Two weeks in Belgium, much to the mirth of my friends.
Saturday 5 September 1992 - Saturday 19 September 1992
This was a proper two week holiday from work. I decided to go to Paris for a few days and then onto Belgium. I travelled on an overnight bus (no tunnel back then) both there and back. Not the most comfortable given that they still allowed smoking on buses back then as well.
I stayed in Paris for about four days seeing the sites, including La Defense, Bois de Boulogne and other interesting bits of the city.
Palais du Luxembourg, home of the French Senate.
Typical traffic at the Arc de Triomphe.
Les Invalides. Napoleon Bonaparte in entombed under the dome.
An interesting sculpture at the Beaubourg Centre.
The River Seine.
La Grande Arche de la Défense.
The Lac de Inferieur.
The restaurant and the Lac de Inferieur in the Bois de Boulogne.
From Paris I caught the bus to Brussels. I stayed there and used a rail pass to visit various other parts of the country.
Brussels. This is the headquarters of the EU (wall to wall bureaucrats, and chips with mayonnaise!!) and has some interesting sights / sites.
The Grote Markt, (Market Square).
The Town Hall, Grote Markt.
The House of the Dukes of Brabant.
The Atomium at Heysal.
The museum in the Grote Markt.
Ypres / Ieper / Wipers. This was the scene of extremely bloody fighting during the First World War and was totally destroyed. Ypres is dotted with cemeteries and memorials to the hundreds of thousands who died in the surrounding area.
The Cloth Hall, Ypres. Completed 1303, destroyed 1914 / 1918 and rebuilt between 1933 and 1967.
The Cloth Hall, Ypres.
The Menin Gate. Engraved on the walls inside are the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the immediate area and have no known grave.
Inside the Menin Gate.
The old fortifications and canal in Ypres.
The Ramparts Cemetery.
Antwerp is an ancient city, having been named in the 4th century AD. It is Belgium's most important port.
The Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp.
The citadel in Antwerp.
Peter Paul Rubens outside Antwerp cathedral.
The guild houses in Antwerp.
Liège is an important city in the Walloon speaking part of the country.
The museum in Liège.
Spa is the site of hot springs, known since the 14th century.
The parish church in Spa.
The springs in Spa.
Autumn colours in Spa.
Namur. The capital city of the Walloon (French) speaking part of Belgium and is situated on the Meuse River.
The citadel in Namur.
Namur and the Meuse river.
The citadel in Namur.
Dinant. This is another ancient city and is also situated on the Meuse River.
The citadel in Dinant.
The River Meuse running through Dinant.
The Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame.
Bruges (or Brugge in Dutch). Another beautiful canal based city in Belgium.
The gateway to Bruges.
A typical Flemish styled building.
One of the many canals in Bruges.
Another canal in Bruges.
Waterloo. I have always been fascinated by the Napoleonic Wars and this was my chance to visit the scene of the final act. The site has changed a bit since the battle, especially the building of the Lion Mound in 1820. Sort of spoils it a bit, but gives excellent views as it is in the middle of the British lines on the top of the ridge. The museum and gift shop are good although they seem to forget who actually won the battle.
The Duke of Wellington's headquarters in the village of Waterloo.
La Haye Saint farm house as viewed from the top of the Lion Mound. The sloping ground up to the British lines is clearly shown.
The Chateau de Hougoumont, a key British fortification.
The view from the French lines up the hill towards the British lines.
The La Haye Sainte farm house, another key British position.
La Belle Alliance, meeting place of Wellington and Blucher after the battle.
The overnight bus back to London was still uncomfortable, but at least it was a non smoking bus this time.