Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Drink three cups of coffee a day - to beat back cardiovascular diseases

[Photo: Pixabay]

Coffee is one the most favoured drink around the world. If it is properly brewed, specially from the fresh beans, the aroma and taste is simply fantastic. 

But other than drinking coffee for taste, relaxation and simple enjoyment, it has many health benefits. Although, the health benefits of coffee related to the cardiovascular diseases have always been subject to agreements and disagreements, a latest study shows that three coffees a day cuts risk of heart attacks or should we say drinking a moderate amount found to reduce clogging of the arteries.

Researchers found those who drink a moderate amount each day are least likely to have 'coronary calcium' in their arteries – an early indicator of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The study has been carried out by scientists who studied a group of more than 25,000 Korean men and women with an average age of 41, who had no signs of heart disease. They found the prevalence of detectable CAC was 13.4 per cent amongst the whole group while the average amount of coffee drunk was 1.8 cups per day.  

Their findings showed the calcium ratios were 0.77 for people who had less than one cup per day, 0.66 for those having one to three cups every day, 0.59 for those consuming three to five cups per day, and 0.81 for people having at least five cups or more every day compared with non-coffee drinkers.

Please read more about this latest discovery and findings of the study at the Daily Mail. You may start taking coffee - not only for enjoyment and taste, but also to take care of your cardiovascular health too.

By the way, see the video below to know how to make a perfect cup of coffee:

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Aqua Bella: The Dolphins Show - Delfinarium, Netherlands

The visit to the famous Dutch Dofinarium in the city of Harderwijk was great fun. We had driven from Groningen where we were staying with my school days friend Tariq Hashmi and were really excited and looking forward to see the dolphins - something we had seen in the movies so far.

However, upon arrival we were informed that the dolphin show is already in progress and would be repeated at least 2-3 three hours later. Instead we could see the walrus and seals show. We did not know that of this surprise as like dolphins, we had not seen mighty walrus or the seals before. So we first went to see the Walrus Show - I have already written post on it, followed by the seals show. And then it was time to move on to the big dome shaped indoor pool for the Aqua Bella - or the Dolphin Show.

My son posing with his mother outside the big domed indoor pool for the dolphins show
 My sons readying for the dolphin show

The show began with an awesome slide show and clips about Netherlands with dramatic sound effect, as can be seen in the photos above and below before the show began.

It was as surprise that a dolphin came so close to us and was allowed to be patted by a young boy before she swam back for an awe inspiring show of almost an hour long. See some of their feats in the video at the end of the post. 

After the magnificent show was over, we had a photo session as did all the tourists inside the dome to mark our presence in the Dolfinarium - something that is a life time meomry.


Now it is time to watch the video of the spectacular show by the dolphins of Dolfinarium:

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Walrus Show - Dolfinarium, Netherlands

In one of my previous posts, I talked of my visit to the Dolfinarium, Netherlands - the Largest Marine Mammal Park in Europe. Well that was just the introduction to this unique marine mammal park, as there is much more to it when one enters the park. There are vast water ponds housing seals, dolphins and walruses. Not only the display, but there are daily shows by each mammal that one can never forget later in life.

Although we were straightaway interested in seeing the dolphins show first, but it was already in progress and the walrus show was just about to begin. So we also queued up behind the already long queue to enter the walrus arena.

Scroll down for a short video clip of the show

My family posing before joining the queue for the walrus show

We are seen enjoying the show (above and below)

Once inside the arena, there was already a large crowd of spectators occupying the long wooden benches waiting for the show to begin. We too got a place on the farther end - though it would have better had we got a place in the centre of the sitting area to watch the show right in front of us.

No sooner the arena was almost jam packed the show unveiled. And it was so interesting to watch giant walrus mammals performing mind blowing feats of physical activity that one could resist appreciating their trainers to train these giant animals perform great feats of physical activity.

Herein under are some of the photos that I took during the show:

I do not know how many of you do sit ups, but watching doing sit ups by these tons heavy walrus was really awesome and worth applauding.


 And after sit ups, the push ups by walrus was another mind blowing feat as can be seen above

Beside taking photos, I also managed to take a few video shots that I have put together to show you the live coverage of the the walrus show. Some of the photos above will be augmented when you see the video clip, I have already shared on YouTube, as seen below:

People moving away after the show

But that was not the end. There is a huge lift that can take you in the basement from where you can see the huge walruses swimming by from the big green glass windows. Here are some of the shots:

This kid found it amusing to watch the walrus from very close quarters - almost face to face. And perhaps the walrus also enjoyed it too and stayed there for quite sometime till the kid moved away.

This brings me to the end of this wonderful show - something I had never seen before, except in movies. But this is not the end of wonders of the Dolfinarium. There are still two more shows remaining: The seal and dolphins show. I will share these separately in my subsequent posts.

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Saturday, February 28, 2015

I was 'robbed' in France

Many of you may have heard the famous song 'I was lost in France' by one of my favourite singers Bonnie Tyler and I also fall in love with the song as it was beautifully sung. But I never knew that I will have to repeat the title of the song a little reworded as 'I was robbed in France,' one day.

In my previous post on 'A visit to Sacré-Cœur - Paris,' I said in the ending note that while visiting the beautiful piece of architecture was a great thing to do, the going away from the place left me in quite a bad taste and that I would write about it in my next post - and this 'the' next post. 

As I said in my previous post, we found it very difficult to find a parking near the small bazaar leading to the Sacré-Cœur and we had to go down in an alley finally to find a parking. The alley seemed less frequented as it was a residential area and probably was the reason why of writing this post.

