You’ve probably heard of the famous novel ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ by Jules Verne set in 1872. In the novel, one of the protagonists questions the Daily Telegraph’s claim that, with the new railway built in India, it would be possible to travel around the world in 80 days, catalysing a wager with an inventor to attempt to prove this claim.
In those days, traveling the world so fast could only be achieved through fiction or dreaming, but now in 2015, not only is it possible to travel the world in 80 days, but in one day. The fantastic World Expo, hosted in Milan this year, allows anyone to circumnavigate the world in as little as a day.
Presenting this year’s theme of sustainability, each country has a designated a pavilion though which it can share its culture, cuisine, traditions, and the relevance of sustainability in its country currently, and its plans for the future. This not only allows visitors to immerse themselves in various cultures, but also to learn about sustainability around the world, a key factor to secure a successful future on our planet. The Expo is open from May 1 to October 31, so if this interests you, and I’m sure it does, here are the top things to see and do while you’re there.
You can purchase one of these for five euros at the entrance from various booths. It serves as a passport that you can get stamped at every pavilion you visit. You can only get it stamped once you’ve gone though the entire exhibition, so you can’t just cheat and walk by each pavilion to get a stamp. This is a really fun and leaves you with a great souvenir of the Expo.
Holland has great pavilion, as it’s centred mostly around food. *Win*. Here you’ll find all sorts of typical foods and drinks ranging from mini pancakes with Nutella and various beers, to ‘alternative burgers’, dutch fries, and dutch meatballs. These are all served out of adorable colourful food trucks, and according to my friend who lives in Holland, are an accurate representation. Here you’ll also find a mirror maze, a ferris wheel, and a ‘festival’ stage surrounded by a little lake where they play live music at night. If you love food, you’ll definitely want to stop by.
The Russian Pavilion
Did I hear someone say vodka? The Russian pavilion focuses on Russian agriculture and the different kinds of wheat and grains found in Russia. It’s visually stunning both architecturally and in terms of its interior display. One of the first rooms features a bar that looks like a chemistry lab, or as my friend called it “Dexter’s Laboratory”, where you can sample different kinds of wheat based beverages typical of Russia. It is followed by a bar made from a giant open recipe book, where you can try different kinds of Russian breads and pastries. Then, my favourite part, across from a gorgeous replica of an antique Russian train car where you sit through a classic Russian meal, is the vodka bar. There, you can sample Russia’s finest Beluga vodka, and let me just say, what Russians consider a ‘shot’ is equal to half a solo cup full of vodka, so be warned. Alternately, you can climb to the top of the pavilion and enjoy your vodka on the rocks sitting on their rooftop garden bar and enjoy the view of the expo from above, truly a sight to behold.
The Coop Future Food District
Have you ever wondered what supermarkets of the future would look like? If you come here, you won’t have to wonder, you’ll get to experience it first hand. The Future Food District is a Coop supermarket modelled as it will be in the future. This means tech, a lot of tech, robots, interactive screens, nutrition, and calorie counts. The food is organised in isles as it is now, but above the food are interactive screens that give you the nutritional value and properties of the food. At first glance it’s just information, but if you point at the food you want information about, the screen will begin to show and tell you its origin, its health benefits and so on. Cool right? Well that’s not even the coolest part! There are robotic arms that pick and choose the fruit that is best for you at the time of purchase, boxes it for you, then hand it to you. After you visit you’ll never be happy with your local supermarket again, you’ll just be waiting with bated breath for Future Food District supermarkets to become a reality in every day life!
Visit the Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is right in front of the Italian Pavilion, and features hourly water shows. It’s a gorgeous structure, especially at night when it’s lit up and there’s music playing all around. This is the centre of the Expo and an important stop. Around it you’ll also find these fun top chairs. You’re free to take them for a spin and make a complete fool of yourself, trust me it’s fun! Also, make sure that you turn right and take a cute group picture on the tractors on display outside the farming pavilion. Vroom vroom!
The Italian Pavilion
One of the biggest pavilions, or should I say a group of pavilions, it is absolutely breathtaking. Here you can do everything from wine tasting to cooking classes. *Hint: the wine pavilion is shaped like an enormous grape!* If you want a taste of Italy from North to South, stop by and learn about the rich culture.
The Japanese Pavilion
I didn’t actually get a chance to go inside because the wait time was upwards of 4 hours, but one of my friends did and said it was phenomenal. The exterior alone is incredible enough, but inside there’s a guided interactive 90 minute course on the Japanese diet, showing dishes on touch screens and explaining the benefits of the Japanese diet both physically and environmentally. Also at the end there’s sushi! <3 This is one to add to the list!
We stopped here for lunch, and it was divine. With tapas, paella, jamón, sangria, and to top it off, a sexy Spanish waiter, this made for a great dining experience. The Spanish Pavilion is located right in front of the Future Food District too, so planning to visit them together is a good idea. The exposition inside the Pavilion focuses on the Spanish landscapes and agriculture, their traditions of flavours, and the beginnings of avant grade cuisine. There’s lots of gourmet jamón on display!
You HAVE to try one of these Slovakian treats, they’re definitely calorie bombs but they’re absolutely amazing! The best part is that you can choose to smother them in whatever topping you choose. *YUM* (You can probably tell by now that my favourite part of the Expo was the food.)
The Turkish Pavilion is a beautiful open air exposition where eating a Kebab is an absolute must. The pavilion also offers outdoor cooking classes where you can learn to make turkish dishes such as baklava and kunefe. There are several expositions displaying their famous spices, dishes, and the origins of their culture and food. In my opinion it was one of the most enjoyable pavilions, as it very effectively created a Turkish atmosphere that almost made you feel like you were in Turkey.
These were my favourite parts of the World Expo 2015. For more pictures check out this gallery. I hope that you get a chance to see it live before it closes at the end of the month. Don’t forget to get your passport stamped!
Until next time,