Europe Week Seven: Milan
A bustling metropolis, Milan is a global capital of fashion and home to the national stock exchange. Compared to other major cities in Italy, Milan is so much more modern, elegant, fashionable, and in my personal opinion, liveable. With clean paved roads and pedestrian-safe piazzas, it brings Italy into the modern times. Navigating the streets as a pedestrian felt safe, and I felt like I had entered the real world again. My eyes glistened at the sight of fashion billboards and shopping centers. Oh how I've missed consumerism. With towering skyscrapers as well as beautiful royal historical landmarks, Milan is what a city is to me. It reminded me of of a certain city that never sleeps :)
The main reason we went to Milan was to see the World Expo. With its theme "feeding the planet, energy for life" it brought together over 130 countries to demonstrate the future of food and diet in various cultures, traditions, and technology. However as we and many disapproving anti-expo Italians predicted, the expo focused less on responsible food sources and sustainable development, and more on large fast food corporations and merely putting on a lavish show for uninformed spectators. Squeezing our way through the crowds and barely glancing at the pavilions in our short amount of time there, we walked out not seeing much but sparkly lights and petty displays of "cultural" and "organic" foods.
Luckily we spent the next day visiting the beautiful historic parts of Milan that speak of centuries of politics, art, and culture. We climbed to the rooftop of the gorgeous Gothic-style Duomo, window shopped a little around the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, enjoyed a nice American meal (I miss my burgers and fries!), and strolled around the Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione, a beautiful park full of ducks and beautiful fall foliage.
After a short 24 hours, it was time to head back to Rome sweet home. Despite the gloomy weather (and a run-in with ticket inspectors on the tram), I fell in love with Milan. It's everything I want in a city, a beautiful harmony of past and present that would entice any creative soul.