Editor-in-chief Alex Karpov
Chief Sub-editor Konstantin Kinash Creative Director Luba Karpova Advertising Director Viacheslav Kozyr
Contributors: Alex Karpov, Bjørn Furuseth, Gilbert Menne, Johan Wildhagen, Konstantin Kinash, Liubov Sukharieva, Luba Karpova, Nina Onishchenko, Phil Thomason, Rostyslav Segeda, Terje Rakke, Viacheslav Kozyr, Viktoria Mazur, Walter Roggeman
Design and layout Konstantin Kinash Editorial Coordination TTI Club “Crystal Lotus“ vzw Belgium, 8400 Ostend, Duindoornlaan 216 Tel.: +32(0)59 612030 +32 488 331775 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tticlub.org Founder - Alex Karpov Ukrainian Office: TTI Club Ukraine Ukraine, Kyiv, Charkivske Chaussée 152, off. 27 Tel.: +38(096)6537675 e-mail: email@example.com
VOLUME 06 2012 EVENT TOURISM MAGAZINE © ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page. ~ St. Augustine 2
CONTENTS: EVER...? 4 6
Picking tea in Nilgiri Mountains Northen Lights
DESTINATION 8 14 18 19 20
Interlaken: a winter fairy tale Arctic Norway The Nothern Lights The IceMusic Festival The Japanese Ski Season: when, where and why?
8 Interlaken: a winter fairy tale
Three top-class ski regions within easy reach, sledge runs and snowshoe tours from relaxed to energetic, an adrenaline kick with winter paragliding and a varied events calendar: the Interlaken holiday region is where winter dreams come true.
ANNOUNCEMENTS 24 25
Asahikawa Winter Festival Ice Sculpture Festival Brugge
CHRISTMAS VACATIONS 26
Lviv as the heart of Christmas atmosphere
Waterloo, a battle that became a legend
26 The Japanese Ski Season: when, where and why? Japan is renowned for its thick powder, and so if you’re going to bother making the trip for skiing, you will want to go when it’s at it’s best, so when is that?
Lviv as the heart of Christmas atmosphere 3
Three top-class ski regions within easy reach, sledge runs and snowshoe tours from relaxed to energetic, an adrenaline kick with winter paragliding and a varied events calendar: the Interlaken holiday region is where winter dreams come true. 10
Ski in a top-class winter sport region and stay in an attractive small town: Interlaken’s conveniently central location and favourably-priced accommodation make it particularly attractive in the colder months too. The holiday resort is the ideal starting point for trips into the Jungfrau Ski Region. A ski bus takes guests to the valley stations in the three regions, each with magnificent views of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau massif. The quieter ski regions of Beatenberg and Axalp are ideal for families. Snowshoe tours by new moon and husky-drawn sledge rides can be rounded off with a tasty cheese fondue. Rustic pisteside taverns and inviting bars offer cool après ski sessions. Boats will ply Lake Thun for the first time in winter. And in December, the local Christmas markets will spread an Advent ambiance throughout the entire region.
Christmas magic in Interlaken Interlaken’s traditional Christmas market is held at the beginning of December. This year, the popular market will be given a fresh look. From 8-9 December 2012, the quality of the market offer will be made even more appealing by a uniform stand concept with tiny wooden ‘chalets’ and market stands as well as a range of activities. The market stands will be attractively decorated, drawing passers-by with the spicy aroma of mulled wine and delicious Christmas biscuits. Handicrafts will also be on sale. A carousel, blacknosed sheep and a youth band will bring Interlaken’s streets to life. Every year, the woodcarving village of Brienz welcomes Advent with an atmospheric Christmas market, one of the most picturesque in the whole of Switzerland. Urs Grueb is the founding father of the Christmas
market in Wilderswil (16.12.2012), which focuses on the true meaning of this festive season.
