Geek Nation Tours is proud to announce the third in our series of Signature Battlefield Tours. Waterloo 2015 – the 200th anniversary of the battle – is sure to be an informative and breathtaking tour. Join us as we explore the battlefield. We will climb the 226 steps of the Lion Monument to see the spectacular view, explore the fantastic Visitor’s Centre and see the Waterloo Panorama painted by Louis Dumoulin. We will visit strong points like the Hougoumont and la Haye Sainte farms, museums dedicated to both Wellington and Napoleon, while also walking as much as the battlefield as possible.
The goal of Geek Nation Tours Signature Battlefield Tours is to get you on the battlefield and we will return often to the field itself to explore this powerful place. Our wish is for you to see the hallowed ground where one of history’s most important battles took place, capturing more vividly in your mind the point in time when nearly 150,000 soldiers joined in battle.
As is customary on our Battlefield Tours we will have knowledgeable guides that take us from place to place to recreate one of the greatest military clashes Europe has ever seen. We will be shuttled in comfort by professional motor coach drivers and personally greeted by our Geek Nation Tours representative upon arrival.
This tour will be dedicated to the memory of Donald Featherstone (20 March 1918 – 3 September 2013), one of the fathers of modern wargaming, and as such there will be much of interest to those in the hobby. One of our guests of honor, Dave Taylor, of Dave Taylor Miniatures and a budding Napoleonic enthusiast will be along for the ride. Dave is best known for his significant contribution to the painting side of wargaming and has won numerous Golden Demons, Crystal Brushes, and other painting awards. We encourage you to check out his blog! Dave will reminisce about his time in the hobby and provide us his thoughts on everything from battlefields to colour schemes. Want some tips on painting? Dave will also be giving us a tutorial on how to paint miniatures and you will return home with some fantastic tips on how to make your tabletop games all the more awesome. Not enough? Well, we think that Mr. Featherstone would have wanted us to do some wargaming, so Dave and Geek Nation Tours are working on getting some dice rolling more on that soon!
Geek Nation Tours is pleased to announce that Barry Hilton of the League of Augsburg, Beneath the Lily Banners, and Republic to Empire will be joining us on our tour as battlefield guide. Barry has visited Waterloo a multitude of times and did extensive research on both the time period and the battle itself. We are very excited about having him aboard as our guest guide. For more information about him and his projects visit his main site at: http://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/ and his blog about Napoleonics at: http://leagueofaugsburg.blogspot.co.uk/ or if you would like to take part in his forum discussion about the tour visit: http://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/fightingtalk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=5808
Talking about miniatures, we will have loads of free ones for you on the trip. We hope to supply you with some fantastic models more on that soon too! We also are working on a second guest of honor so return to the site often for more info.
Join us then, as we re-live the battle of Waterloo and have loads of fun while doing it. Together, we will march the fields where Wellington commanded the Anglo-Belgian-Dutch forces and was reinforced by the Prussians led by Blucher and where Napoleon himself attempted to re-build his French Empire.
The stage was set and the players in position; the weather began to improve and fires flared-up; the first notes of the overture hung on the air as irregular fusillades proclaimed the cleaning and drying of muskets – Donald Featherstone
This tour is dedicated to the memory of a father of modern wargaming Donald Featherstone (1918 – 2013)
Day 1 Sunday June 14th – Arrival Day
Today we will arrive from all around the world to Brussels. You will be given detailed instructions on how to meet up with the rest of the tour participants at our hotel (note that you’ll always be in constant contact with our representative). From there you will have a free day to explore all that Brussels has to offer. Belgium is known not only for some of the finest cuisine in the world but for their first class beer. Or perhaps you would like to visit the Grand Palace or the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. Or maybe you would like to do something lighter and visit the Moof Museum dedicated to cartoon characters!
Whatever your pleasure you’ll find it in Brussels – and when everyone has arrived, your Geek Nation Tours representative will join you on our first day’s exploration of Belgium.
Don’t be too late getting in or back to the hotel however. We will be having our “Welcome Dinner” tonight. This is a great time to get to know each other and discuss in detail what we will be doing over the next days.
Day 2 Monday June 15th – First day on Battlefield
Today will be our first day on the battlefield. We will leave our Brussels hotel via motor coach to start our exploration of the area. Our goal today is two-fold. First to examine the days leading up to the battle at Waterloo and second to explore the Prussian manoeuvres earlier in the campaign. To that end we will start and end with the Prussian army today. Our first stop then, will be Ligny where Napoleon first clashed with Blucher and the Prussian army. Here we will see the windmill at Bussy where Blucher and Wellington met to discuss the coming battle and visit The Gérard Museum – an old farm that served as a hospital after the battle – that tells the story of Napoleon’s final victory.
From Ligny we will travel to the second battle that took place on June 16th – Quatre Bras – where the French under Marshal Ney first met Wellington. We will visit the area where Van Bijand defended the Gemioncourt Farm, the remnants of the Bossu Woods and the Brunswick, British, Belgian and Dutch army monuments. If we have time, we will also visit the Roman Road from Frasnes which was the scene of d’Erlon’s futile march back and forth from the fight at Ligny.
