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Published: November 6th 2015
So we came to the end of our stay in the Aosta Valley, we paid our bill and said a fond farewell to our great hosts and it was time to head back to Milan for our return flight in 2 days. We booked a hotel outside of Milan, near the Expo, handy for the airport. We didn’t intend to go into Milan. We had been there 30 years ago and it still looked the same – probably looked the same 500 years ago too. Not really interested in fashion and we had already eaten our fill of good Italian food. There is a really big antique and vintage market on the last Sunday of the month, along the canal in Milan. Would have liked that. Unfortunately, it was the day after we left. Maybe next time.
It took us about 2 hours to get to our hotel which was a very big conference hotel in the middle of nowhere, situated in a maze of roads off of the highway. Would never have found it at all without the GPS. Wonder how we ever managed before. Not the sort of place I would normally go to – actually the sort
of place that I would never go to but I got a really good deal on a room with a big patio. Big disappointment when we saw the room. Had a small balcony and didn’t look like the photos. We went back to the reception, said we didn’t like the room and that it wasn’t what we booked. They immediately gave us a new room. I guess the room we booked wasn’t available, so they upgraded us to a suite. Yes! – my first hotel upgrade and what a very nice upgrade it was too. It was enormous, two rooms, two balconies, huge furnished patio and kitchen. Really didn’t need it and we weren’t there much, except to sleep but it was a nice way to finish our holiday. The hotel also had a great breakfast.
The same evening we arrived we got the hotel shuttle to the Expo for 10 euros each return. We left at 6 and returned at about 12. It cost 5 euros for an evening entrance card. We intended to spend two evenings and a day there but found that the one evening was enough for us. It was like a big party. Huge
crowds, long lines for everything, it seemed that the whole of Milan was out celebrating. The theme for the Expo is “Feed the Planet” which is sort of funny because the whole thing is such an over-indulgence of everything. We couldn’t get near most of the food and drink stands. There was such a long line for the Belgian frites that I thought that they must be giving them away free. The lines into most of the pavilions meant that we would not be visiting most of them.
I read somewhere that before the information age, world expos were a really big deal. People would see new things that they would never normally see or hear about. Now with the internet, an expo is sort of irrelevant. Maybe that’s true but it was still a fun experience and because we don’t like standing in lines we decided to see it differently. The more popular pavilions had lines of people that I estimate would be waiting for at least an hour. I am amazed that people are prepared to do that. We walked and walked, we saw most of the pavilions from outside. There was a lot of street furniture
and places to rest but we didn’t sit down, we wanted to see as much as possible because we knew we wouldn’t be coming back.
The poorer countries, didn’t have fancy pavilions, they mostly had plain cubes but they made up for it by turning their pavilions into bazaars selling handicrafts with food stands. The food in the Bangladeshi pavilion looked good, we really wanted some but the line was too long and some of the people were shoving and pushing. It smelt so good, it was almost worth fighting for. Some of the African pavilions were happy places with singing and dancing.
As mentioned we couldn’t get into most of the pavilions and weren’t prepared to wait in the long lines for food and drink but don’t worry we didn’t go hungry. My favorite pavilion was the British pavilion. It was at the beginning and one of the first pavilions we saw. They must have been experiencing a lull because there were no lines and we walked right in. It represents a beehive with an orchard and wildflower meadow. Inside we ordered a stilton and spinach pie and a Scottish salmon terrine. Delicious, gourmet even. At six
euro each, a fair price.
We had intended to spend the next day there too but at 12 we dragged ourselves back to the hotel. Tired but happy. It was enough for us. With beautiful weather forecast for our last day, we decided to visit Lake Maggiore.
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