Last week I spent some days in Milan at the boyfriend’s house and so I took this opportunity to go visit the Universal exhibition. I am opening you the doors today of the Expo (and don’t miss the little surprise at the end. :)
Like you might have learned in the medias, the inauguration was affected by violent incidents from opponents to the Expo but fortunately everything got back to normal quickly.
More than 130 countries participate and more than 20 millions of visitors are expected on a gigantic site of one million square meters from the 1st of May to the 31st of October 2015.
“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” is the core theme of Expo Milano 2015. Visitors will follow thematic paths on the complex world of food and will be invited for a trip around the world through savors and traditions of the people of the Earth.
As you can easily guess, we didn’t have time to see everything in just one day but to see the most of it we walked for 9 hours non-stop and saw I think more or less half of it.
All the pavilions are not worth seeing so I will show you some of the ones we’s visited so you can visit the Expo from home or it can help you organize your future visit.
We started by Nepal pavilion sheltered by a beautiful temple. Because of the devastating earthquake that hit the country, the representatives were forced to leave Milan to go back to Nepal. Italian volunteers worked around the clock to complete the pavilion in time. However, the pavilion is not completely furnished yet and the restaurant is still closed for the moment.
We continued with Bahrain pavilion where you can stroll in a landscape of Bahraini fruit gardens and admire archeological finds from thousand years ago. You can also enjoy a drink on this colorful terrace.
Vietnam is a wonderful bambou pavilion inspired from lotus flowers to focus on the importance of water and because it’s a locale flower that purifies the water in which it thrives. Inside the pavilion, there are folk instruments made of bamboo and handicraft. I was a bit disappointed by the inside of the pavilion, especially at the 1st floor which had nothing to do with the theme of the Expo.
This pavilion is a must see because the visitor is immersed in a small scale Austrian forest that provides 62.5 kilograms of fresh oxygen every hour, without filters or conditioners, which is enough for 1,800 people in an ideal climate, providing wellness and absorbing CO2. It is demonstrating the benefits of a reforestation policy against the global decline of green areas. This pavilion is very popular so be ready to wait in line for like 20 minutes.
The s structure of the pavilion is environmentally sustainable and at its heart is presented its culinary tradition and alternative feeding methods like seaweed cultivation and hydroponics. You can also eat some delicious Belgian fries, enjoy a traditional Belgian beer and the most important : delicious Belgian chocolate!
I have been told that France pavilion was very bad but I was pleasantly surprised. The building is made of pine wood from Jura and is inspired by the covered market, a symbol of French culture.
To access it, the visitor has to cross a garden made of 3 different cultivations : cereals cultivation, polyculture and vegetable cultivation.
Inside the pavilion there are kitchen utensils, bottles of wine and foodstuff nested in the vaults. Outside there are a French boulangerie, a restaurant, a brasserie, a street food area and a boutique where you can find all the variety and quality of French food.
The pavilion is architecturally amazing with this circular structure at the center that is reminiscent of the form of the traditional food basket – the jefeer – symbolizing the interweaving of local dimensions and global innovation which characterizes Qatar. Strolling in this pavilion is very exotic because it feels like you’re in a souk.
Some pavilions are not so interesting but most of the time it’s because they are countries which don’t have a lot of money but some others don’t have any excuses like USA! It’s very boring and the video of Obama made me laugh… The only thing I liked is the vertical agricultural area on the building structure.
The design of the pavilion is inspired by the unique role that the hives have in our ecosystem. To access it the visitor have to cross a high wildflower meadow to see the same perspective as the bee when it is gathering pollen. It is one of my favorite pavilions, so poetic!
Republic of Korea (South Korea):
The first part has a murky atmosphere to deal with global food crisis. The 2nd part is a good representation of the technological leader that is Korea and treats of themes like storage, fermentation which is the basis of Korean cuisine and harmony featured by a multimedia show. I like it a lot, it was very interesting and visually impressive.
Downstairs there is a Korean restaurant and a boutique where you can buy cultural products. When I got out from the boutique I said « Annyeonghi gyesayo » (= goodbye, memory from my trip in Korea) to the hostesses. You should have seen their faces! They stared at me wide-eyes for a few seconds and they repeated happily « Annyeonghi gyesayo » bowing at the same time. They were impressed and so thankful at the same time, I really love Korean culture!
Let’s finished with Japan, my favorite! The pavilion is surrounded by pieces of wood and inside you can attend to some beautiful play of lights and to an interactif show in a virtual restaurant. It’s exuberant and technological as the Japan is. Here again be prepared to wait in line for a long time because the visit lasts approximatively 1h but it is totally worth it!
I’m stopping there because I can feel that you’re falling asleep and that you are scrolling till you dislocate your finger.
Admire the beauty of these magnificent architectures!
And here are some more pictures of the Expo.
Talking about food and walking for 9 hours makes you feel hungry but don’t worry you won’t starve because you can buy local products in some pavilions but you can also savor local culinary specialities in restaurants, food trucks and bars (they are more than 150). I strongly recommend you the banana chips and the gazelle horn ice cream. :)
Voilà I hope you liked it. In a few words I would say : wonderful architectural contribution, innovative digital instrument, increasing awareness of sustainable development, education on nutrition and thinking of food wastage is on the agenda of this beautiful exhibition. It really feels like a travel around the world, it’s fascinating!
All the useful informations about the Expo are here.
Bonus : exclusively for you, here is a vlog (video blog) from the Boyfriend. Usually these videos are only private videos that he sends to his family and friends but this time he accepted to share it with you so you can see videos of the Expo. Don’t pay attention to me, I look stupid but it’s because he was always taking me by surprise so the only thing that came to my mind was to play the idiot. Sorry for that, I hope you won’t make you go away…
P.S. you can read again my Milan city guide with my favorite addresses of Milan here + France is candidate to organize the Universal Exhibition of 2025. Fingers crossed!