How Your Immune System Works

How Your Immune System Works

With all these controversies around the COVID 19 virus, I thought it was time to dust off “The Immune System Handbook: Your Owner’s Manual which I wrote a number of years ago. I think it is time for people to understand how their immune system works. This blog is an excerpt from the book.

“The immune system, in simple terms, is a group of biochemicals, cells, tissues and organs strategically located throughout the body. Constantly challenged, these cells work together, detecting any foreign substance in the body, defending and abolishing what does not belong.

At least a thousand times a day, clusters of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, allergens and other assorted microorganisms try to invade the body. We eat bacteria; we pick up a fungus; we inhale a pollen. Not all of these microorganisms are hostile. Some of these microbes live in us and others live on us. Others directly benefit us. They grow, reproduce and feed on what we discard. But those that do pose a threat are usually destroyed, routinely, quietly and unknown to us.

The immune system is naive at first; it educates itself through each exposure to each new and unknown invader. Without this system we could not survive. When it malfunctions, we are vulnerable to a huge variety of diseases from allergy to arthritis to cancer.

If you have an excellent genetic composition, you will probably enjoy a good natural defense against infections and diseases. You may stay healthy in spite of yourself, even if you are a heavy smoker, heavy drinker or poor eater.

Most of us carry within our body’s organisms, which if left unchallenged, would destroy us. They often live near us in a kind of standoff relationship. They can overpower us if we are injured or weakened by stress, exhaustion or malnutrition. Then the delicate balance is upset. We become vulnerable to their attack and the many illnesses they unleash.

When the immune system functions normally, it can tell whether out of body invaders “belong” inside you or not. When a foreign invader enters the bloodstream, it has surface markers. These markers fit perfectly with certain immune system cells like a key fits in a lock. This lets the immune system, in effect, “fingerprint” the invader cell which in turn allows the immune system to distinguish “self” from “nonself”. “Nonself” can be viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic, chemical or even a portion or product of one of these organisms.

Tissues or cells from another individual (except identical twins) also act as “nonself”. The immune system recognizes transplanted tissues as foreign and it rejects them. The body will even reject nourishing proteins unless they are first broken down by the digestive system into their primary, non-invader building blocks. As cells of the immune system patrol the body, they seek any particle that does not have the “self” marker.

The immune system can identify the precise nature of millions of intruders. Once it detects the intruders, it sets in motion a complex chain reaction designed to produce specific weapons to fight each of them. It is also designed to protect the body from further attack.

Have you ever wondered why some of us get sick and some of us don’t? Or why do some of us get better very quickly, while some of us are sick for longer periods of time? We are all exposed to the same viruses and bacteria, yet our immune systems handle the invasions differently. The answers to why our immune systems are different seem to lie at the cellular level of the body. Several factors contribute to immune functioning.

Firstly, we all have different genetic material that makes up our immune systems. Secondly, our cells must be cared for, nourished and maintained in a proper biochemical environment. Cells can be strengthened by natural food, good water and air, sleep, relaxation, breathing, exercise, good mental and emotional health, and a sense of purpose a spiritual connection. Cells are nourished by vitamins, minerals and trace elements, amino acids, carbohydrates and essential fatty acids.

Thirdly, our cells must be protected from today’s environmental pollution, dietary stresses and stressful lifestyle which frustrate and damage cellular function. These enemies of good health may make us more vulnerable, thereby allowing other undesirables to take over.

One of the most important results of our new knowledge about the immune system is this: illness or disease reflects immune system dysfunction. You have probably already anticipated the flip side of this coin: Health reflects an immune system which is working well.”

Feel free to contact me for more support ideas for your immune system.

Lead your day,

Charlene


Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/07/01/how-your-immune-system-works/

7 Best Food Tours To Experience In Europe

Go on an adventure to tickle your taste buds and participate in the best food tours in Europe. If you’re an avid foodie, your palate, as well as your Instagram feed,  jumps with joy with what you will experience. Europe provides a rich and varied culinary culture. It waits for you to savor and sip your way through some famous cities. Travel is much more than just sights and sounds, your other senses will be deliciously heightened. Of course, the best way to visit famous cities in Europe is by train. The best way to experience the gastronomic genius is for you to dedicate ample time to delve into food that is created with passion and flair. Here are our top of  7 Best Food Tours To Experience In Europe.