Switzerland’s longest New Year’s Eve Interlaken’s New Year celebrations are legendary. The small town celebrates Switzerland’s longest New Year’s Eve with a free open-air concert, a firework display and a tradition shrouded in myth. The threeday event is a mixture of elegance, romance, party and tradition. A gala dinner on New Year’s Eve takes guests into the New Year in style. On 1 January, the free open-air concert “Touch the Mountains” and the following New Year’s firework display always attract some 25,000 spectators. These are followed by an after- party with live music and a buffet à discrétion. Masked Potschen figures take to the Interlaken streets on 2 January. The scary figures with fearsome
masks drive out the evil spirits. After the Harderpotschete procession, the selfcarved masks are put on display and awarded prizes.
Touring with huskies and llamas Winter 2012/2013, will see huskydrawn sledge rides offered on Beatenberg’s sunny plateau for the first time. The powerful, yet friendly dogs pull the sledges through snow-carpeted countryside with stunning views of the Bernese Alps and Lake Thun. Participants leave the sledges on steeper sections and tramp through the snow with the huskies. The professional dog handlers from the Husky Adventure company have fascinating facts to tell about the animals. An excursion into the winter landscape on the back of a llama promises an exotic ambiance. The tours are carried out individually on request.
Sledging adventure by day or night The traditional Starlight Sledging on the Niederhorn takes place every Friday evening during the winter season. Fondue fun waits for night owls in the Berghaus mountain restaurant at 1950 metres above sea level. Fuelled by this tasty Swiss speciality, winter-sport fans are ready for the night-time sledge run down to the Vorsass intermediate station, where they enjoy mulled wine and punch in an attractively prepared barn. Sledging by moonlight is also to be had in the mountain village of Saxeten above Wilderswil. Guests first walk up to Alp Nessleren and then enjoy a 4-km-long sledge run. A stop for mulled-wine followed by a tasty fondue at the end of the run ensures that the inner man is well catered for. Daytime sledging on the Niederhorn makes an attractive alternative. A postbus service operates daily between Interlaken and Beatenberg, where the trip continues by aerial gondola to the Niederhorn. The sledge run leads
down to the intermediate station at Vorsass, always with panoramic views of the Eiger, MĂśnch & Jungfrau. The excursion can be made even better with lunch or an afternoon snack.
Family skiing fun on Axalp and Beatenberg Whether the peaceful mountain idyll of Axalp or the sunny plateau of Niederhorn with its mountain panorama: the two family-friendly ski regions offer charming rustic huts, restaurants and a variety of runs for all ages. Interlaken guests can travel to Axalp free by ski bus. Both ski regions are easy to reach and reasonably priced ski packages make them particularly attractive.
Insider tips for the region A snowshoe trek takes place every Wednesday along the Woodcarving Trail on Axalp. A chairlift takes participants to the starting point of this easy tour. A gentle descent is followed by the trek along the Woodcarving Trail back to Axalp.
The views of Lake Brienz are as impressive as the winter-white figures carved in tree stumps. After around a two-hour tour, hungry trekkers are served traditional melted cheese and a cheli (coffee schnapps) at romantic Chruttmettli. The ChemihĂźttli Restaurant with its one-off host Ruedi Rubi is a true insider tip. A night-time stroll with aroma specialist Markus Metzger is another enjoyable adventure. He takes his guests to energy hotspots where he celebrates an incense ritual. In the mountain village of Habkern, night-time sports enthusiasts can make an easy snowshoe trek by new moon, including fondue and mulled wine. The endless expanses on Lombachalp above Habkern are a paradise for nature lovers and fans of cross-country skiing. Natural ice rinks, the first indoor skiing facility in Switzerland, fondue evenings with musical entertainment and well prepared hiking trails round off the wide range of winter activities on offer in the Interlaken holiday region.
ARCTIC NORWAY Northern lights. Midnight sun. Svalbard. A dazzling array of exciting activities. Arctic Norway is unique in many ways, and never fails to fascinate.