While we were driving in Paris, we found boards at many places that tourists should not leave valuable things in their car as car burglars often break the car windows to snatch the valuable. While I was parking the car, I mad sure that I do not leave behind any valuable on the seats, though the boot contained laptops of sons and other shopping.  But one thing attractive was the camera casing of my camera that we left in the car and probably that prompted a thief to break in the rear right window of the car and snatch the 'camera' - which may have been a disappointed for him as it was empty.

We were saved because of the security system fo the BMW cars as these do not open unless one has the original keys. So even after breaking the glass, the thief could not open the doors and was to contend with empty camera casing.

But in doing so, he did the damage. And now you can well imagine how expensive is the window glass of a brand new BMW we had rented form Germany to visit Holland, Belgium and France. Luckily at the time of renting the car, I had insured the car by paying a little extra that helped us out of the misery and any further financial loss.

Although the experience was pretty bad, but all Parisians are not bad. The owner of the house in front of whose house we had parked our vehicle was an  old woman. She along with her son came out and help us clean the mess of broken glass pieces from the car. 

The old woman (left of the photo) had gone to the neighbours across the street and when she saw us in distress came for all out help with her son 

Not only that, her son also used scotch tape to close the broken window lest its pieces fell on us while we drove . The photos (above and below) are with the good people of Paris and my family.

Although we had not lost anything valuable, our day was lost as the car rental company had its office at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, which was quite far away from the place of 'theft.' So we drove to the car rental company, where our car was replaced with a similar BMW car for our further journey in Paris and back to Kiel, Germany.

So while you are in foreign lands, be careful of your belongings as pick-pocketing and car burgling are often experienced by tourists not familiar with Paris and its 'life-style.'

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Huacachina – Peru: A desert oasis invites tourists who dare

About three years ago, I shared a post about a desert oasis in the sizzling hot Gobi Desert of China. Many of my readers doubted the authenticity of the existence of a lake right in the centre of one of the hottest deserts of the world where water evaporates in seconds. But it was right there – an oasis with a crescent shaped lake.

An oasis with a crescent shaped lake in one of the hottest deserts of the world: The Gobi Desert (China)

But as if that was just the beginning. There is yet a similar lakes right in the desert of Peru at Huacachina which has recently been an attractive tourist and travel destination from people around the world.

Huacachina – Peru - Just see the similarity between the two oases

The town of Huacachina is located in one of the driest place on the earth with only 96 residents. But it has hotels enough to accommodate those daring tourists who would not only like to enjoy a boat ride or a swim in the lake but also sandboard on the slops of the high dunes surrounding the oasis. 

The unique and awesome Huacachina oasis is situated only 4km from the southern city of Ica, a former Spanish colonial town located on the borders of the desert. Today, descendents of the Inca people make their living by hosting guests coming from afar to climb to the top of a wind-sculptured sand dune and watch the sunset illuminate the golden landscape, before sailing down the slopes on rented sandboards or dune buggies.

The lake is naturally formed, but there is a legend that a young princess was bathing when she was discovered by a hunter and fled, leaving behind a pool of water. Her flowing cloak was said to have created the surrounding sand dunes.

Watch tourists sandboarding on the high dunes surrounding the Huacachina oasis in the video below:

Read more and see more photos of this unique oasis at Daily Mail
Attributes: All photos above are the property of people/organizations as shown each on the photo and are being shared as shared in the Daily Mail.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A visit to Sacré-Cœur - Paris

On the second day in Paris, our destination was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris or the Sacré-Cœur-Paris - and yet simply the White Cathedral.  The Sacré-Cœur is a Roman Catholic church, located at the summit of the butte Montmartre, overlooking the Paris.

The drive up the summit through narrow streets was awesome and once up there, the parking of the car was one big problem as already tourists had thronged the area and we could not find a place near the small bazaar which finally leades to the church. However, we finally were able to find a parking place far down the summit and walking up the summit took a heavy toll of us and almost left me breathless.

The bazaar was full of souveniers and paintings of the church and Paris. And of course there were a number of eateries for providing the necessary relief to the hungry tourists as the morning breakfast had already been digested whie climbing up the summit.

Scroll down for photos of the Sacré-Cœur:

The structure of the church speaks volume of its space and strength which is in white stones - that is why it is commonly known as the white church.  It was designed by Paul Abadie and its construction began in 1875 and was finished in 1914. It was consecrated after the end of World War I in 1919.

The church from inside is magnificent and immensely built and decorated. However, it was unfortunate that the tourists were not allowed to take photos and I cannot explain the massiveness of the structure as it looks from inside. The huge church bell, the Savoyarde, has nationalist references: Savoy was annexed to France in 1860. Cast in Annecy in 1895, it is one of the world's heaviest bells at 19 tons.

According to architecture details given at Wikipedia, the Sacré-Cœur is built of travertine stone quarried in Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), France. This stone constantly exudes calcite, which ensures that the basilica remains white even with weathering and pollution. And this is why it is commonly known as the White Church.

There are two places from where one can have an impressive all round view of Paris: The Eiffel Tower and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris. While at the Eiffel Tower, my son spotted the church in the far distance and took a long distance shot of the church which I have already shared as under in my earlier post Paris down below - as seen from the Eiffel Tower. It is claimed that the highest point of the church is even higher than the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The visit to Sacré-Cœur  would remain a memorable part of the tour to Paris for two reasons: For one we came and saw the massive structure that overlooks Paris same as the Eiffel Tower does, and secondly, the visit ended in an event that robbed us of our valuable time to visit Paris that evening. I would talk about it in one of my next posts.

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