Our next stop will be Genappe where a brief but dramatic cavalry skirmish which marked the only real engagement of June 17th. Here we will visit The Caillou Museum which was Napoleon’s bivouac on that night where we can see his bed and map table, and where breakfast was set for the Marshals of France. The museum also commemorates the Dutch and Belgian participation in the war. The village itself has a rich history in this campaign as it is not only on the route of Wellington’s withdrawal to Waterloo but also where the French army retreated to after the main battle on the 18th.
We will follow the Prussian retreat to Wavre where the army was forced to withdraw on the 17th prior to advancing on Waterloo the next day. We will lunch here before moving on to the Bois de Paris where the Prussians entered the battlefield. Here we will discuss the difficulties experienced during the Prussian advance and view the challenging ground they encountered as they hurried to the main battlefield.
After that, we will head off from the Bois de Paris on our first walk around the battlefield. We will visit monuments and have our first real glimpse of the Anglo-Dutch left flank. We will eventually be picked up at Papelotte by coach and we will visit a local restaurant for dinner prior to making our way back to Brussels. Evening meals are very important to us at Geek Nation Tours. They provide an opportunity to review the events of the day, build friendships and enjoy the camaraderie of your fellow tour-mates.
Day 3 Tuesday June 16th – Exploring a Brewery and Dave Taylor’s tutorial
Today we will explore a Belgium brewery and to experience some of the best beer in the world. Beer will be the drink of the day and we will even have a contest or two Perhaps we will set-up a battle using nationally appropriate beer from all the combatants of the original Waterloo Perhaps we will help you drink your way to victory. Don’t worry it will all be in good fun and non-drinkers will be able to take part also.
Later in the afternoon Dave Taylor will give a tutorial back at the hotel. Our goal is to make sure your Waterloo battlefield experience helps you with your miniature wargaming at home on a multitude of different levels. Join us as we get tips on how to better paint our miniatures and to how to make our wargaming experiences second to none.
This is a great day to have some free time too! For those not wishing to join us on the day’s excursions you will be free to explore Brussels on your own. We will get together for more Belgium beer and cuisine later in the evening (dinner on own).
Day 4 Wednesday June 17th – Second day on Battlefield (French Line)
Today we will walk much of the French Lines. We will continue our battlefield explorations on foot and will start at the French left flank and the Aigle Blessé or Wounded Eagle Monument. Here Napoleon’s elite checked the Allied pursuit at the battle’s end. We will continue on to L’Observatoire de Napoleon (Napoleon’s Vantage Point) which was Napoleon’s forward command post and which has a great view of the eastern part of the battlefield. About 150 yards away from the observation point is La Belle Alliance – the French centre – where Wellington and Blucher met after Napoleon’s defeat. Our journey will afford us extraordinary views and we will see Mont St Jean and the Butte du Lion to Fichermont from the French perspective and walk to Papelotte on the far French right.
Finally, we will make it to Plancenoit, where the Prussians finally pushed through the French lines. Like Hougoumont, it proved a critical bastion which stalled the Prussian advance and denied them access to French army’s rear. Plancenoit changed hands a number of times and is an appropriate place for the monument to the Prussian dead.
From Plancenoit we will again board our motor coach and head north back to the town of Waterloo itself. Here we will visit the excellent Wellington Museum in Waterloo village, where he lodged before and after the battle, and where he wrote his dispatches. Across the street is St. Joseph’s Church where we will see many plaques and epitaphs to the memory of those who fought in the battle. Here you will be free to lunch, browse the shops and take in the festivities.
Prior to dinner we will head back to Brussels and our hotel and again enjoy the wonderful Belgian food and beer on Geek Nation Tours.
Day 5 Thursday June 18th – Third day on Battlefield (Anglo-Dutch/Prussian line)
This day commemorates the anniversary of the battle and as such we are hoping to take in many of the celebrations occurring today. However, first we march! We will start at Ferme la Papelotte and continue to Frischermont. At this point we will be on Wellington’s left flank and we will discuss how two of his most important bastions fell to the French advance. We will continue our march and pass two other important features of the battlefield – the sandpit (now a clump of trees or a turn out) which was held by the 95th Rifles and what is left of the ridge of Mont St Jean (much of it was removed to build the Lion Monument) behind which Wellington concealed a large portion of his army from the French. Here we’ll also find La Haye Sainte – the centre point ‘ington’s line – where one can still view musket holes in its walls. There is much to see in the area as we look for Sir Thomas Picton and Sir Alexander Gordon’s memorials.
From here we will walk to the Butte du Lion to take in the best view of the battlefield. Our guide will describe in detail the dispositions of both forces with the goal of having the battle come alive before our eyes. The hike up the mound is not for the faint of heart but once you step on the 226th stair the view will make the journey all worthwhile. We will also visit the famous Waterloo Panorama – painted by Louis Dumoulin – first seen in 1912. We will also see the wax museum and marvel at the life size recreations of many of Waterloo’s famous personages. You will have a bit of free time here for lunch and to look around the Hamlet prior to us continuing the journey down the Anglo-Dutch line. While we walk, we will discuss where Maréchal Ney made his valiant, but ultimately ineffectual, cavalry charges.