The North Cape, Europe's northernmost point, remains a goal for many travellers to Arctic Norway, and crossing the Arctic Circle is only the first step on the long journey north. Whether you are venturing north in search of the northern lights or the midnight sun, as a wildlife enthusiast or a keen golfer, on a cruise or on land, the region has something different to offer. Tee off at TromsĂ¸ Golfpark, the world's northernmost course; join a giant crab safari in Kirkenes; go dog sledding or snowmobiling in Lapland; or take the trip of a lifetime to Svalbard to see the polar bear in its natural habitat. Like the polar explorers who travelled to Arctic Norway before you, you will be awed by this fascinating destination. Are you ready for the adventure?
Seeing the northern lights, or the aurora borealis, as they are also known, is a jaw-dropping moment, and Arctic Norway is one of the best places on Earth to observe this unique, striking natural phenomenon. The lights are at their most frequent in late autumn and winter/ early spring, between the autumn and spring equinox, although the best time to travel is from December to March. From December onwards, the weather dries up, and there is normally plenty of snow, a great time to experience the polar nights with atmospheric evenings and very short days. In February and March the days lengthen, meaning travellers see more of the snow-clad landscapes during daytime, while the evenings still offer maximum chances to spot the northern lights.
The driest weather, giving clear skies, is found inland, statistically providing the best chances, but with strong eastern winds, the coast can be clearer than inland areas. The full moon and places with a lot of light (eg cities) should be avoided as they make the experience considerably paler.
Svalbard Located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole, the Svalbard archipelago is unique, and draws nature enthusiasts from around the globe, who come here to experience true untouched arctic wilderness. This fragile environment is home to the polar bear, but also other mammals such as the Svalbard reindeer and the arctic fox, as well as walruses,
Northern lights. Midnight sun. Svalbard. A dazzling array of exciting activities. Arctic Norway is unique in many ways, and never fails to fascinate.
Lavvo on the Finmmark mountain plateau C.H. - Visitnorway.com
seals, and a number of bird species. Activities like ice-caving, snowscooter safaris, cross-country skiing and dog sledding are popular in winter, while bird-watching, cruising, hiking (including glacier walks) or sea kayaking are among the summer activities on offer. A visit to one of Svalbard's old mine settlements can be undertaken year round.
Cruising Arctic Norway One of the best ways to see Arctic Norway is on a cruise. Crossing the Arctic Circle just north of Mo i Rana at 66° 33’ 44’’N and standing at the North Cape, Europe's northernmost point at 71° 10' 21"N 25°58’29’’E are highlights for many travelling north in Norway. Hurtigruten (the Norwegian Coastal Voyage) follows the Norwegian coast from Bergen
all the way to Kirkenes in Arctic Norway. Stops along the way include the Lofoten and Vesterålen islands, Tromsø, Hammerfest and Bodø, with daily shore excursions to make the most of the trip. One can, for example, go on a king crab safari in Kirkenes, join a Viking feast at Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten Islands, go dog sledding or join a snowmobile trip in Lapland. Cruises to Svalbard are offered by a number of operators (includingHurtigruten) and make for a truly unique experience, travelling deeper into Svalbard than land travellers usually do, and getting closer to the local wildlife.
Wildlife safaris Nature lovers will be spoilt in Arctic Norway, whose rich wildlife
makes forunforgettable encounters. There is a great variety of species here, many unique to the Arctic, and much to see, whether you have a passing interest in wildlife or are a dedicated bird-watcher prepared to spend hours in a hide observing a particular's species behaviour. Highlights include sea eagle safaris in the Lofoten Islands; whale-watching in Vesterålen; bird-watching (including puffins) in Varanger or Røst; and polar bear and walrus spotting in Svalbard.
Sami culture The first Sami arrived in Northern Scandinavia 11,000 years ago. At one with nature, Sami lived in tents (lavvo) and turf huts whilst they followed the reindeer. Reindeer herding is still central to Sami
Woman and Sami man with reindeer, Finnmark Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
Surfer at Unstad, Lofoten CH - Visitnorway.com
Lofoten Johan Wildhagen - Visitnorway.com
culture, and crucial to the subsistence of today's Sami, providing meat, fur and transportation. Reindeer sledding is popular in Finnmark in winter. The first encounter with Sami culture for most travellers, however, often takes place by the roadside. Sami selling souvenirs, including colourful local costumes, shoes and hats, reindeer skins, knives and handicrafts, are a common sight in Arctic Norway. Karasjok is the Sami capital of Norway, and home to the Sami Parliament of Norway, a Sami theme park, and some 60,000 reindeer in the autumn and winter months.
