The morning after a particularly intriguing evening in Brussels, I was feeling emotionally wiped and in dire need of an escape from the constricting walls of city life. I wanted nature. I wanted pretty things.

Earlier the day before, I had come across a brochure for a springtime event called Floralia Brussels, set upon the grounds of Kasteel van Groot-Bijgaarden just a short train ride away. So, as my fellow travelers took inspired day trips to places like Bruges, Ghent, and Antwerp, I settled my mind on disembarking at a desolate train station to venture to an abandoned 12th-century castle.

I’ll admit, I had never been to a flower festival before in my life, but Florists kind of run in my family, so I guess I was more or less surrendering to the petals.

Only 7 kilometres from Brussels by train, the rustic-looking castle was built in the year 1300 for Almaric Bigard, the first lord of Bigard. ‘Groot-Bijgaarden’ translates to Grand Bigard, who’s grounds are open every spring to visitors looking to gape at Floralia Brussels.

I mean, the castle has a 5-arched bridge, a moat, and lion statues guarding the entrance. Umm, sign me up.

Running from early April until early May, Floralia Brussels is curated by gardeners who plant (by hand!) more than 1 MILLION bulbs. Guys, there were over 400 varieties of tulips alone. Between the castle grounds, the sheer volume of flowers, and the peaceful ambiance, this place gives a new meaning to ‘stop and smell the roses’.

Here are my favorite photos from 2017’s Floralia Brussels:

Floralia Brussels

Sad lion looks sad.

Castles, moats, and wagons, oh my!

Floralia Brussels

Doesn’t this old, abandoned house kind of make you feel like a Disney character who finds pleasure by singing in the woods and talking to animals?

Floralia Brussels

I’m still drooling over these hues.

Floralia Brussels

Floralia Brussels

Natures favorite color palette.

Floralia Brussels

Groot-Bijgaarden

Floralia Brussels

When I’m rich, I’m totally commissioning a giant flower bird to be constructed in my front yard.

Floralia Brussels

Groot-Bijgaarden

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Floralia Brussels

Have you ever been to a flower festival? Tell me all about it in the comments?

*To discuss use of these photos, please e-mail me at taylor@tayloronatrip.com*

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