Towards more sustainable travel

I love traveling and think it’s a great way to refresh, recharge while at the same time learning more about different places and cultures. So I was a bit unsure how to react to this news article – http://www.dnaindia.com/just-before-monday/report-the-ugly-side-of-travel-is-your-hobby-leaving-a-massive-carbon-footprint-behind-2645694

As kids, I remember our annual summer holidays where we would take the train to travel to grandparent’s place. The train journey was as much part of the holiday as meeting family. Maybe one option is to try and take more sustainable modes of transport while holidaying, wherever feasible.

The first holiday we took when we moved to Bangalore was to Mysore. And we took the train rather than a car. We took the Shatabdi and it was extremely comfortable and stress free. Similarly, when we took a trip to Kerala, we took the train one way. Kids enjoyed the experience of an overnight train, sleeping in ‘bunk beds’, as they called it!

Yes, it is not always possible in this day and age, when time is in such short supply. The impact of travel and tourism on sustainability is a topic that I am very interested in, and will look at in more detail.

If you have any suggestion, ideas, please let me know. Thanks!

The Museums of Paris

The museums of Paris are great attractions to visit, especially if it’s cold and wet outside (as it is when we were visiting) or if one is traveling with very small children (as we were :-)).

The Louvre was the first museum that we visited. One of the benefits of visiting in the off season is that we did not encounter mad crowds. And as we were traveling with a little child, we did not have to stand in the general queue to enter.

We also got to see the Mona Lisa at leisure. In addition, the vast spaces of the Louvre meant that my little one could easily stretch her legs.

The second museum we visited was the Musee d’Orsay. Good collection of art in an iconic setting. Here is an image of the famous clock there.

Clock - Musee d'Orsay
Clock – Musee d’Orsay

The final museum we visited (not counting the Palace of Versailles that I will cover in a separate post) was the Musee de l’Orangerie. Both my wife and I are fans of Impressionist paintings, so we enjoyed our visit to this relatively small, but beautiful museum.

 

Paris – Eiffel Tower and Seine river cruise

Continuing with the flashback to our visit to Paris, we next visited the Eiffel Tower. We were lucky in that we were traveling in the off season, so the lines to go to the top were minimal and we were able to spend a good amount of time and get some great views across the city. It was a wonderful sight to see the twinkling lights of the great city down below. Just as we were leaving, there was a brief light show. We got great views of it from right below.

The next day we went on a Seine river cruise. This was not something that I had read about before visiting, but it provided for some great views of famous city monuments such as the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Palais Bourbon.

Flashback to Paris

The other day I was watching the finale of the Tour de France happening through the streets of Paris. It reminded me of my week there as a tourist more than 5 years back.

Paris, at that time, was first on my travel bucket list. We were staying in Ireland at that time and, at the first available opportunity, we made our plans to visit the ‘City of Lights’.

And Paris did not disappoint. Never mind that it was late February and snowing, the city more than lived up to its reputation. Maybe it was because of the weather in that it might have been less crowded with tourists than at other times, but whatever the reason, I left with the feeling that I have to be back and see more of this wonderful city.

We stayed the first couple of nights in a hotel in the 1st Arrondisement. Memories are a bit vague now, but I believe we visited the Champs Elysees on the first day and the Louvre on the second. Here are some photos from these places.

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Towards a healthier diet

People who are meeting me after a few months almost invariable comment that I have lost weight. And I tell them that it is by choice. I have made some changes to my eating habits that I believe has caused me to lose a few kilos and, more importantly, feel lighter, fresher and happier.

The story goes back a few months when I was going through a rather bumpy phase. My stress levels were high and so was my blood pressure. It was at this stage that my wife heard about a naturopathy based cooking workshop. As I have a strong interest in cooking and strongly felt that I needed to make a change, I registered for it.

The session was an eye-opener in terms of what we typically end up putting in our stomachs (and bodies). The workshop also recommended a few changes that we could make in our cooking habits to lead a healthier life.

I won’t say that I have implemented everything that I learnt in the workshop, but even the few changes I have made seem to be working. What are these changes? Quite simple actually. Reduce the amount of processed food that we eat (no chips, deep fried stuff, etc.) Reduce salt and sugar. Reduce (ideally eliminate) the use of oil in cooking (use nuts instead). Avoid tea. Have an early dinner. It was told that our bodies only need two meals a day. I still have three meals, but I only have a light dinner, and I typically have my dinner by 7 pm.

But the most important change I have made is to incorporate fruits into my diet. I begin my lunch and dinner with a course of fruits. I feel that this enables my body to absorb all the goodness in the fruits and also means that I eat less of the other (more processed) stuff.  If there in one change I would like everyone to make, it would be this.