Festivals in Arctic Norway • Tromsø International Film Festival, Tromsø (Jan) • Northern Lights Festival, international music festival, Tromsø (Jan-Feb) • Polar Jazz, the world's northernmost music festival, Longyearbyen, Svalbard (Feb)
Driving snowmobile in Kirkenes, Finnmark Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com
THE NORTHERN like a fine wine, has been some time in the making... LIGHTS Watch nature's own theatre unfold above you as the most spectacular light show takes centre stage: The northern lights with you in the front row. Northern light, Aurora borealis Photo by: Bjørn Jørgensen - Visitnorway.com
Arctic Norway is the best place in the world to see the northern lights, according to the director of tourism in Norway, Per-Arne Tuftin. He promises a spectacular display this winter. - Come to Norway this winter and you will witness nature’s own gala performance, Tuftin says. Last year he declared war against his Scandinavian neighbours, claiming the northern lights as Norwegian. - Norway is in the centre of the northern lights zone, so the probability of seeing the lights is very likely on any cloud-free night between October and March. Though the northern lights are visible in other countries, Northern Norway’s easy accessibility and optimal conditions make it one of the best places on Earth to see them, Tuftin claims. The strength of solar activity runs in 11-year cycles; and 2012 and 2013 happens to be a peak moment known as “Solar Maximum”, with experts predicting plentiful and spectacular displays. So if you always wanted to
see the northern lights, 2013 will be the best time in more than a decade. To see the celestial disco in its full glory, you will have to head north towards the Arctic, above latitude 60 degrees for the
best sightings, even if it occasionally can be seen further south. The best time to see the northern lights are between October and March after dark.
The IceMusic Festival, â€“
where aesthetics, music and nature melt together. The Ice Music Festival is a festival where everything is made exlusively from snow and ice. Festival is a unique, artistic and musical project that takes place annually at the first full moon of the year. This festival is tribute to art and nature, and to one of the most important recourses in the world - water.
24 - 27 January www.icemusicfestival.no
Frozen Water The festival venue is located near Geilotjodnet at Kikut, 4 km south of Geilo (Norway). All premises are set by the nature, with the majestic mountain landscape of Hallingdal as itâ€™s surrounding scenery. The weather is essential for the Ice Music Festival. The quality of the ice depends on the winter conditions and the sound of it vary as the temperature differs. Therefore, every concert is a unique experience. The festival is in the mercy of the nature where the moon decides the time and the weather decides the music. The IceMusic Festival gathers artistic expressions that all share a connection to ice. Art, architecture, dance, photo, design, sculptures and music.The IceMusic Festival is a meeting point for artists and audience to experiment, develop and to be inspired.
Photos by: BjĂ¸rn Furuseth
THE JAPANESE SKI SEASON WHEN, WHERE AND WHY?
The ski season stretches from as early as mid-November, to as late as May, but going at either end of the season means only a few runs are open with man-made snow. Lower altitude ski fields only last from around December to March. Japan is renowned for its thick powder, and so if youâ€™re going to bother making the trip for skiing, you will want to go when itâ€™s at itâ€™s best, so when is that?
WHEN TO GO?
WHERE TO SKI?
Getting there around early January will allow you to catch the better part of the snow, while avoiding a lot of the crowds that rush in. But be aware, that period is often the Chinese New Year, so the slopes will be packed with Chinese tourists making the most of their break. This is around the time that you will find the sweet powder you flew all that way for. I know that during this time is the prices will skyrocket, but again, those willing to travel all that way for snow should be willing to bear the cost. If youâ€™re really keen you could simply wait until a bit later in the season and book last minute savings; but make sure to check the snow reports and make sure the weather favors you.