We hope to end this day’s battlefield walk at the famous Château Hougoumont – arguably the most important point on the battlefield. Hougoumont was a great breakwater where the French threw assault after assault and was one of the keys to Wellington’s victory. Today is a special day however! Project Hougoumont has saved what was once a badly preserved compound and today we are hoping to experience the inauguration and opening of this newly restored valuable historic sight. The celebration will include a ribbon cutting ceremony and military bands from all the nations present at the battle.
NOTE: Geek Nation Tours is still working on this aspect of the tour and hope to hear from the organizers about this day shortly. It is possible that the inauguration is a private affair and thus not open to the public. If this is the case we hope to visit shortly after this takes place. Either on Day 5, 6 or 7. Further, it is possible Project Hougoumont will not have the restoration completed. If this is the case we will visit the outside of this historic place and get a feel of how the attacks played out. A slight price modification may happen if we are allowed to attend
At the end of our explorations and we will head back to Brussels for an odd beer and more of that delicious Belgian cuisine on Geek Nation Tours.
Day 6 Friday June 19th – Re-enactment Day 1
Today we will return to the Battlefield and continue to participate in the official celebrations. Today we will see the opening of the Bivouacs where we can visit the living history tents and military camps. These visits offer a deeper look into the period and give participants a wealth of knowledge about medicine, weaponry and other important aspects of life at the time. You may want to meet a re-enactor and learn about their passions and the Bivouacs are the best place to do this.
Today is also the first day we will visit the official re-enactment. While preparations for the event are still happening Geek Nation Tours has secured the best viewing experience possible. The tour will include a Hospitality VIP viewing package for each tour participants. This will include a reception, VIP seating, a VIP village meeting area dinner and drinks for both Days 6 and 7! Thats right! WE WILL HAVE DINNER RIGHT ON THE BATTLEFIELD ITSELF!
The Waterloo 2015 committie released this to Geek Nation Tours:
“Bataille De Waterloo 1815 is planning impressive Napoleonic reconstructions on a scale that has never before been seen in the world: 5000 participants, 300 horses and 100 forms of artillery. All of these actors for a re-enactment that promises to be Epic, Thundering and Colourful!
The Attack of the French Army:
The French Army, more than Seventy thousand strong, sets off to attack the hill where the British troops are positioned with enthusiastic cries of “Long live the Emperor” ringing out. At the top of the hill the French troops are met by the Belgo-Dutch army that is keeping the British army, lying in ambush behind the ridge, out of sight. Hard fighting follows until the British troops emerge and fire at close range on the Imperial Guard. At the same time heavy fighting is raging at the top of Mont-Saint-Jean. The outcome of the battle is uncertain…”
Day 7 Saturday 20th – Re-enactment Day 2
Today we will return to the Bivouacs and later in the day we will again be treated to dinner and witness yet another phase of the 1815 battle re-enacted in VIP comfort.
“The Reaction of the Allies:
The battle is concentrated around the Hougoumont farm, a fortified farm that has been strengthened by the British as they fear a French attack. The fighting starts under the loud roar of artillery fire and results in a blood bath. Thousands lie dead and wounded. Under fire from the British, the Guard “dies but will never surrender”. Napoleon flees to Paris, leaving the victors, Wellington and Blucher, to celebrate their victory together in the Belle Alliance farm.”
Day 8 Sunday 21st – More Official Celebrations
Today we will continue exploring all that the official celebrations have to offer. We will travel again to the battlefield or Waterloo Township. This day is currently in planning but return often to this site to see what we will be up to. Most likely this will be a free day to explore the battlefield and the area on our own. With that said, we keep you appraised of what the Waterloo historical society may have planned this day.
At the end of the day’s adventures we will return to Brussels and meet for a final Farewell Dinner.
Day 9 Monday 22nd – Departure
All good things must end, unfortunately, and today we return to the airport and depart for home. Geek Nation Tours will give you detailed instructions on how to connect with your return bound airport and airline. The photos, memories and friendships you made are yours to keep forever!
What is included: Local Guides, All hotel stays, Entry fees to most venues, Welcome and Farewell Dinners, daily breakfasts, 5 additional dinners, walking and motor coach tours and loads of other stuff including VIP viewing to both days of the Waterloo re-enactment.
What is not included: Air, airport and some local transfers. Some charges at restaurants. Note that entry into Hougoumont is not currently included into the tour cost. There may be some additional costs associated with these events. If needed GNT may need to charge for these events prior to departure or while in destination.
Price – 9 Day Tour (per person based on double occupancy): $3699.00 USD + 7% Canadian Goods and Services Tax ($258.93)
Single Occupancy Upgrade for 9 Day tour: $900.00
Don’t have a friend to get the double occupancy rate? That is what Geek Nation Tours does. Book as a double occupancy and we will match you up a roommate… This way you get the best of both worlds – someone to BS about the con with – and more cash to spend!
Deposit: $750.00 per person upon booking
Final Due: February 10, 2015