Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Austerlitz - The Santon

This small round hill was at the extreme left of Napoleon's battle line. It came under infantry attack during the battle, but was held throughout.

After a cold, wet and muddy morning tramping the fields we were reluctant to leave the warmth and comfort of the Post House, where there was a plentiful supply of local wine to wash down our excellent Santon Cannonball lunch.

It was only when we were offered a lift in the minibus that we agreed to carry on with the afternoon tour. The delay meant we had to abandon the walk to the Santon, but everyone had more than enough of muddy fields to last a lifetime - let along a day.

Once on the Santon we were full of enthusiasm for the tour, and a little guilty that we had missed part of it.

More photos here

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Austerlitz - Post House

The Austrian and Russian General Staff used the Post House on the night before the battle. No doubt the scene of the staff briefing at which Kutuzov fell asleep which was so well described in "War and Peace". On the following night Napoleon met there with his Marshals to issue orders for the pursuit of the beaten allied army.

We arrived there wet, tired and cold after a long morning walking the battlefield in the rain and mud. We were soon seated on one of the long wooden tables in front of a roaring fire with a "Santon Cannonball" and a bottle of local wine in front of us. Those of you who have had the delight of a meal at the Post House will, I am sure, remember the "Santon Cannonball". Its a large, round, white bread loaf with the inside removed and replaced with a very tasty goulash. Just what we needed.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Austerlitz - Zuran Hill

The view of the battlefield from the Zuran Hill, which was Napoleon's command post during the early stages of the battle, are to Austerlitz what the Lion Mound is to Waterloo. Not an eyesore, but an excellent viewing platform.

Despite the far from perfect weather the whole of the left and centre of the battlefield was laid out before us. From the Santon on our left, to the Post House directly in front and the Pratzen Heights on our right. True the area around Telnitz on the far right were out of sight, and true also that in the early stages of the battle this was a critical area. But the main French attack would be launched on the Pratzen Heights and this was an ideal observation platform for the coming attack.

This week covers our visit to Zuran Hill and the walk accross the battlefield to the Post House a mile or so away.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Austerlitz - Schlapanitz

Having spent four holidays walking Wellington's battlefields in Portugal and Spain we were in need of a change. We had wanted to visit Austerlitz for a long time, so when we heard that Midas Battlefield Tours were offering a four day walking holiday of Austerlitz we signed up. This is the first of a series of visits to Napoleon's battlefields in Austria, Germany and Czechoslovakia.

The new blog is called Walking Northern Europe

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Last day in the Pyrenees

The last walk of our holiday was a return visit to the Maya Pass. We had put this one off twice during the previous week, waiting for better weather. It did not arrive, so we went anyway. It was cloudy and overcast as we arrived, and it got worse. We spent a couple of hours walking the area, but then the light rain turn heavy, and we were forced to abandon the visit.

The weather had been less than perfect throughout our two week stay in Sare. We had a few good days, but more often than not it was grey skies and light rain. Not what I was expecting in the south of France in July.

We do a lot of hill walking in the UK. We have walked in Scotland, Wales and the Lake District. So we are not strangers to exploring the great outdoors in dismal weather. So it would not be true to say that the weather had spoiled our holiday, though it had made it more challenging.

This was our last visit to Portugal and Spain, or so we thought. We had spent four holidays walking Wellington's Battlefields in the Peninsula, and felt we had done the job quite well. We had never been to Spain on a "normal" holiday, and when we left Sare on 5 July 1996 we quite expected it would be the last time we would see it. Little did we know that ten years later we would be living here as residents.

Our next battlefield tour would be to Austerlitz.