Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Jennie Arrives....

Jennie arrived on Sunday morning (August 19th) and we hit the ground running! I knew I needed to keep her awake as long as I could to help her adjust to the time difference and jet-lag.

Our first stop was to my apartment and to then to the farmer's market held every weekend at the end of my street. The market has really become one of my favorite things in my neighborhood and Jennie LOVED it! You can get anything at the farmer's market....everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, meat, quiche, cheese, bread, and even clothes and toys! I love it!

We made our way to the 'chicken man' and selected a yummy rotisserie chicken and roasted potatoes. Then we found the 'veggie man' to get fresh green beans (Jennie taught me how to cook them!!) and as we were leaving we picked up a loaf of french bread....doesn't that all sound so European??!! Anyway, the finale was stopping by, my favorite, the 'waffle man' making fresh waffles! While at the waffle stand we ran into my friend Julie who lives just right up the street from me! She too was having her Sunday morning ritual, a Belgian waffle!

As we chatted with Julie we talked her into joining us in Paris!! Who could say no to that!? She was on vacation as well and had planned on going to Paris on Thursday; however, she wanted to join us while we toured Versailles on Tuesday! So after we planned our Versailles tour, Jennie and I headed back to my apartment to have this incredible lunch we just picked up at the market. We initially thought we would have it for dinner but the smell was just too good to wait...so lunch it was!

After lunch we headed out to Waterloo to see the battlefields where Napoleon was killed. The city owes its fame to the Duke of Wellington and to the battle which took place on June 18, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo was fought between the French, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington from Britain and General Bl├╝cher from Prussia.

Although the fighting mostly took place in Braine-l'Alleud and the surrounding areas, history commemorates it under the name of the "Battle of Waterloo" with its monument, the "Butte du Lion" (the Lion's Mound). The actual battlefield lies at about 5 kilometers south of the city, in the nearby village of Mont-Saint-Jean.

The French defeat at Waterloo drew to a close 23 years of war beginning with the French Revolutionary wars in 1792 and continuing with the Napoleonic Wars from 1803. There was a brief eleven-month respite when Napoleon was forced to abdicate, exiled to the island of Elba. However, the unpopularity of Louis XVIII and the economic and social instability of France motivated him to return to Paris in March 1815. The Allies soon declared war once again. Napoleon's final defeat at Waterloo marked the end of the Emperor's final bid for power, the so-called '100 Days', and the final chapter in his remarkable career.

While I have been to the city of Waterloo, I had not made it to the Waterloo battlefields and I was unsure of exactly where the battlefields were located. So once we arrived in Waterloo I pulled over and programmed the GPS. I searched for what I thought was the Waterloo battlefields and off we went. As we were driving I noticed we were basically making a circle and ended up exactly where I had originally pulled over. Then I looked up and noticed we were right in front of the Museum of the Waterloo battles, which happened to be location I 'mistakenly' programmed into the GPS!!!!!! We both died laughing! I know I am not telling the story exactly how it happened....nor can you really appreciate just how funny this was! After we caught our breath we looked over and saw a yummy pastry shop and decided we deserved a little treat!

We eventually made it to the Lion's Mound and admired it from the car! What a trip! Jennie was beginning to fade on me, so I got her back home and to bed at a decent time to get some rest before we headed to Paris the next day!!!

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