L’Albero della Vita – 37 Meters High – Palazzo Italia
EXPO Milano opened just before Jack and I arrived. It runs from May 1 through October 31st 2015. We decided it was a once in a life time opportunity to attend the “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” themed worlds fair. We got up early that morning, put on stout walking shoes, and headed for the Metropolitana. The M-1 train that stopped by our apartment went right to the fair grounds! (The was a scant up-charge on the daily metro ticket.) We had read about EXPO and chatted about how varying countries could
…reflect upon, and seek solutions to, the contradictions of our world. On the one hand, there are still the hungry (approximately 870 million people were undernourished in the period 2010-2012) and, on the other, there are those who die from ailments linked to poor nutrition or too much food (approximately 2.8 million deaths from diseases related to obesity or to being overweight in the same period). In addition, about 1.3 billion tons of foods are wasted every year. (http://www.expo2015.org/en/learn-more/the-theme)Some may call me a heretic but – all that reflection just wasn’t evident. That stuff sounds great in a plenary session but hey – how do you force – for example Sudan to do that? Their pavilion was a hut with three guys selling stuff that was probably made in China to look Sudanese. Let’s talk about Ireland – it was a lovely tourism promotional environment – large screens showing clips of the fabulous farms and countryside. Know what was missing? People from Ireland. Not one was evident!!! We noticed that a lot. Maybe there were visa issues and only the countries with buckets of cash like the United Emirates were allowed to send over people. Oh pshaw you say – why is she being so bitchy? My legs ached that’s why. The walk from the metro to the EXPO ticket booth was a few blocks – that was OK. Then we had to walk what felt like a mile to get to the actual fairgrounds. I asked about “people movers” – the attendants stared. Where was the bus noted on the maps? No one seemed to know. So Jack and I walked and walked up and down man-made hills to the site. The covered walkway was about a mile long – Jack says so! We entered at the end that has the pavilions that certainly weren’t on the “A” list like Sudan and Ireland. Walking a wee bit more we noticed lines at Angola. Than it hit us – the places with the Disneyland long lines are the pavilions that are worth visiting. Some folks – actually teachers because the lines were full of students – had done research.We truly enjoyed the three story Angola pavilion which had great displays of the countries farming, food sources, cooking and daily life. France was interesting but you had to take a long hike through “fields” that were only 1 inch high to get to the pavilion. I think in August the EXPO’s farming exhibits will be great – there will be something to see. Now the rice paddy area is just – well – an area with tiny little green shoots of I guess rice. Actually, by August the whole place may be great – all the kinks worked out.
There was a really, really long line outside of Brazil. Being nosy and suckers for long lines we wended our way through the crowd to see what was going on. Holy Baloney! Brazil had set up this huge net – I mean a hundred yards long huge. Like the nets set up for walking over the Rain Forest – at least that was my thought. Throngs of students were slowly making their way over the net to the opposite side. The really athletic kids were climbing up the side walls of the space to reign from above. It was cool.
Some Kids Climbed to the Top!!
The day was saved of course by FOOD! The fabulous exhibit – Identita Golose EXPO – cost us €150 but was worth it. Each week a famous Italian chef comes in with a crew to prepare a wine paired lunch and dinner. We were stylishly fed by Chef Marco Stabile of Ora d’Aria in Firenze – a Michelin 1 star restaurant. The Identita Restaurant was well appointed and the staff was the optimum of professional. I could describe the courses and the wine parings but you would just get hungry. If you do go the EXPO save up €75 and spend it just on lunch!!! (Check out the Identita Website – they could be coming to a city near your – http://www.identitagolose.it/sito/it/)
After our awesome lunch, we were refueled, refreshed and ready to continue walking. Happily we stumbled upon a number of countries that featured folk dancing, music and theatrical performances. They may not have anything to do with the theme of EXPO but to this tourist they made the day special.
Tired and knowing we had a huge walk back we decided to leave fairly early. I asked again at an information booth where the buses were – there – maybe – or there. I asked a young woman who worked a concession if she knew and she led us the long walk to a bus stop. I think the advertised buses are really for the help – with stops near various groupings of pavilions. The bus got us closer to the entrance/metro but we still had to walk over the incredibly long hilly walk – I’m guessing 10 – 15 city blocks.
The senior citizen ticket to EXPO was €28. Would I spend it again? No. Would I go to Florence to Marco Stabile’s restaurant and plunk down €75? YES!!!