Brussels – Flower Carpet Weekend

My hubby had a 100km Death March this weekend in Bornem, Belgium. He was doing this walk with guys he met through work. His buddies were staying in Brussels, so I decided to find a cheap hotel and stay relatively close to them. Ended up finding an apartment right downtown, walking distance to everywhere, and only 70€ for the night. Great price, amazing location, so I couldn’t say no.

So I start researching what to do alone with the kids for an entire day and a half, when I come across the Flower Carpet that happens every two years in Brussels, happening this weekend. I’d forgotten all about it, and remembered I wanted to find a time to go see it this year – now I got the chance. Since it happens only every second year, I wanted to make sure to see it before we head home.

Packing ourselves in one backpack for myself and the three kids, off we head to Brussels. Took us about 25 minutes to find a parking garage, and then ten minutes to walk to our apartment. John had to leave fairly quickly, so we met his friends at their hotel, walked to the train station, kissed him goodbye, and off they went. And off the kids and I went to explore!

First stop was the flower carpet. First though, we had to push through the hundreds and hundreds of people in our paths. Finally we got to the front of the barrier, and oh how beautiful the carpet was! It is 75m long, and 24m wide, begonias filling the ENTIRE thing. There are over 600,000 flowers so tightly packed that they are unable to blow away – they make their own little microclimate. It is something to see alright! If it was less packed I could have easily just kept walking around it.

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The carpet takes place in the Grand Palace square, so the entire area is filled with beautiful architecture, amazing details on every building around. It’s stunning to see. I would love to come back one day when the carpet isn’t happening and just sit and have a drink in the area!

For today we had had enough and was ready to head to our hotel to relax. Instead, we realized how hungry we were so we searched food. Found an alleyway full of restaurants, so we found one that had the best offer and ate there. 12€ for mussels and fries and a drink for me, and 10€ per kid for chicken, fries, salad, and a drink as well. Kids were so hungry they ate everything – Nathan as well!! Fueled for a little while longer, we walked around enjoying the area. There is just so much to see!

The next morning we headed off to Mini Europe and the Atomium for something specifically for the kids. We had a ridiculous amount of fun (see the Mini Europe post), then headed back downtown to meet a very good friend of ours from Petawawa who just moved to Europe. Our main thing to see was the Flower Carpet from above. So we waited I  a line for almost forty-five minutes before we got to pay. It was 5€ a person, but the man just let the kids go through free, which was great! Finally we got to the balcony, and I was so glad we waited in the line! The view was spectacular! To see the designs properly, the vibrant colors – wow! The kids kept saying “the flowers are beautiful!”. It was nice to see them enjoying something I thought would bore them!

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After staring at them for about 15 minutes, we made our way down and back into the crowds. Another big thing to see in Brussels is the Mannquin Pis – a fountain of a naked  little boy who looks like he is peeing.. I wanted to go see what all the fuss was about. For such a popular statue, it is very small. Unless you get close, it’s not even easy to see. Cool to say we have seen it though. The boys thought a fountain that look like peeing is hilarious though lol Everywhere you turn there are souvenirs of it. They even have chocolates made to look like the little boy – kinda weird! I read that during special events in Brussels the mannequin wears costumes that represent a specific holiday or event – he even “pees” beer when something special happens, or a special event. Actually, that would be kind of cool to have a beer, gotta admit. Kind of a once in a lifetime beer, no?

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After walking around a little more aimlessly, it was time for our friend to leave and us to go pick up John after his march.

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