Milano EXPO 2015
World's Fair originated from the 1844 French Industrial Exposition held in Paris. Soon after, the World's Fair would catch on in England the rest of Europe. One of the well known World's Fair, also as known as The Great Exhibition began in 1851 was held in London, England during the reign of Queen Victoria. Countries were invited to Hyde Park to showcase their culture and inventions. With success of The Great Exhibition, it became a tradition to host of these events in a different country every 5 years.
In 2008 the winning candidate, Milano was chosen to host the 2015 World EXPO in Rho, just outside Milano. Each EXPO comes with a theme, primarily a focus on how each country will change the world through technology and innovation. Milano 2015 EXPO's theme is feeding the planet. How can countries develop and innovate technologies to produce more food for a rapidly growing society, while battling climate change. These are very tough questions that each of the participating countries will try to answer. On October 31, 2015, Milano will close their doors as host of the World EXPO, but will parts of the EXPO will remain open as a research facility and continual study on the proposed theme.
Around the World in 2 days
EXPO Milano offers a unique look into 145 participating countries as to how their country plans to feed the world with innovate energies to generate food for a growing population. This is a great chance to visit different countries in one host city. EXPO Milano takes place outside of Milan in Rho (pronounced with a tongue roll on the 'r'). A short metro ride from Milan to Rho will take about 25 to 30 minutes. The metro stations are very clear with signs to the EXPO sight, so it will be hard to miss. Once the train has reached the last stop of the redline, you will know that you have reached the EXPO.
Things to Bring
long sleeve shirt
Pavilion: United Kingdom
In order to get into the Great Britain pavilion, each visitor will need to obtain a 'Visitor Pass'. This can be done simply by entering some information and the pass will print out from the machine. Once you have obtained your pass, you are on your way to the Great Britain Pavilion! Of all the 147 pavilions built for this EXPO, I think Great Britain's pavilion had the most creative design.
After obtaining your pass, you begin by walking through a maze like area with flowers and plants hovering over you. My first thought was they probably didn't want people picking the flowers and taking it home as souvenirs. Anyway, visitors will continue through the path and finally finding themselves at the base of this metal structure. From the base of the structure there are several steps that lead visitors up to the pavilion. Upon reaching the top, visitors will find a bar/ café type of area where people can order snacks and traditional English beer.
As the visitor enters the pavilion, you will first noticed that the structure is open air and a buzzing sound circulating the pavilion. As it is explained in the pavilion, the structure is built to resemble a bee hive, particularly in Nottingham, England. There is a great bee population there, and that region is well known for honey. Remember that UK pass that visitors had to obtain at the entrance? Well, each visitor is an honoree bee, the pass is similar to a passport that allows each visitor to enter the hive temporarily. Inside the "Hive" visitors will notice that there are lights that blink within the pavilion, those represent signals for the bees to locate when they're out in the fields collecting nectar. Looking down from the pavilion are the once tall looking garden structure, so the idea of the elevated garden is to provide a bee's point of view when they're collecting nectar. The structure is designed to raise awareness of the delicate lifecycle of a bee, and the importance of bees in our environment.
After a visit of the 'Hive' it was about 14:30, a good time to enjoy some traditional English tea. The afternoon tea set comes with 2 cups of tea or coffee and traditional three (but this was two tiered) tiered treats. Don't expect the waiter or waitress to bring out a tea pot with loose leaf tea. A tea bag will be given instead. At the bottom of the tier comes with smoked salmon, cucumber and curry chicken sandwiches, the next tier up was the sweets, cakes, tarts and chocolate. It is pretty close to the traditional English tea time that you may find in England.
Most pavilions will require visitors to queue up, as they need to limit the amount of people into the pavilion at a time. The queue for this pavilion is pretty quick compared to the other popular pavilions.
The wait for Japan Pavilion was close to 2 hours long. The verdict...it was very worth the wait! The pavilion highlights traditional Japanese cuisine and culture though short films, art and a Iron Chef type show to highlight the various dishes consumed during each season.The wooden puzzle-like structure of the pavilion is part of a traditional building pattern of the 16th century, designed to help withstand earthquakes. The pavilion is broken down to various exhibits surrounding the topic of food, the environment and Japanese culture.
Can't miss in Japan Pavilion:
- Structure of Japanese Pavilion (traditional wooden structure for Japanese homes in Kyoto)
- Food Exhibit (illustrates traditional Japanese cuisine)
- Main message "Harmonious Diversity"
- Live Performance Theatre (It's interactive show that showcases Japanese food eaten during the various seasons)
- Cool Japan, explores the topic of food and Japanese tourism
- Japan Food Court offers various Japanese dishes from Kobe Beef to Japanese curry to Rice Burger. Menu changes between the months.
UAEClick thumbnail to view full-size
United Arab Emirates
This is by far the most popular pavilion. The very next day we literally ran to this pavilion when we first got there at 10:00. Already the queue was wrapping around the pavilion. The wait time was already 30 minutes. As the day goes on, I believe the approximate wait time is about 2 hours or more.
The pavilion is inspired by the sand dunes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As you walk into this pavilion you feel as if you have been transported to the desert. After that brief introduction from the volunteers, all of the explanation of the pavilion was in Italian. By the time we were able to ask them to translate what they had just said it was time to go into the pavilion.
The main attraction is a short film about the importance of Water in the Middle East. I love the message to this pavilion, that it is important for people around the world not to waste water. The most exciting part of this pavilion was the 30 minute short film. We stood in front of the theatre and 10 minutes in the volunteers were making an announcement in Italian. I believe we were the only English speaking family there that morning, so it took me about 20 minutes to find someone to translate the message for me. It turns out that they were having technical difficulties with the film. We waited for close to an hour before we were let into the theatre. After the short film, the audience is led into a stage like area where the story continues with hologram like presentation. This film sends a strong and powerful message to its audience about the importance of water.
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe. The Austrian pavilion wants all their visitors to Breathe and Eat well. What makes the Austrian exhibit unique is that as visitors walking through the pavilion should feel like they have been transported to the Austrian Alps. You are probably thinking that the pavilion probably imported the trees and plants from Italy... at least that is what I had assumed, But all the plants and trees featured at the pavilion did actually come from Austria. Quite amazing. The pavilion stressed the importance of trees, as trees produce oxygen. You will see visitors lounging around the pavilion soaking up the fresh air and cooling off from the heat. There's continuous spray of mist throughout the pavilion to water the plants, but to cool visitors off as well!
Switzerland, unlike other pavilions, there were fruits, water, salt and instant coffee packets for their visitors. But there is a message behind the "free" goodies. This pavilion requires all visitors to get a time stamped ticket, as a way to control the amount of visitors in the pavilion. The Swiss people are very punctual people, so don't expect to be let in couple minutes earlier.
Upon entering the pavilion, visitors will take a lift up to where the exhibits begin. Just follow the crowd and you will make your way through to the first room. In each room there is a "resource" that visitors are free to take, but there is a great lesson behind this freebie. The first room showcases coffee where each visitor is free to take one sample sized Nestle coffee pack. The next room visitors can pick up sea salt that is wrapped in a decorative box. The next room an apple is offered to visitors, and the last room visitors may pick up a souvenir cup to sample fresh Alpine water. Once all the "resources" in each box is empty, the entire floor will drop one level. A new floor level will have new resources in the boxes for visitors. The moral of the story is that the more resources an individual take, there will be fewer or no more resources for other visitors. In my case, only sea salt and coffee was available during my visit, so it makes us aware that we should only take enough resources that we need.