The battle that changed the course of history

Who knows what the present would look like had Wellington not vanquished Napoleon at Waterloo. Perhaps the Brits would be enjoying croissants for breakfast instead of blood sausage. And Waterloo would be a euphemism for victory instead of failure.

This month marks 200 years since Napoleon suffered his final defeat on the battlefields in Belgium, and the region is commemorating this bicentennial with great fanfare. You can be a part of the celebration with AutoVenture, where your private guide will escort you by private car to the key sites, museums and monuments, while providing an expert narration about one of history’s greatest battles.

You’ll begin in the center of the village at the Wellington Museum, which served as the Duke's headquarters on the nights of June 17 and 18, 1815. You can see where Wellington wrote his victory report, as well as documents, etchings, weapons and souvenirs of the various nations that took part in the combat.

Then journey south to the 120-foot-high Lion Mound, where you can overlook the battlefield itself. The 226 steps to the top are steep and narrow, but very much worth the effort if you wish to make the climb. In addition, you’ll tour the newly restored Hougoumont Farm buildings, all readied for this year’s celebration.

At the foot of the mound, you will find the Waterloo Visitor's Center, which features a new show that further explains the context of the battle and how it shaped Europe. Next door, the Panorama (built for the centennial celebration) houses a huge, circular painting of the battle by the French painter Louis Demoulin. The immense, circular painting puts the visitor smack-dab in the center of a realistic, three-dimensional battlefield.

With all of the hullabaloo surrounding this year’s festivities, you’ll appreciate the experience even more with your personal, AutoVenture guide providing an insider’s, chauffeured tour.

For those unfamiliar with Belgium, an AutoVenture guided tour is the surest way of getting closest to the culture, and of capturing an unforgettable land.

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Visit AutoVenture, booth 818, at the Home Based Travel Agent Forum in Las Vegas and enter to win an authentic Australian boomerang and $100 Amazon gift card.

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