There are a number of choices when thinking of where to station your ski holiday and realistically it comes down to two really good choices. The first is Niseko on the Northern end of Japan. This village has a more Western vibe to it while still offering a traditional Japanese experience in other respects. So while you can get a traditional Japanese meal here, and even a prepackaged hot-dog with mustard and tomato sauce (traditional strange Japanese creations); you can still get a good slice of pizza and an English speaking ski instructor. Second is the great Hakuba Valley, with over 200 runs and ten resorts, this 30km expanse of mountains
Hakuba-Happo winter resort 22
has everything you could want from Japanese Skiing. This area, however, is much more Japanese than Niseko, in the sense that it has more culture and less foreign support. It would be a good idea to travel to this area with someone who speaks a bit of Japanese, or pick up some basic terms before you go. From what Iâ€™ve heard, though, this area offers the best snow in all of Japan; just watch out because it can get very crowded for that reason with Japanese skiers over their holidays, which usually fall around December/January. There are many other mountains around Japan such as Shiga Kogen, Sahoro, or Tomamu, but these two are my pick.
HOW JAPAN MEASURES UP: There is no discrepancy here, Japan is the best place I have skied in, and I’ve been through Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand. I haven’t heard any different from anyone who’s gone there; once you experience powder, you never go back. Skiing in Japan wins in any case, simply because of their unique culture; you never find a disgruntled employee, their food is unique and delicious, and you can find the most random creations this planet has come up with there. You would struggle to find a better atmosphere, or better snow anywhere else on this planet. So what are you waiting for? The Japan ski season is nigh; I couldn’t think of a better way to spend some of that hard earned cash.
Gurutto Horikawa Meguri in winter
Ikawa Ski Resort
Mukaitaki Ryokan in snow 23
Asahikawa Winter Festival 6 - 13 February 2013 www.asahikawa-tourism.com
One of the most famous festivals in winter in Japan, the Asahikawa Winter Festival is certainly worth taking a look at if you happen to be in Asahikawa at the start of February. For all intents and purposes the festival is an eye pleasing mix of light, ice and snow with visitors able to see fireworks, laser shows, ice sculptures, a massive snow stage with music and dance acts, as well as having the opportunity to sample some of the local food, and drink some very cold beer. The festivalâ€™s activities are centered in Tokiwa park where you will find a large number of ice sculptures, lights, displays, laser shows, and food and drink stalls. From here itâ€™s a short walk through the park to the river bank where you will find the massive snow stage. More food and drink here. Next to the main stage is a huge ice slide to keep the kids (and the kids at heart) entertained for hours. This is also a prime location to watch the fireworks which are fired over the river. So there you have it, 5 days of snow, ice, light , lasers, music food and drink. Considering it costs you nothing to get involved, what better way to enjoy yourself during the cold Asahikawa evenings.
Ice Sculpture Festival Brugge Every year, Bruges proudly presents the Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival hosted at the railway station. It is a must-see and very unique winter experience in Europe. Three hundred thousand kilos of ice and 400 tons of snow are shipped in and professional ice sculptors work hard to carve the most beautiful glacial creations. After your adventure through the ice you can enjoy a heart-warming glass “in the rocks” at the ice bar or warm up in the nostalgic tent of mirrors
25 of November 2012 6 of January 2013 www.icesculpture.be
Bruges is proud to announce a world first: its own unique interpretation of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit! Ice Magic in ice and snow will take you on a cool and fantasy world full of emotions and adventures. Discover the magical world of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit during this extraordinary exhibition. A fascinating adventure, a surprise-packed voyage of discovery in the fantastic world of snow and ice! After your adventure through the ice you can enjoy a heart-warming glass “in the rocks” at the ice bar or warm up in the nostalgic tent of mirrors.
