Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Visit to Belgium

On the weekend of 2/3/4 October seven representatives of East Midlands BNP, including five from Leicestershire, travelled over to Belgium at the invitation of Andrew Brons MEP.

We travelled to the town of Waterloo where we were to stay overnight arriving around 8pm following an 11 hour coach and ferry journey.

We started the following day with a visit to the Wellington Museum where we took a very informative self guided tour.

This Museum is situated in the former stagecoach station where the Duke of Wellington stayed between 17 and 18 June 1815. We visited the Duke's bedroom, the office where he wrote his 'Victory Report’, and his aide-de-camp’s bedroom. Various other rooms have each been dedicated to an army, and include authentic relics, documents, etchings and weapons of the various nations that took part in the combat. In the final room, the phases of the Battle are depicted through a series of illuminated diagrams, and there is also an impressive collection of rare weapons, such as 'La Suffisante', a 6 pounder cannon, manufactured in 1813, which was retrieved from the battlefield.

That afternoon we were taken by Coach to the site of the Battle of Waterloo. We were first given an overview of the battle by Eddy Butler and then made our way to the visitor centre to watch two films. The first film, ‘Waterloo, History of a Battle’, captured what life as a soldier was like and showed the movements of the troops with 3D maps and scenes shot during a re-enactment of the battle.

The second film relived this historic moment through a selection of clips from the film ‘Waterloo’, made by Russian director Sergei Bondartchouck in 1970.

We then made our way to The Lion Mound, a monument dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives on 18 June 1815.
At the top of the Mound stands an enormous cast-iron lion weighing 28 tons.
We made our way up the 226 steps to the summit which is just over 134 feet high and admired the breathtaking view over the battlefield.

Our next stop was the panorama which houses a huge canvas which measures 361 ft by 39 ft and is a lifelike depiction of the battle situation at around 4pm on 18 June 1815, complete with sound effects.

Finally we headed into the Wax Museum which has figures depicting Napoleon and his generals on the eve of battle, Wellington and the Prussian commander Blucher.

We finished the day with a meal at the Le Bivouac de l'Empereur, an restaurant dedicated to Napoleon where you are transported to another moment in time. A huge fireplace, candles, and music from the 19th century created a unique atmosphere.

On the Monday the 4th we travelled to the European parliament in Brussels.

We were met by Andrew Brons MEP and taken into the parliament chamber (known as the Hemicycle) where a Latvian parliamentary official explained how the parliament works. Mr Brons then gave a short speech.

Next we went into one of the meeting rooms in the reception centre where the official gave a short presentation and there followed a question and answer session with Andrew Brons. Andrew and his Constituency Office Manager Chris Beverley then each gave an address to the audience.

Finally we made our way back to the UK arriving in Leicestershire around 10pm.

We would all like to convey our thanks to Andrew Brons MEP for the invitation and to Chris Beverley for organising such a superb weekend.

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