paid – the film makers certainly got their money’s worth. Of course we told the kids the movie was made back when they didn’t have animal rights laws. We jest.
About 20 years after the battle a big dirt pile was made with a statue of a Lion overlooking the battlefield. Not sure of the exact feet or meters but it is 226 steps up. The warning sign says you should be “fit” before attempting. At the top we spent some time making sure our hearts didn’t fall out of our throats and then we admired the countryside. Or the best preserved battlefield in the world, according to the literature.
The Panorama was a fancy building with a 360 degree painting/giant diorama. In it’s day it was perhaps quite an accomplishment, now it is a big dirty painting. To endear itself to us even more – there was scaffolding over a quarter of it. I’m sure the action captured it close to the real thing but when over half your painting is sky? I think some corners were cut.