Lviv as the heart of Christmas atmosphere Planning winter holidays, it is quite prudent to keep in mind the local traditions of places where you intend to go. Western Europe celebrates Catholic Christmas, but nearly ignores the New Year Day. And, no wonder, few European people celebrate Orthodox Christmas. On the contrary, the majority of Russian and Ukrainian cities traditionally prefer New Year festivals, while Orthodox Church usually waits for Christmas till the 7th of January. There is only one proven way to find a compromise between two different cultures. Come and celebrate winter holidays in romantic Lviv, as here they last for nearly a month! Lviv is quite rightfully considered to be one of the most interesting cities in Western
Ukraine. It looks like a city from Middle Ages, which managed to survive in modern Europe. During Lviv's century long history its walls have witnessed crusades and invasions of European and Asiatic monarchs. However, most of them couldn't even enter the city, because of outstanding bravery of Lviv's defenders. Right according to its famous motto: «Semper fidelis» «Always faithful», Lviv has always stayed true to itself and to its customs. By the way, today there are dozens of various nationalities and confessions in Lviv, which coexist quite peacefully with each other. With the winter's coming, the whole city is filled with expectation of New Year. Even if you are extremely busy and pay no
“Lviv has always cherished it’s traditional Ukrainian culture, that’s why the celebration of Christmas is very special here”
attention to the things happening around, you can hardly miss the New Year Tree, suddenly finding it in the morning in front of your house. Everything is colorful and bright. People hang holly wreaths on their doors, city's streets are covered with snow, while decorations set up the holiday mood. In the beginning of December, the Christmas fair is traditionally opened and this is the very first sign of upcoming holidays! Lviv proved to be the capital of folk festivals in Western Ukraine, giving it the character of a real medieval city, where people prefer to spend their free time at bright fairs and open-air celebrations. Lots of them visit friends and congratulate each other, gathering at huge festive tables. It is impossible not to join this common fun. Such authentic medieval mood can't be hindered even by modern comfortable European hotels. While you are in
Lviv, Internet will surely lose the usual attractiveness for you. You will open the browser only to search for dates of festivals or to check for another authentic ÂŤknaipeÂť (This is the German word they use in Lviv to call pubs). It is the middle of December... You leave your unsorted luggage in the room and hurry out to the frosty street, sprinkled with snow like icing sugar. The sun is shyly looking out of the clouds, illuminating the circling snowflakes. You pass through an ancient arc, then past medieval buildings with outstanding fretworks and come to the square in front of Lviv Opera. This is the very center of winter celebrations! The whole month you have a unique chance to see (as well as buy) the outstanding masterpieces of skilful local tailors, jewelers, ceramists and smiths, who present their artworks at the Christmas fair. The central square in front of Opera Theater is covered with little
wooden houses offering all those treasures. Even taking a quick walk along this shopping heaven, you can hardly escape ending up with a large package of delicious cookies and a cup of hot beer, traditionally prepared with honey and spices. And, of course, you wouldn't escape getting bright memories and impressions. Christmas fair is just the very beginning of the festivals' kaleidoscope. On the 19th of December, Lviv celebrates the day of Saint Micholas, as well as official opening of the main New Year Tree. Quite naturally, children enjoy this weekend enormously. Saint Micholas cordially greets his little fans and generously gives them sweets and presents. During these days, a lot of various events, fairs, auctions and exhibitions take place in Lviv. Expositions are subject to separate discussion. For enthusiasts, always in search of something unusual, there are dozens of state and private
art galleries. In specific exhibitions you can see collections of unique Christmas decorations, as well as dozens of variations of Advent stars and Didukhs. By the way, have you ever heard about Didukh? It is an unexpendable symbol of New Year and Christmas in Ukraine. According to the folk tradition it should be made by your own hands. This is a worthy reason to visit one of master classes, where you will learn how to create your own Didukh out of wheat and ribbons. The main Didukh of the city (also being the largest one) could be seen on the Christmas Eve, when two meters sculpture is solemnly
