EXPO Milan 2016

Inside the UK pavilion

Inside the UK pavilion

After hearing many positive and negative things about the EXPO, it finally was my time to go and see for myself. The trains were still completely overbooked but in the end, three friends and I all made it to Milan via different paths. We first checked into our airbnb and then took the tram to get to the second entry (Rosario), so that we wouldn’t have to pay the extra fee they added to the train system to get to the main entry. From the final tram stop, it’s about a 10min walk to get to the EXPO gates, so if you want to be at the EXPO quicker, you should still use the main entrance.

When I walked through the gates, I felt like a child entering Disney World. On the first glance, it really appears like an amusement park, with huge artificial buildings that look like mountains, castles, palaces, snakes, bubbles, gardens and much more. I was impressed with the architectural ideas all these countries had for their pavilions.

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We walked from country to country and at first were worried that we would not make it into any pavilion at all since there were so many people, it was insane. Even on the main road that was bout 1,5km long and 30m wide, you bumped into people all the time, because there were just too many to get out of their way. But we didn’t come here to not enter any of the pavilions, so we started with the US because I heard that it’s a broad one, where many people can walk through at the same time. And really, we were in there after about 10min. Nothing on the inside caught our eye especially and so we just walked to the roof to get a small idea of the whole expo area. Then, we were ready to wait in line a little longer and we chose Kuwait, since it looked pretty interesting with the huge sails and the sand in front of the pavilion. We had to wait for about 2 hours but it was definitely worth it since they made cool installations with water and a nice movie about the sky and the desert with huge screens, that you felt as if you were actually there. There was a similar wonderful movie at the Tunisian pavilion as well. There, we didn’t have to wait at all. In any case, whenever we didn’t feel like waiting in line, we went to the smaller pavilions, where we didn’t have to wait. The smaller pavilions were more about the country itself and not about food and technology but it was nice to see what these places had to offer and talk to people who come from there.

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My favorite pavilion was probably the one of Alitalia and Etihad, since it was so interactive. We could try virtual reality goggles and feel as if we were at Times Square or in a desert. I can see that people want to experience that at home in the future but I hope that it won’t isolate the society even more, when everybody has to wear these goggles to watch TV or play games. I also liked Germany because they showed some very innovative methods for future exhibitions and their roof is really nice (you don’t have to wait to go on the roof and there is a slide for children and grown-ups to slide down). Russia was good because we got to try vodka and a fish dish and only had to wait 30min to get in although the line went around the building. Austria was nice (again, waiting time about 30min with a very long queue). It’s not about how long the queue is, it’s about how much the queue is moving, so watch before you decide not to enter a pavilion that might be really good. Coke was fun too, since it was structured very well, you learned something, it was fun and you got two free drinks.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go to the Swiss pavilion (apparently you can sign up for a time slot at the Swiss info point in the morning but we didn’t know about that and just tried the online form that never worked). I also would have liked to see Japan and Kazakhstan but there it even said on a sign that the waiting time would be 5 hours.

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There is delicious local food at every pavilion but if you don’t want to spend so much money and are happy with Italian food, you can have pizza squares at the supermarket of the future for 2Euros.

While you have to pay for food, water on the other hand is for free. That was the most awesome thing. There were big water fountain areas everywhere, so people really don’t need to buy unhealthy sweet drinks. People brought their empty bottles and filled them up and were ready to wait in line at the next pavilion. There was even the choice between sparkling and tap water.

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If you still haven’t had enough of the EXPO at around 10pm, there is a laser show at the tree of life, which is worth watching. We even watched it in the pouring rain. Yes, going to Italy and all, I was expecting some wonderful hot fall weather, but oh well, can’t have everything. I still recommend to go to the EXPO if you have the chance.

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