The Carpet of flowers, Mini Europe and Atomium
- Recommended for:
- Cultural, Family, Short Break, Budget, Mid-range
On 14th August this year 800,000 bagonias lay on the cobblestone floor of the Grand place, like a rich tapestry, the kaleidoscope of petals amaze and delight, add the date to your diary.
Travelling to Brussels.
I travelled to brussels from the eurostar terminal at Kings Cross costing £69. The beauty of this ticket is that if you make the journey on the same day as you travel you can go up to Bruges, Ghent, Ostend and Antwerp. All are beautiful cities in there own right and have something to offer the traveller. Besides this the ticket allows you to get various 2 for one offers at museums and eating places. You can find out more at www.eurostar.com.
I purchased a Brussels ticket which includes free entry to more than thirty museums, cafes and restaurants including transport. The price for this is 24hrs for 24e,48hrs for 34e, and for 72hr 40e. The tickets can be booked online www.brussels.be. In my next guide I shall be listing some eating places and a place that has addictive mushroom ice cream, so keep watching for my guides.
On 14th August this year over 800,000 bagonias will lay on the floor of The Grand place in Belguim. The reds, yellows and pinks look like one vast tapestry and when the square is bathed with golden light, the bagonias take on a luminous quality, their scent mingling with the fresh summer breeze, tickling the nostrils. Fireworks pop like champayne corks, as stars shoot out and fall onto the velvety petals. The buildings in the square seem to took on a lacework effect as patterns of light come through the gothic windows and archways. From the balcony of the town hall the bagonias looked like one huge piece of embroidery and for 3 euros the view was well worth it, children under 12 went free. The carpet was designed by Antoine Durieux, a young belgium designer. It takes a year in advance to plan and many drawings have to be done. Originally the idea came from E Sautautemans who graduated from Ghent Horticultural college who started making these floral carpets all over europe.
Brussels City sightseeing tour
This bus runs every thirty minutes from the central station and visits the European Parliament, Cinquantenaire Park, while at the same giving people flavours of the East seeing the Japanese tower. A tall attractive pagoda. There are many vast palaces with impressive facades and grounds. Along with the Antiques area where there are some beautiful pieces, the bus goes pass some fashionable shopping areas and galleries. It is possible to get off and join the bus at any point, and there is no time limit on the tour. Prices for this are 20.00 for an adult, for students and pensioners 18.00 while children pay 10.00e.
The Manneken pis is known as le petit Julien and is situated at the junction Rue de l`Etuve and the Rue de Chene Eikstraat. It is easy to find, if you take the left lane next to the town hall by the grand place, it is a short walk to the junction. The legend has it the boy was woken by a fire, so he put it out with his urine. and this helped to stop the kings castle from burning down. He has a wardrobe of over 800 costumes that he wears on different days of the year and they never fail to amaze the crowds that visit. They can be viewed in the museum of the city of Brussels. The statues wardrobe began to grow between 1918-1940 when he received more than thirty suits. The statue is a lot smaller than I imagined it would be But he is popular, there are keyrings, lighters, charms and many things you can buy in the statues shape.
The Music festival.
At this time there is the Belguim Music festival and you can hear strauss waltz`s, Glen miller and jazz being played throughout the city. This takes place from 10th - 19th August and there are plenty of surprises, childrens shows, magicians and people doing robitics, dressed as statues, these will surprise and amuse.
Oceade has a tropical temperature of thirty degrees and is a fabulous water park in the Bruparck area and it has large wave machine with a variety of different types of waves. The water playground is 160 metres and it is 5 metres high. There are mini and giant tobbogons where you can go through water rapids, streams, geysers and jets. Great fun. Then for the adults there are steam rooms and saunas. Most of the park is inside but there is an outdoor park and to get to it you have to go through a plastic flap. Lockers are available with a time of up to four hours, but if you do stay over this then you end up paying 1e. There is a combination ticket that you might want to buy that goes with another popular attraction Mini Europe. The website: www.oceade.be are running special promotions for the cost of this. Normally a trip to mini europe and oceade would cost 31.30 for adults and chiildren over twelve, but with the promotion it is 25.70e For children under 12 it is normally 24.40e now it is 19.30. Of course you can just go to oceade, but the two attractions work out to be very good value.
You can see the whole of Europe in less than a day. The doge`s palace with the Gondolas settling in the waters by it, the Acropolis and the houses of parliament, The Atomium, Colesium, Grand place and the Carpet of flowers are all there in this fascinating park. It makes you feel rather like guillver in lilliput. See the eruption of vesuvious, watch the fall of the Berlin wall and a bullfight in seville, and then take part in the interactive display on the history of the european union. I would say this is definitely on your list as must sees. Find out more at www.minieurope.be
This is a really interesting shaped building that has been designed in the shape of an atom featuring a viewing platform where some superb views of brussels can be seen, including mini Europe. Its interior is looks every much like aspace ship and a hollywood film set, very space orientated. It quickly became an icon for the universal exhibition expo in 1958 and was created by Andre Waterkeyn. It grew in popularity and became a museum and exhibition centre. The cost of visiting is 11 euros and it is right next door to mini Europe and Oceade. Children can stay overnight and can arrive at 6pm on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday with adults, and they can stay in the childrens`s sphere which has a plasma screen TV and DVD, and they have an evening meal . Breakfast in the morning is in the panoramic restaurant and is followed by a guided tour. Then they leave at ten in the morning an interesting time for everyone involved. A night in the atomium is 25.00. You can combine a trip to Mini Europe and this costs for individuals Children 15.20e, teens 20.30e adults 23.30e, senior citizens 20.10e.
A shop that keeps the flemish tradition is gobelins Art. The designers for the tapestries get their inspiration from Monet and other famous artists and are made into wall hangings bags, purses and rugs. Lace is sold here and many beautiful pieces of design. Silver charms of different momuments are available to buy. Although pricy, it represents the best in tapestries and the shop offers is situated at Rue Charles buls 6 1000 Brussels, just a walk off the grand place.
Hostel Jacques Brel
While I was there I stayed in the Jacques Brel hostel. This is a warm friendly place with easy access to the public transport and shops. There are theme nights and plenty of entertainment with concerts. The bar caters for beer lovers it has a large selection of many flavours and tastes. Barbecues can be enjoyed on those warm summer nights. An organic breakfast is served each morning and other dishes are homemade. The hostel has some vending machines wirh a shop.
Being very close to the Brussels midi station and you take the metro going in the direction of Simonis Elizabeth. Get off at Bontanique, taking the Rue Royal direction of the city and then take the 2nd street on the left.
It is near the city centre and a lot of the main attractions with plenty of shops and there is an antique market nearby. It is in a good place for the museums, one being the one for musical instruments and the museum featuring the surrealist artist Magritte, There are the galleries of San Hubert and the Cathedral of St Michael and many more sights besides. There is another interesting museum featuring the Comic Strip and many walls featuring cartoons on the side of buildings in the city. The museum is on the Rue des Sables 20 1000 and well worth a visit.
I hope that if you visit Brussels you will find it as vibrant and exciting as I did, and love all the diversities that this city offers. I for one am tempted to return and see the Carpet of flowers and visit plenty more museums, and enjoy mini Europe once more.