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Travel

Belgium embraces spring with a million and a half flowers

Brusels / Belgium has its own flower festival and it is the second largest in the world: in its sixteenth edition, Floralia returns to pay tribute to spring with one and a half million of these plants in the gardens of Grand-Bigard castle (Flanders), placed a few minutes from Brussels by car.

 

 

The stars of this colorful festival are tulips, of which they have 500 different varieties, so it is not surprising that most of their bulbs come from Holland, the largest producer of this crop, explains to Efe Cedric Pelgrims de Bigard, who is one of the Festival organizers.

The tulips do not overshadow the eighty varieties of daffodils or the twenty hyacinths that surround the castle, a historical monument of Belgian baroque architecture, which only opens its doors to the public during the celebration of the festival, from April 6 to May 5th.

Pelgrims points out that the most popular flowers among visitors, which usually come as a family -dog included-, are the fringed tulips, whose petals have irregular edges and usually mix at least two colors, and the Kaiser’s crown, a bulbous plant with buds that face the ground.

In addition, the castle’s greenhouse castle, recently refurbished, hosts an exhibition of 150 floral creations, which are carefully restored every week.

 

The novelty of the sixteenth edition

As new, this year, the gardens of the castle, which occupy an area of 14 hectares, host about twenty real-size reproductions of paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Elder, which can be discovered during walks among flowers, on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the death of this flamenco painter.

Brueghel (1525 / 1530-1569) is considered one of the most important artists of the Spanish Netherlands in the sixteenth century. Little is known about his life: he lived in Antwerp, traveled to France and Italy and moved to Brussels after getting married.

During his career, he produced about forty paintings and seventy drawings, and his art is the result of mixing flamenco realism and popular poetry, as the organizers explain.

“Brueghel lived and worked in Brussels and the surrounding area, so he could have walked through the gardens of this castle.” We know a great picture of him, “The Blind Leading the Blind” (1568), in which there is a church that is very close to this castle, “says Pelgrims.

If last year these gardens were visited by more than 30,000 people, organizers expect this number to grow this year on the occasion of Brueghel’s exhibition.

 

The castle that hosts the festival

The castle of Grand-Bigard, located 7 kilometers from Brussels, was built in the seventeenth century and belongs to the Flemish Renaissance. The main building is built in red brick, which contrasts with the white stone of the windows and the blue slate roof, a mixture of colors in line with the floral exhibition.

The construction is surrounded by a large water pit where plants that have bloomed in spring and centuries old trees are reflected.

Floralia was an idea that the family of Pelgrims, owner of the castle, had sixteen years ago with the objective of raising money in the restoration of the building.

“We had the idea of creating this exhibition so that people can come to this exceptional place at the same time they contribute to finance a part of the conservation and restoration of this monument,” says the organizer.

The festival and the castle are only open one month a year, but, in autumn, the first bulbs, which will bloom in the spring, are already being planted.

At the end of the exhibition, the mantle  of flowers that covers the castle gardens is removed and converted into fertilizer so that the cycle begins again.(April 2019, EFE/PracticaEspañol)

 

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(Español) Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde las preguntas. (Read this piece of news and answer these questions)

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Question 1
¿Cuántas variedades de tulipanes hay en el festival Floralia? (How many tulip varieties are there at Floralia festival?)
A
Quinientas
B
Seiscientas
C
Cuatrocientas cincuenta
Question 2
¿Cuáles son las flores que más triunfan en el festival? (Which are the most popular flowers at the festival?)
A
Las margaritas y las rosas
B
Los tulipanes y los jacintos
C
El tulipán papagayo y la corona imperial
Question 3
¿Qué se expone semanalmente en el invernadero del castillo? (What can you see if you visit the castle's greenhouse every week?)
A
Ciento cincuenta creaciones florales
B
Ciento cincuenta ramos de tulipanes
C
Ciento cincuenta composiciones con narcisos
Question 4
¿Cuánto hace que falleció el pintor Pieter Brueghel el Viejo? (How long ago did the painter Pieter Brueghel the Elder die?)
A
Cuatrocientos cincuenta meses
B
Cuatro meses
C
Cuatrocientos cincuenta años
Question 5
¿Cuál es la novedad de este año en el festival? (What is new in this edition of the festival?)
A
Se pueden ver reproducciones de treinta cuadros de Pieter Brueghel el Viejo
B
Se pueden ver veinte cuadros auténticos de Pieter Brueghel el Viejo
C
Se pueden ver reproducciones de veinte cuadros de Pieter Brueghel el Viejo
Question 6
¿Cuántos visitantes tuvo el festival el año pasado? (How many people visited the festival last year?)
A
30.000 visitantes
B
Más de 30.000 visitantes
C
Menos de 30.000 visitantes
Question 7
¿Dónde se sitúa el castillo de Grand-Bigard? (Where is Grand-Bigard castle placed?)
A
A siete kilómetros de Flandes
B
A siete kilómetros de Bruselas
C
A seis kilómetros de Flandes
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(Español) Vocabulary

Vocabulary

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Question 1
Una reproducción de un cuadro es... (A reproduction of a painting is...)
A
un copia exacta del cuadro original
B
una copia de una parte del cuadro original
C
una copia con colores diferentes a los del cuadro original
Question 2
Crezca es, en el texto, un verbo en tercera persona del singular del presente de subjuntivo. ¿Cuál es la forma de la primera persona del singular? ("Crezca", in this text, is the third person singular of present subjunctive tense. What is the form for first person singular?)
A
Crezco
B
Crezcamos
C
Crezca
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¿Qué artículo determinado lleva el sustantivo femenino singular agua en español? (Which is the definite article for the noun "agua" in Spanish?)
A
El
B
Una
C
La
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