Day 5 - Thursday 14th November
The day started off with rain so it changed our plans a bit. We decided to drove up to have a look at the new Ascenseur Funiculaire that was built to replace the four original ones. This one works on a completely different system. There are still two giant steel containers that a barge sails into & once this is sealed in the whole thing is lifted straight up on a series of cables & counterweights. We were lucky enough to see the system work while we were there, twice. Unfortunately the visitor centre was closed for the winter so we didn’t get to go to the upper level but we weren’t too worried as it was raining & a chill wind was blowing.
We were well into Ascenseurs & canals now so we decided to head up to another type on the canal about fifteen miles, probably on the other side of the hills. This one is called the “Plan Incline De Ronqueries”, basically an inclined plane or slope. The barge is moved into the lock, a big steel bath tub, the ends are closed to seal the water in & then the tub is simply hauled up the slope to the top. The door at one end is then opened to let the barge sail into the canal. There are two sets of slopes & tubs, one for moving barges up & the other down. Simple really just a bit weird to see big tubs rolling along with a barge in it.
We parked in the big car park next to the Ascenseur with plenty of signs warning about leaving stuff in sight when leaving the car but also right in the corner was the burnt out remains of a caravan, very sad. I didn’t see any signs warning about this happening. Fortunately we didn’t go far as once again the visitors centre was closed for the winter.
As we had moved a bit further North than planned we were only about twelve miles from Waterloo we opted to pop up & see where the famous battle was fought. I have to admit I don’t know much about it other than Wellington defeat Napoleon there. The good thing was that we found a McDonalds there so we had lunch & used their Wi-fi & toilets.
Waterloo turned out to be quite a big & brassy town not quite we expected. We eventually found the great big mound with the lion statue on the top after leaving McDs but on the way the engine warning light lit up on the dash. In the car park at the monument site a quick look in the Peugeot manual said to take it to the nearest dealer. Luckily there is one listed in Waterloo so off we went back into town only to notice that the warning light had gone off, so we turned around again & went back to the monument.
The monument is quite impressive with this massive earth mound with a stone lion right at the top. There is an underground visitors centre which was open so we paid our €15 each to go in. There’s a well set out display of all the soldiers & military paraphernalia & a 3D film theatre all underground. After the film we moved back up above ground inside a big round building with a giant panorama painting of the battle stretching 110mtrs around the wall. Lots of battle noises & flashing lights.
It was nice to get out into the fresh air although the light was fading fast. Still time for me to make my lonely way up the 226 steps to the top of the mound. Sad to see graffiti scratched into the marble of the lion statue but some nice views of the countryside all around. No real sense that a battle ha occurred here in 1825 though. Now I’ll have to do some research to find out what it was all about.
It was gone 5pm by the time we came out & getting dark so having been given permission to park up in their car park for the night we settled down for a quiet night. Well it would have been quiet apart from the traffic noise from the motorway beside us.
Mileage today - 39
Total mileage - 376