17 Mar 2011

WATERLOO MY HOME TOWN

Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

Letter "W"

As you probably know I live in Belgium, in Waterloo which has made history, because Napoleon has lost his battle against Wellington and the most important European countries and had been exilated after that.

Many people ignore this fact and often relate Waterloo rather to the Abba song "Waterloo" with which they won the European song contest "Eurovision" in 1974.

My my, at waterloo napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
Waterloo - I was defeated, you won the war ......

The song doesn't describes the battle but it is a fact that ever since this song became so famous, it was very good for Waterloo City ! With the song came the tourists ! If 35 years ago there were only very few tourists visiting Waterloo and it's famous Lion, now there are thousands coming from all over the world and especially when there is the reconstitution of the Waterloo battle. (here on my travel blog).

When I was in London, people often thought that I talked about the Waterloo Station and that I would live nearby and they didn't know that this station had been named Waterloo in honor of the Duke of Wellington who had won the battle against Napoleon there.

I will not give a history lesson here or copy tourist informations, you can read everything in Wikipedia about Waterloo or just google ! you will be surprised how many links you will find.

Waterloo had been a little cosy town almost a village 37 years ago when we bought our property. Now it is very demanded as a "posh" area to live. It is not far from Brussels only about 15 km connected with a motorway. Therefore you could be in Brussels in 15 min, but this is only theory, usually it takes you more than 1 h on working days and during office hours.

A lot of Scandinavians, English and Americans moved to Waterloo, because English speaking schools like the St. Johns International school and the Scandinavian school, are in Waterloo. Waterloo residents take it easy, learn English and follow the decoration uses for all American holidays. Now you can find easter bunnies and father Christmas in all shops and all the food specialities of all the other countries. Even the famous English Christmas pudding which was almost impossible to get !

Waterloo is a very long stretched city along the main street and is not very large. Along the streets you have many boutiques and shops. Shopping malls are outside the city. During spring time, Japanese cherry trees are blooming and many streets are full of these trees.

We have a lot of parcs and woods around Waterloo and although the population has doubled and many new houses built there is still a lot of green space.

Waterloo is also rather calm concerning criminality. Of course there are lots of burgleries because of the huge villas and rich people living here, but street attacks are very seldom. Haven't even heard of any.

Our farmer who lives near our house meantime became a millionair with all these demands of properties. In 1973, one square meter (10.7) costed 15 € ( today you have to pay up to 200 € (279 $) !

The house were Wellington lived during the battle is in the center of Waterloo just in front of the church and is a Museum today. Old Waterloo residents when they were kids, used to play in Wellington's bed when it was still an empty house. Wellingtons bed is very small, today a 10 year old child would fit in it.

When it rains (which it does very often) you can walk in the small shopping galeries, full of quite expensive boutiques and shops.

From far you can already see the Lion of Waterloo. It was built on the bones of the fallen soldiers and women carried earth to cover them and build the hill. I don't know if that is true, but still it's a thrilling story. The Lion turns his face to England and his bottom to France because they lost !


18 comments:

Jo said...

That was an interesting history lesson (and geograophy thrown in) to me, Gattina. So the Duke of Wellington was a small man? I love this post and photo just clinches it! Have a good day. Jo

JDaniel4's Mom said...

A walk up to see the monument would guarantee a nap for JDaniel. Wish we could walk it with you.

Teresa said...

What a fascinating history lesson. It sounds like a lovely town.

Maribeth said...

Amazing history. I have always liked the song Waterloo and when I dance, (alone at home with the shades pulled down, lest anyone think I am a crazy woman), I often put on this song. It has such a good beat!

Ames said...

Love the information on your home town. Laughed at the lion pointing it's rear to France!~Ames

Jackie said...

I love the story of waterloo and Abbas song :) , have a great day Gattina!

A Lady's Life said...

Well this was interesting Can you imagine a battle taking place there with Napoleon Wow!

Like I said the streets there must be oozing with stories from days past.
We are very young here in terms of history.
:)

Sue said...

Waterloo sounds wonderful.

And it sounds like you bought your house at just the right time, too.

=)

Loree said...

That's one naughty lion. LOL I had no idea Wellington was so small. I always imagined him as a big man.

Judie said...

Gattina, this is a wonderful post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning something that I did not know.

Linens and Royals said...

That was so interesting, and you are lucky to live with such history everyday.
The story of the Lion is great, but he's a bit too high up to get many pats I think.

Su-sieee! Mac said...

The idea that the hill upon which the lion is perched may be the burial ground of solider is rather chilling. I think it's funny how the lion was placed. I'd do that too.

RedTedArt said...

The lion looks fabulous! What a cheeky story about his bottom!!! ;-)

Maggy

Gracie said...

I remember my visit there in 2001 with such great joy!

Jingle said...

fun take.

thanks for sharing waterloo and related stories.
cheers,

claudie said...

Nice to hear about Waterloo and its story! I begin to know a lot about your place since I read your book! Lucky farmer who became rich! Here too the ground cost a lot of money now! Can't wait your visit now! We had a marvelous sunny saturday and decided to walk in Sanary and take a drink on the harbour!

Pondside said...

Long ago, in the 80's and again in the 90's we stayed with friends in Waterloo. I remember being a bit awed by the neighbourhood and I wonder if it is still as elegant as it was.

Jenny said...

Waterloo sounds wonderful.

I really enjoyed the history lesson...it sounds like a beautiful, history steeped town.

Thanks for letting us visit!

And thank you for a wonderful link to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "W".

A+