Up until 31 October 2015 the city in northern Italy hosts the the currentWorld's fair - Expo. More than 20 million visitors are expected to find their way to the 200 hectare large exhibition center this year. TouriSpo has visited the Expo 2015 for two days and will let you now which Pavilions are a “must-see”, where to find the best food at the so called “Foody-Expo” and much more.
The most impressing Pavilions
The motto of this year's Expo is “Feeding the planet – Energy for Life“ - and that is exactly how the different countries want to present themselves in their pavilions. They want to show which product is being made within their borders and therefore how their contribution is to “feeding the world.” The most elaborate pavilion is probably the one of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE included many technical gimmicks, from the 4-D- cinema to extensive holographs. The topic of the pavilion is to demonstrate the rise of Dubai to the visitors of the Expo: Dubai flourished from a lone desert city to the pulsating metropolis which it represents today, where refreshing drinking water can be won from the salty ocean water. Cinema screens seem to be the newest trend on this years Expo in general: The countries Kazakhstan, Thailand, Malaysia, or Ecuador (just to name a few) all make use of cinematographic support, probably to make sure they are presenting their country as vivid as possible.
Nevertheless, the most innovative pavilion on the Milan exhibition center is the German one. While you might be confused about the piece of cardboard you receive at entry at first, you will be enlightened shortly within the building: The cardboard is actually a pretty clever tool and represents a brand new technology called “Seedboard”. The Seedboard serves the visitors as some kind of tablet-computer. Whilst holding it above one of the surfaces illuminated from below, you will get to see numerous information about the cultivation and production of foods in Germany on it in an interactive manner. At the end of your tour through the pavilion, the Seedboard even serves as a musical instrument: When the musical duo shouts out to “bee active” - it literally is time to be active.
A true “should-not-miss” is the pavilion of the host country Italy. The country on the Mediterranean Ocean presents itself with none less than four extensive areas, on which not only each province of Italy is introduced but where you can also dive in the culinary highlights of Bella Italia. Furthermore, the heart of this years Expo is the Palazzo Italiano – the actual exhibition area of Italy. However, you should expect a waiting time of about one and a half hours to get into the futuristic building. Weigh up carefully if the wait is worth it for you – you could also visit some less-crowded pavilions of other countries during that time.
Grabbing something to eat on the “Foody-Expo”
First of all, we must disappoint all those who where hoping to get culinary highlights on the “Foody-Expo” for free. However, you will find food from almost all countries in the world in every price category here. Everybody who considers the lunch break only as means to an end, can grab something to eat at one of the numerous fast food joints on the exhibition center. There are no great delights to be hoped for here, but quick food for a reasonable price. Moreover, there are cycling ice cream carts racing around the exhibition halls – a refreshing treat under the often to be hot Italian sun.
On the Expo 2015, visitors can get to know all kinds of things about the different kitchen traditions from all over the world. Almost every pavilion has their own culinary highlight to offer. The offers range from an exclusive beef out of Uruguay (high quality with a tremendous price tag) to shrink wrapped microwave food from Thailand. Between these two extremes you'll find nearly everything you can imagine: Spain offers a Tapas-bar, the Netherlands have a country-specific chip-shop to offer and Germany even came with their very own Hofbräuhaus. Make sure to check out all the goods and gifts you can acquire in the different pavilions as well. Many countries came with their own gift shop, with their own treats. There should be something to find as a souvenir for all those at home!
Visiting the Expo with children
The World's fair 2015 is an especially fun adventure for the entire family, since it has much to offer for children. The mascots of the Expo march daily at 11:30 am through the main streets for a colorful parade. The pavilions of the countries are also enjoyable to visit with kids – they might even be thrilled by the special effects and large cinema screens. A special highlight for kids marks the brazilian pavilion: The visitors are climbing upwards here on a giant grid – a true act of balance for adventurers.
Beware however, how long a day on the huge fair can be for little children. The exhibition area is humongous and acquires a lot of walking. It is definitely beneficiary to plan which pavilions you want to visit beforehand, especially if you are visiting the Expo only on one day. Meanwhile, plan more time to get into more popular pavilions like the ones of Italy or the UAE. Anyhow, it is always helpful to come to the Expo together with more people. While waiting in line, the other ones might want to get a refreshing beverage or ice cream for everyone.
Moreover, there are many sweet delights to explore on the Expo. The Algida-Pavilion attracts with delicious ice cream right behind the entry gate. Sweet Expo-Highlights are also the Nutella Bar and the Baci Store where you can taste the sweets of the two producers in all kinds of variations.
Useful tips for the Expo
The exhibition area is located in Rho, a suburb of Milan. The easiest way to reach it is using public transportation. There are trains operating from Milan central station and the airport to this year's world's fair. For all those planing to stay in Milan for several days and coming out of the city area, use the metro line M1, marked red with the final destination Rho Fiera. The line M1 also stops by the famous Piazza del Duomo ("Cathedral Square").
It is also very helpful to book your ticket online beforehand. The tickets are not only a bit cheaper than the ones acquired on the visiting day, but you also don't have to wait in line at the ticket office in front of the exhibition area. Nevertheless, make sure to get there early since the elaborate security checks at the entry may take a while and reminds one of the usual airport security procedure. The Expo opens daily at 10 am.
Once on the Expo terrain, it is best to ask the Expo-Volunteers for an orientation map to not lose your way on the large exhibition area. On our trip for example, we've visited the Expo for two entire days and did not get to see all pavilions. Select carefully beforehand and keep possible waiting lines in mind as mentioned above. Comfortable shoes are definitely beneficiary for the whole lot of walking ahead of you on the Expo.
Another tip for all those who don't want to worry about a low battery whilst taking lots of pictures with their smartphone: You may recharge your phone at the McDonald's restaurant on the Expo for example.