So first things first– my apologies that this is going out a day late! I started a new job last week and with the holiday I somehow just did not get around to writing in time for Tuesday. So Wednesday surprise! We’ll be back to our new posting schedule next week. I’ll let you in on a little secret: in Italy because of the time change I was posting at 7 PM so if I ran out of time the week before I had plenty of time that day or even evening. Not so here.
Anyway, recently I planned while traveling to return to Brussels. I wanted to add a French-speaking destination to my itinerary and I just lucked out and ended up in the city right when their annual flower carpet festival was going on. I had traveled to Brussels previously, but only briefly, for about 24 hours and so I figured I would hit the museums and walk around. The flower carpet was a total bonus and a complete coincidence. The flower carpet is composed of petals, created every other year in August and stays up only for a couple of days. You can see the volunteers as they scoop the petals out of the boxes and arrange them on the ground. I’m not sure how they get the petals to not fly away–originally I thought they used whole plants but it’s just the petals, stored in big boxes and arranged the day before the festival officially begins.
The design changes every festival; this year’s design was created to commemorate the anniversary of Turkish immigration to Belgium and so the flower carpet was designed like a traditional Turkish carpet. You can go up to the balcony of the Hotel de Ville which… I do recommend, but keep in mind that it’s pretty packed out. In my experience, it wasn’t the coolest experience because they are constantly yelling at you to keep moving. You have a decent view on the ground, but for 5 euros it’s worth heading up to the balcony to get a better view of the pattern they create. Here’s a BIG HINT for you: prebook your ticket online IN ADVANCE. Once the festival begins you can’t buy online and will have to wait in the massive line, whereas if you have a ticket you bought you can skip most of the line. So it’s definitely worth the effort to prebook. Below you can see that they have also incorporated the flower theme into the wreaths that are decorating the building.
You can definitely see the theme in the carpet, both at ground-level and above.
The photo above’s from about the mid-point of the balcony.
I don’t know that I would recommend a specific trip solely for the purpose of visiting the flower carpet but if you are already in the area I would recommend stopping by! Brussels is the kind of city that you can see in a day or a week or a month, depending on the kind of traveler you are, but my experience this time is a good reminder to always check for what’s going on locally… you never know what you might run into!