Exploring Milan and the World’s Fair
When I told people I was going to the World’s Fair in Milan aka the Expo, I received many messages inquiring about the availability of corndogs, pork chops on a stick and maple on snow (a New Englander favorite). Sure they serve those items at America’s building on the grounds, but that is not why people attend this fair. Even comparing it to a state fair is problematic, as one tends to envision teetering oversized folks sporting sunburns and slushies. When you walk on the the grounds you see opulent multimillion dollar pavilions constructed and designed by 145 participating countries all over the world, erected to promote education, cultural enrichment through food and interaction, and possibly a secret competition to who could make the best Instagram backdrop. Every year there is a different theme and the 2015 theme was ‘feeding the world’ and educating about food nutrition and sustainability. To be honest I didn’t really find it very educational but I did enjoy dining at the Thai pavilion on coconut water and spring rolls, eating curry in India and going to the Chocolate Museum.
You can walk around all day on the shaded grounds. If you are like me and want to people watch, no problem, the Italians know the drill and have set up ergonomically designed lounge pods everywhere so you can eat gelato and watch the attractive throngs float by. The crowd here is what you would expect to see in any part of Italy, lithe bodies dressed in well made clothes and leather shoes, it really is a live fashion show. I went to several pavilions while I was there for the day but it is hard to see all of them without multiple visits. My favorites were Iran, for the mirrored gardens, China for its garden and roof shape, Quatar for the basket inspired architecture (see these in order below) and Israel for its living wall. Russia knew how to party though, as we left around 11pm Russians were dancing and yelling on the roof and DMX was pumping out of their speakers. Only a 10 minute walk away from the Expo is the Klima Hotel Milano, a quiet nature inspired hotel with modern sensibilities and a gracious staff.
Located in an industrial part of town (as is the Expo) it can be a bit hard to find by car, since the roads are wind and curve in strange ways. As long as you have GPS you will be fine. It is a very safe and quiet area which makes for a good walk in the evening with no chance of any mishaps. When you arrive, the building has a very futuristic look, it is tall and white with living walls on the outside and is a nice contrast to the other warehouse type buildings in the vicinity. The multi-lingual staff make check in a breeze and on your way up to the room don’t forget to stop by the beautiful mirrored bar for some free snacks and an Aperol Spritz, which is the local appertivo made with prosecco, Aperol, club soda and an orange slice.
The rooms are recently remodeled and reminded me of a more high end Aloft hotel with the same great tech functionalities they offer. There are USB plug outlets on all bedside tables with some more luxe perks like local sparkling mineral water and high thread count cotton sheets. The bathrooms boasted a gorgeous stone tiling and light airy feel with great water pressure- I cannot abide bad water pressure. It was quiet as can be in the hotel, so after a night of rest we headed down to the free breakfast. I feel bad calling it free breakfast because I don’t want you to think Cheerios and old muffins. There were cappuccinos, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, sausage, amazing croissants and danishes, local cheeses and cured meats, cereal, Nutella and jam and some fruit and juice as well. Everything tasted fresh and delicious as it always does in Italy. We didn’t get a chance to stay for dinner but we heard that it was a fantastic place.
If you are looking for accommodations near the 2016 Expo, or just to get out of the hustle and bustle of Milano Centrale check out the Klima, you will love the architecture, the living walls and the zen ambience this hotel has to offer.