Monday, December 13, 2010

Men waving knives

L' Artigiano in Fiera, (the craftsman's fair), is a unique event that is held every year in Milan. This is a place to learn about and embrace the tradition and culture of the work of over one hundred countries. It had an atmosphere of celebration, chaos and multiculturalism. You were able to come into direct contact with the artisans, as well as the public of Milan that had obviously never been given free things before. Taste tests of various meats, cheeses, sweets, beer and wines were on offer. Also on offer was the push of a crowd panicked that the last taste test would be given to the person in front of them.

This was held at Fiera Milano, a huge exhibition centre, that was, well, huge! It was scheduled from the 4 to the 12 of December, and with six large exhibition halls displaying crafts, Christmas fair, furnishings, art, clothes, and food; Milan proved again that they like to do things big and well. (Disappointingly for me, apparently Australia was too busy to attend this year. Was hoping for vegemite tasting, wooden boomerang, oh and Fosters beer?)

We went on the last day of L’Artigiano in Fiera Christmas craft fair, so it was extremely busy, and perhaps attempting this outing with two small children would of been better done during the week. Transportation for us was easily accessible; it was ten stops away on our train line (Red line, Rho stop), but crowds were not an exemption on the train. This did build the excitement that we were going somewhere special; if we were to be fooled by marketing, then so were the other 1000 people compressed into our train carriage.

The food is of course always a factor for us to mark the success of our outing. We enjoyed some Italian seafood, (deep fried, but my weekend rules are different to my weekly rules), German hot dog, (you'd think I would be over the sausage after our 'meat and potato' holiday, but I was still unsatisfied with quality of hot dog experience after our German trip), and an array of sweets from middle east, (that my daughter and son managed to devour extremely quickly). Biscuits, meats, truffle and sweets were sampled, and I must admit that the array of choice was overwhelming. Cuba's only stall was for 5€ majitos and daiquiris, and Spain had paella pans so big I wanted to take a soup bath.

Interesting, (concerning) sights on the day included; men waving knives at you with bits of meat on the tip and expecting you to approach them, real fur (hats, scarves, jackets and gloves), gas masks, samurai swords and voodoo dolls. Just made me want to find a wild furry animal and provide it with gas mask for safety, sword for self defence and voodoo doll for revenge.

When the crowds became too much at the fair, we squeezed back onto the train with the entire population of Milan and experienced what being trapped in a lift with 10 elephants would be like. This was another outing that may make the annual list...

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