Follow the Leader... a slight departure for Mr Hilton in the 200th Anniversary Year of Waterloo; 2015

Barry meets Geek Nation!
Atop the butte on a beautiful early summer day
I've said it before.. the internet is a wonderful thing. I was 'connected' to Teras Cassidy of Geek Nation Tours by Dave Taylor ex of Wargames Illustrated in the US. Dave thought I might find some common ground with Teras who runs an interesting 'hobby holiday' company focusing on wargaming vacations in exciting locations around the world - Geek Nation Tours.

Teras was planning an 200th Anniversary Tour vacation to Waterloo in 2015 and was looking for some input into the tour itinerary from someone who's been there and done that.

Looking at the ground trampled by D'Erlon's Corps

I have made a few visits to Waterloo over the years and several more to Belgium for business and pleasure. When Teras and I began to talk it was mostly about where to go, journey times, what else could be incorporated into the tour schedule and similar pragmatic stuff. Just a fun discussion and helping someone out I thought!

South gate of Hougoumont
After a couple of phone calls I had somehow agreed to be the tour guide! Well, actually the idea was forming in both of our minds as we talked at various times over the course of a few months. I am very interested in the Waterloo campaign, I have wargamed the battle often and in detail, I've written a set of rules for the period, I have visited and walked the field for over 16 hours in total, I have written several published scenarios for the hobby press, I am a frequent visitor to Belgium.. I think perhaps Teras was connecting all of these separate elements and thinking.. I've found my man! I was a bit behind him in the ideas chain!

One of our many re-fights. Republic to Empire game. 
I am actually looking forward to the challenge. The tour takes place in the all important anniversary week of the celebrations. It involves several visits to not only Waterloo and all of its attractions but also to other important sites in the 100 Days Campaign including Ligny, Quatre Bras, Genappe and Wavre. I understand the participants are based out of a hotel in nearby Brussels and that Teras intends for those lucky people to sample the best that Belgium has to offer in terms of hospitality, food and of course .. beer.

Still going strong R2E
Belgium has a completely unjustified reputation in the UK as being boring. I do not subscribe to that view. It is my favourite country in Europe bar none. It has the best food, the best beer (in the world), fine people, stunning architecture, a varied geography (the southern Ardennes is almost Alpine in its beauty) and more history that you could take in over a long lifetime. If I ever want another job I'll learn Flemish and apply to the Belgian Tourist Board who perhaps are the weak link in the chain.. how can they fail to promote such an international gem?

I expect to blog a little more about it soon and keep people posted.

I will look out my sun hat, rolled up umbrella and best walking shoes. Maybe even see some of you there!

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