Milano is welcoming the world this year, by hosting the Universal Exposition. 145 countries out of 193 are represented and have gathered to give their views on the theme: Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
But is it worth going?
The short answer is yes, it is worth going, as the Expo 2015 is what you make of it.
View from the top of Russia
The first World’s fair was held in London’s Crystal Palace, in 1851 and since then, the event has been organized in every corner of the world from Paris, to Sydney, Barcelona to San Francisco, Brussels to New York. The next one will be in Dubaï in 2020. Originally focused on industrialisation, countries used to display technological inventions and advancements, celebrating modernity and universal progress. In more recent years, the goal of the expo has shifted to more reflective and cultural themes.
The welcoming party
The Expo 2015 main theme is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, with the following sub-themes:
- the right to food that is healthy, safe and sufficient
- the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the food chain
the preservation of taste and of food culture
Feeding the World while facing climat change, reducing pollution and mitigating anthropization is one of the biggest challenge of the 21st century. Getting together to think & discuss such an important topic, to propose and display solutions, while involving a wide range of public in the process is an amazing venture. This alone makes a trip to Expo 2015 worth it.
Is the result as impressive as the challenge? This is open to debate.
The variety of approach to these themes seems as diversified as there are countries represented. Some pavilions are very educational, some formal, some interactive and fun, some far more conceptual, and some seem to completely lack the goal by simply displaying and selling national tourists’ souvenirs.
Depending on what you are looking for, planning your visit meticulously, should allow you to meet your expectations.
What about the food?
Expo 2015 is been advertised as the largest restaurant in the World, “offering the opportunity to learn about the cultures of the world starting from the palate….From zebra meat to Argentine beef, from crispy sweet and sour chicken to curry, from falafel to hummus, from noodles to rice, from cassava flour to corn flour, from sushi ice cream, to crocodile burgers and… much more.”
Expo 2015 has around 150 dining spots, including McDonald’s and a Coca-Cola pavilion (double pffff). Famous chef from around the world are coming to the expo for a conference, a cooking class or a a show. Some even have unique temporary restaurants there. But in reality? There are more boring sandwiches, panini and other junk food available than real unique experiences.
You won’t be starving at Expo 2015, but even after having suffered a long queue at every stands, you probably won’t be amazed by an incredible culinary experience.
and let’s not talk about prices…
The Expo 2015 architecture
National branding being such an important part of the universal exposition, it is no surprise that most participating countries, display huge pavilions designed by famous architects. The result is a mix of, interesting structures, which unfortunately for most, will be dismantled.
Extract from Expo2015 website. Click on the image to be redirected.
In the past, only a few pavilions have become landmarks. The Eiffel tower built in 1889 being the most well-known exception. The Crystal Palace, from the first World’s Fair in London, the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne (1880 – now listed as a World Heritage site by the UNESCO), the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco (1915), the Atomium in Brussels (1958) or the Seattle Space Needle (1962) are a few other examples.
Overall, the main strip show cases a large diversity of buildings in terms of shape, size, material, etc. and whether you like what you see, or not, it is never boring.
UK Food pavilion where visitors recreate the dance of bees through a meadow to end up in a giant metallic beehive. Bees are of upmost importance in our food production – and the UK is also a hive of creativity, business and science.
The Vietnamese Water and Lotus pavilion aims to shed light on the problems of water pollution, over-fishing and waste.
Theater representations, shows, concerts, guided tours, football games… there are a lot of events organized at Expo 2015.
The Tree of Life fountain show is not to be missed.
Other things you can do at Expo include: Walking on the Brazilian suspended net, taking a cooking class, doing some spinning to donate a meal, playing on swings in Estonia, admiring sculptures, taking a trip in the rainforest in Malaysia, having a Slovenian beer or a Belgium waffle, drinking vodka in Russia, getting a henna tattoo in Qatar, meditating in Nepal … and getting your wanderlust turbo charged!!
The Netherlands had the coolest atmosphere!
Having the opportunity to visit a Universal Exposition
is a once in a lifetime event, at least for most of us.
Don’t miss it.
Monaco = containers? really?
Wind power in Kuwait?
The technical bits & some friendly advises:
Expo2015 is the official website for the World’s Fair. You can find there all the necessary information on how to get there, the site, the services, the events organized… and of course book your tickets online.
The site is huge! Wear comfortable shoes, you’ll be walking a lot.
Bring some water.There are plenty of places to buy some but remember: queues!!
Don’t forget about the ‘people mover’ i.e. the bus that goes around the whole site. But don’t expect to take it to get back to the train station at the end of the day at 11pm.
There are huge maps displayed everywhere and interactive screens as well to locate everything you may looking for. There is also an app if you want to have everything available on your phone. Links on the official website: Expo2015
Credit cards seems accepted pretty much everywhere, but it’s a good idea to have cash available to pay for smaller items.
It’s only EUR 5 in the evening from 19:00 to 23:00. That allowed us to explore Milan during the day and Expo 2015 in the evening. A super deal. beware, lots of pavilions close at 8 PM so you actually little time to visit. But food stands remain of course open till the end.
Is it safe? It’s probably easy to get lost but appart from that, it seems pretty safe. It’s doubtful that pickpockets would pay to enter the site but you should nevertheless use common sense with your belongings.
Expo 2015 will be open un 31st October 2015.
Don’t forget your camera!
The next Universal Exposition will be Dubai in 2020, and the theme will be “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” focusing on sustainability, mobility, and opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Tell me in the comments below:
Have you been to Expo 2015? Did you enjoy it?