1. Food Tours To Experience In Europe: From Baguettes To Bistro In Paris, France

If there is one city that can knock your socks off with culinary creativity, it’s Paris and it is, therefore, first on the list for best food tours in Europe.

Many food tours that run in Paris should rather be called Food Educations because they are drenched in history. Traditions have been passed down through the centuries.

Be inspired by Parisian passion. Everything is covered from the basics of bread and cheese to their famous delicacy, foie gras as well as homemade rillettes and Armagnac. You can also revel in Parisian cafe culture.

As you wind your way through side streets, amaze yourself at how many chic restaurants, cafes, delis, and boulangeries there are. Paris has the perfect blend of age-old recipes and the new and trending in the foodie sphere.

Amsterdam to Paris Trains

London to Paris Trains

Rotterdam to Paris Trains

Brussels to Paris Trains

Baguettes Bistro In Paris, France

2. Food Extravaganza: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

If you want to see a different side of Amsterdam and its foodie scene, explore the courtyards and back streets of the Jordaan District. This is where you find fine food purveyors eager to share their creations as well as give some insight into the city’s rich Indonesian culinary heritage.

We recommend you try the apple pie at the iconic 400-year-old cafe, Cafe Papeneiland. You could also try smoked sausage made from a century-old family recipe and learn the Dutch way to eat herring.

Brussels to Amsterdam Trains

London to Amsterdam Trains

Berlin to Amsterdam Trains

Paris to Amsterdam Trains

3. The Art Of Craft Beer Food In Prague, Czech Republic

If you find yourself in Prague, do what the hipsters do and enjoy a craft beer and food tour. You can even take a tour with a beer expert. They will be happy to take you on a Pivo (beer) journey unlike any other.

Naturally, craft beer is always enjoyed by eating a few choice local morsels. You could try scotch eggs or Czech dumplings with braised beef to name but a few of the foodie treasures of Prague. It’s a definite for our list of best food tours in Europe.

Nuremberg to Prague Trains

Munich to Prague Trains

Berlin to Prague Trains

Vienna to Prague Trains

The Art Of Craft Beer and Food In Prague, Czech Republic

4. Food Tours To Experience In Europe: Age-Old Traditions In Madrid, Spain

For a bonafide foodie adventure, Madrid does not disappoint!

Meander through Madrid and meet local vendors and restaurateurs. You’ll gain a fascinating insight into not only their food but their culture.

Try local wine and cheese delights in the historic Anton Martin Market. Have some of, arguably, the best cheesecakes in the world, some of which are baked in hundred-year-old ovens.

Best Food Tours To Experience In Madrid Spain

5. Savor The City From An Insiders Perspective: Venice, Italy

Venice struggles with over-tourism so if you’re headed there for food, the best option is to book a tour. Book with someone who knows the ins and outs of the city and how to possibly avoid the crowds and let you find some hidden gems.

Take a gondola ride across the canal to a pasta restaurant and drink a glass of prosecco before you check out some famous wine bars, popular with local Casanova’s.

Milan to Venice Trains

Padua to Venice Trains

Bologna to Venice Trains

Rome to Venice Trains

pizza fest in venice

6. Food Tours To Experience In Europe: The International Food Scene In Berlin, Germany

Berlin’s food scene is right on trend and international food gold. It is the best place to make friends when you are foodie traveling. Nothing brings people together quite as food does.

We recommend that you consider a personalized food tour with a local where you can roll up your sleeves and fix yourself a traditional feast, Berlin-style.

If you don’t want to make everything yourself, you can check out the Kreuzberg’s Turkish Market or make a stop (or three) at various cafes and bakeries.