carried with festive parade along the city's central streets. For Christmas baking there is a special holiday called Pampukh's Day. It's better to skip your breakfast this day, otherwise, you wouldn't be able to try all kinds of pastry at the festival. Lviv's pampukhs are really delicious and worthy your attention. Some of them are sprinkled with icing sugar and chocolate chips; others are filled with nuts, jam or vanilla. The tasting of local cookies and a walk from one show to another usually takes the whole day. Puppet-theatres present Christmas Nativity shows, guisers perform folk dancing. Everywhere around
you can see bright and colorful paper stars, happy people and enjoy hearing the Christmas carols. On your way back, close to your hotel you will notice a shining Christmas shopka. Inside the improvised cave one can notice the God's Mother, as well as the crib, ship and the Magi... Groups of tired but happy people are passing you by, speaking different languages. Dark romantic sky is covered with shining stars. That is when you understand - what a wonderful weekend! Photos: Tourism Department of Lviv Regional State Administration
A BATTLE THAT BECAME A LEGEND 18 June, 1815. Thousands of men from many nations fought and died with great courage on that day, in one of the bloodiest battles in history. Every year, during a weekend close to the historical date, an important re-enactment evokes Napoleon’s defeat. Gilbert Menne
The Campaign in Belgium After his escape from the island of Elba where he was in exile, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris and regained peacefully power on 20th March 1815. Declared an outlaw by the Allied Powers at the Congress of Vienna, the only
choice for the emperor was to organize very quickly a large and strong army and take the initiative before the Allies joined their forces. The only troops against him were stationed in the south of the Netherlands, at the present time Belgium. Under the command of Arthur Wellesley, duke of Wellington, the Anglo-Dutch
army comprised 96,000 men and 219 pieces of artillery; the Prussian army, under command of marshal Blücher 123,000 men and 304 pieces of artillery. With his force of 122,000 men and 374 pieces of artillery, Napoleon estimated that he could vanquish separately these two armies, and then, after entering Brussels, start negotiations with the Allied Powers. This plan was well conceived but failed for several reasons. After a rapid advance, the French army engaged the Prussians on 15th June in Ligny, near Charleroi, and it became a half-victory with Blücher’s retreat. Napoleon thought that the Prussians were completely defeated and did not chase them immediately with a part of the army under command of Grouchy. This decision was a major error. In fact, as agreed with Wellington, the Prussians were going to operate together with the English at their position to the south of Brussels and the forest of Soignes, on a large plain between the villages of Mont-Saint-Jean, Brainel’Alleud and Plancenoit, after
the battle called “Battlefield of Waterloo”.
Waterloo, a legend is born The fantastic French cavalry charges against the English squares, the final advance of the Imperial Guard, the sacrifice of the last French Guard square, all these images are present in the memory or imagination of a lot of people around the world. Is Napoleon greater in the defeat as in his many victories? It’s not easy to find some tourist souvenirs of Wellington or Blücher in the shops of the battlefield. Why is it difficult to find reenactment groups wearing other uniforms than French, even if they are British? The Napoleonic legend began with the battle of Waterloo and it is not to end soon.
Re-enactment of bivouacs and battles of
Every year, the Province Walloon-Brabant and
some regional partners organize, during a weekend close to 18th June, Napoleonic bivouacs and stage a battle. More than 1,200 uniformed soldiers coming from Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Rumania, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine. Bivouac places are set up: the French at the museum “Last Napoleon Headquarters” (Genappe), the English, Dutch and Prussians in some fields in Plancenoit. Visitors can meet the historical re-enactment groups, plunge into an imperial atmosphere and obtain explanations concerning the bivouacs, the weapons and the equipment, witness the preparation of the meals and re-live everyday life scenes in a camp: rifle and cannon shots, inspections, relief guards and patrols following each other. On
the battle takes place between Allied and French troops. Other activities are scheduled: the Chief of Staff’s dinner, a Napoleonic market, guided tours, retreat of the troops in the centre of Waterloo, torch lights, first aids demonstrations for the wounded soldiers with tools and typical techniques from the Napoleonic period.
Informations The 2013 re-enactment of the battle and the Napoleonic bivouacs will take place on 22 and 23 June. Maison du Tourisme de Waterloo Tel.: +32 (0)2. 352 09 10 www.waterloo-tourisme.be
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Published on Dec 16, 2012