Napoleon Gets Everywhere!
I am currently working on the third book of the Aikenhead Honours Trilogy. It’s the story of the youngest of the Aikenhead brothers, Lord Jack Aikenhead, and it’s set in France during the Hundred Days between Napoleon’s return from Elba and the Battle of Waterloo. The story is called His Forbidden Liaison and will be published next year.
Napoleon certainly got around Europe. There are reminders of him all over the place. I’ve blogged before about his impact on Venice, where the French conquest ended the Venetian Republic in 1797.
Recently I was on the Danube, researching the Congress of Vienna and the various locations for the second book of my trilogy, His Reluctant Mistress. Vienna is a wonderful city and I’d like to go again, to spend a lot more time in the places we had to race through, like the Spanish Riding School and the Belvedere.
While we were on the Danube, we also spent half a day in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. In the days of Napoleon, it was called Pressburg, and was part of the Austrian Empire. It’s a delightful city, very small, but well worth a visit. The old part is like a smaller version of Prague with the same types of buildings and the same sweetie colours to them.
My surprise in Bratislava was in the main square, outside the French embassy, where I encountered this:
And from the front he looks like this, calmly gazing across the square. What I don’t understand, though, is why one foot is bare, and the other is booted. Anyone got any suggestions?
The locals don’t seem to object to his presence the way the Venetians did. Maybe it’s their sense of humour that accounts for the bare foot? That humour is certainly everywhere. Here’s my favourite example of Bratislava sculpture. I came round a corner, and there it was, on the edge of the pavement, coming out of a manhole. It made everyone smile.