day trip to Expo 2015 in Milan

expo0In May the current universal exhibition opened in Milan with the theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Living near the Italian border, we’ve been hearing and reading about the Expo 2015 for a very long time, especially about the delayed construction and the money spent. So I was actually quite surprised when it eventually opened and the reviews were mostly positive. On Sunday I finally managed to visit too and, despite some drawbacks,  it was an interesting day.

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We decided to go there by train as there are direct trains from our area and the station is just next to one of the Expo entries. Of course, being Sunday, there was a big crowd and when we arrived, at about half past ten, we had to queue for half an hour to get through security check. The queue was not very orderly, but there wasn’t any pushing involved, so it was alright. We entered the Expo from the Ingresso Ovest / Triulza and headed straight to the Decumano to get a first feel of what the ground was like. Pretty much everything is on either side of this long corridor, which makes it really easy to find your way around. We got some tips on nice pavilions but those were pretty much impossible to visit as there were queues of two to three hours and we didn’t want to wait that long. We visited all the food clusters for a project I’m doing for school (I will take my class to Expo in about one month), and they were ok. The clusters are basically some small pavilions grouped together around a theme, for example coffee, fruit and vegetables, or chocolate (my favourite one…duh!). I wish there was more time to read all the panels as they had some interesting info on it, but as our time was limited we just went through them quickly. The tiny pavilions were mostly selling souvenirs from the countries associated with the featured food group, some also sold typical food which was interesting during lunch time. Next to the clusters there are also pavilions of big brands, for example the Lindt building, but they are just shops selling their products.

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We managed to visit only three national pavilions, Russia, Qatar and Turkmenistan. I wasn’t too impressed with any of them, there was a lot to read and some clips to watch, but I wish there was more to do. If you don’t have a lot of time to spend reading and watching everything, you will easily miss the message of the pavilions, if there is one…

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We also visited the supermarket of the future, and again, I wasn’t too impressed. Unfortunately we missed the Zero Pavilion, when we wanted to queue we were told it was closed because Bono from U2 was going to visit it shortly.

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What I liked best about Expo 2015 was the architecture of the pavilions, some of them were really colourful and just beautiful, others were interesting in other ways. I also loved seeing people from so many different countries, it was a truly multicultural experience. I may not have learned a lot about sustainable food but there was definitely something interesting to see for the duration of the whole day, so I would recommend a visit anyway.

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If you decide to go to Expo 2015 (hurry up, it’s closing on October 31!) here are a few suggestions on how to proceed:
– buy your tickets online once you know the exact date you’re visiting, you will be able to skip at least one line
– gather information about the event and decide what you absolutely want to see and visit those pavilions first, once you’re there it can be a bit overwhelming and you won’t know where to start
– get there early in the morning as there are less people and the queues are shorter
– for the same reason, if possible, visit on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday
– walk up and down the Decumano at least once to enjoy the beauty of the national pavilions
– don’t miss the tree of life
– eat many little snacks here and there, how many countries can you eat through?
– can’t find a place to sit? Go to the back of the pavilions, there are often places to rest there too
– if you really want to learn something new take your time to read the exhibition panels and watch the clips
– avoid the small pavilions in the clusters, except if you want to shop for some kitschy souvenirs
– check the official expo 2015 website for special events

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I guess that’s it! Have you visited the Expo? What did you think about it?

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