Frankfurt to Berlin Trains

Leipzig to Berlin Trains

Hanover to Berlin Trains

Hamburg to Berlin Trains

The International Food Scene In Berlin, Germany

7. An Authentic Foodie Experience: Vienna, Austria

Vienna is all charm, especially when it comes to tastes. It has a palpable authenticity and you should start with a visit to a classic Viennese coffee house. From the coffee house, you can make your way to the popular Naschmarket, a traditional gem with a wide variety of Austrian specialties that include cheese and vinegar.

If you want to try the best sausage you have ever had, then take a trip to Wurstelstand and wash it all down with some Austrian wines at a historic cellar. To end it all off perfectly (there is always enough space for dessert) visit a great chocolate shop.

Salzburg to Vienna Trains

Munich to Vienna Trains

Graz to Vienna Trains

Prague to Vienna Trains

Best Food Tours To Experience In Vienna

Food Tours To Experience In Europe: Conclusion

The best food tours in Europe are designed to simply blow your mind and palate. There is no shortage of options.

Wherever you go, browse through the listings of the tours that would best suit you.

Choose what you would like to experience and use Save A Train for your train travel needs.


Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/06/16/7-best-food-tours-to-experience-in-europe/

How To Plan A Solo Travel Trip?

Solo travel at its best is unadulterated self-indulgence and spontaneity. It’s the freedom to come and go as you please, stay in one place longer on a whim and skip the commercialized sites; if you couldn’t be bothered. The only compromises you need to make are to yourself. Among many of the growing global travel trends, solo trips are taking the top spot, but with great solo trips come great responsibility. You know what they say, there are pros and cons to any situation. Your desire to go it alone means you have to be forward-thinking and prepared. The buck stops with you. When things go a little pear-shaped, you need to have the confidence and savvy to sort it out. Here are a few of our best tips How To Plan A Solo Travel Trip.

Solo Travel Trip: Travel By Train

One of the most popular modes of transportation for solo travelers is to travel by train. Traveling by train opens up a great number of destinations that you can squeeze into a few weeks. There is also the social element, it’s a great way to connect with fellow adventurers in a safe environment. Solo travel by train is also a great way to really be able to see destinations and landscapes as you pass through them. There is also a rumor that train conductors are the perfect people to ask about train photography, try it for your next perfect Instagram story.

Amsterdam to Paris Trains

London to Paris Trains

Rotterdam to Paris Trains

Brussels to Paris Trains

Travel By Train is the best

Choosing A Destination Booking Accommodation

When you choose a destination for your solo travels — check off-season, which may help stretch your budget a little further. The entire trip is yours but so is the cost. Having that in mind, check the weather! Some destinations during the off-season are simply horrid and it would be a good idea to keep in mind major events or holidays that can send prices skyrocketing. There is no shortage of accommodation, wherever you decide to travel, hotels, BB’s, and Airbnb’s abound. Pick the one that is right for you and your budget.

Marseilles to Lyon Trains

Paris to Lyon Trains

Lyon to Paris Trains

Lyon to Avignon Trains

Use Trains On Your Solo Travel Trip

Solo Travel Trip: Planning Your Itinerary

Spontaneity is one of the best perks of solo travel but, to begin with, try and have a detailed itinerary. It’s an excellent starting point. Identify key highlights of the destination you have chosen and set up a timeline. The beauty of having a detailed itinerary is that it can guide you while at the same time allow you to change as you go along.

Brussels to Amsterdam Trains

London to Amsterdam Trains

Berlin to Amsterdam Trains

Paris to Amsterdam Trains

Take Photos During Your Travels

Stay Safe

Safety first has never been apter. If you’re traveling somewhere new and unchartered for you, be mindful of local crime hot spots and do your research! When you’re out and about, keep your valuables out of plain sight and try not to walk around looking down at your phone. Carry your hotel name and address with you, just in case. Try and familiarise yourself with some local emergency numbers and while you research safety information for your particular destination, do a little research on cultural etiquette as well. One of the best safety precautions is sharing your itinerary with a friend or a family member. Let people know where you are and what your plans are. Update them on any changes you may make along the way.

