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The International Expo in Milano was one of the big events of 2015. A quick search online showed mixed reviews, with a tilt to the negative side. When I read some of those on TripAdvisor after I arrived in Milan for the Expo, I was a bit disgruntled and anxious to say the least. The event was described as being an over-capacity commercial operation and not in line with its theme of “Feeding the World”. Was my trip going to be a waste?

Surprisingly, the event actually turned out to be quite enjoyable. I went during the last week of October and at that time, the fair actually was over capacity with about 250,000 people visiting every day. It was crazy! See what it was like in early evening:

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In spite of the very long lines, it was still possible to visit some of the pavilions that, built smartly, could be walked through. Among the most noticeable, Turkey, the USA, Germany and France had all chosen open designs that made their pavilions very well suited to the affluence.

The USA and Germany had some of the most technological displays. From what I heard, so did Holland and Japan. I unfortunately could not visit any of these two booths because the lines were way too long (5 hours for Japan!). The USA pavilion “printing” messages in letters of water was amazing and partially made up for the lack of substance of their display inside the pavilion, which was limited to showing seeds and hydroponics. The solar trees developed by Germany were very impressive, putting them clearly a notch above the other participating countries.

Since I mentioned the Japanese pavilion, here it is, very classy yet traditional as you can see:

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And Holland, which seemed to be showing the most advanced hydroponics display:

I was also not able to visit the Italian pavilion because of the huge crowd, but I did take a few pictures. They had one main pavilion and several other displays I found very interesting.

Then, a few pavilions that were big on aesthetics:

Some countries, I am not sure which ones, provided small booths full of fake foods.

I regret that many countries, if not all, played it safe, showing existing farming techniques and heaps of seeds, or photos of rural areas. Not many actual technological advances or plans in line with the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” were being displayed. I was hoping for more science.

That said, the fair was a lot of fun in itself. I was great to walk around at night and get drinks at one of the numerous bars. Lots of things were going on and I really enjoyed that, it was like being at a party with 250,000 other people. And really, who needs a nightclub when we have China?

I am now really looking forward to the next International Expos: Astana (Kazakhstan) in 2017 and Dubai in 2020.