Frankfurt to Berlin Trains

Leipzig to Berlin Trains

Hanover to Berlin Trains

Hamburg to Berlin Trains

How To Plan A Solo Travel Trip

Solo Travel Trip: Make Friends Along The Way

While solo travel is great, you can go for days without speaking to someone. The peace might be one of the reasons you are traveling solo but it can eventually take its toll. Luckily, when you are on the move, it’s quite easy to meet new people and strike up a few conversations. Be confident. Keep your ears open for a familiar accent to your own and remember that shared experiences are a perfect ice breaker to connect with fellow travelers.

Amsterdam To London Trains

Paris to London Trains

Berlin to London Trains

Brussels to London Trains

Make Friends Along Your Travels

Pack Light

When you solo travel, you need to make sure you can carry everything on your own. One carry-on, a suitcase or a backpack should be the perfect amount of luggage whether you are traveling for one week or three. Pack for the destination, dress for the weather, which should lighten your load. You’d be surprised at how good it feels to pack only the essentials and leave the clutter behind. Your camera is always a necessity, solo travel and photography go hand in hand.

Salzburg to Vienna Trains

Munich to Vienna Trains

Graz to Vienna Trains

Prague to Vienna Trains

Solo Travel Trip: Dinner For One

If you are brave enough to branch into solo travel, you are brave enough to eat alone. In many countries, breakfast and lunch tend to be more on the casual side so if you are fearing the table for one scenario, start with these meal times. Take a book or a journal with you and if dining alone really isn’t your thing, look into local meetup groups. You can connect with people who revel in foodie outings and if you want to really want to avoid the crowds, look for accommodation that offers a kitchenette and cook up your own storm.

Munich to Zurich Trains

Berlin to Zurich Trains

Basel to Zurich Trains

Vienna to Zurich Trains

Eating on a Solo Travel Trip

Try Arriving In The Day

When you are planning your itinerary, try to plan to arrive during daylight hours. It is quite a daunting task to find your way through an unfamiliar city in the dark and even more so when you are doing it solo. Planning will be an intricate part of your solo travel mission, to begin with, and you can ebb and flow as you move along but these small details make a tremendous difference.

Luxembourg to Brussels Trains

Antwerp to Brussels Trains

Amsterdam to Brussels Trains

Paris to Brussels Trains

Solo Travel Trip Photos

You’re making the right choice to do some traveling on your own and having a Solo Trip. You will be far more perceptive and open to what is happening around you. Always trust your gut instinct when traveling and use Save A Train!


Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/05/30/how-to-plan-a-solo-travel-trip/

Soap or Sanitizers

Soap or Sanitizers

Currently we are being inundated with the Coronavirus or Covid-19. This virus is a large strand of RNA coated with structural proteins. The structural proteins are enclosed in a lipid membrane acting like an envelop. From the envelop spikes emanate giving the appearance of a crown. (Corona is Latin for crown.) So, the lipid membrane is the Achilles heel of the virus. It is easily destroyed by soap or sanitizers. This easily inactivates it before it finds a host.

As a result, we are being asked to wash our hands often with soap or sanitizers for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing or blowing one’s nose.

Soap or sanitizers? Which is best?

Let’s look at our skin first. The skin has a thin protective layer that is referred to as the acid mantle. It is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. The pH of our skin is between 4.5 and 6.2. So, the skin’s natural pH is mildly acidic. It is important to maintain the acid mantle, as a damaged acid mantle can lead to dehydration, oily skin, acne, and sensitivity.

Sanitizers

Repeated and frequent use of hand sanitizer has the potential to cause irritation to your hands over time damage through dryness, irritation, itching, scaliness, and even cracking and bleeding.  Excessively washing your hands and using hand sanitizers will deplete the skin’s natural protective barrier. This array of symptoms is referred to as irritant contact dermatitis.

The alcohol base that makes these products effective can be irritating to the skin. Alcohol strips the skin barrier of essential proteins and lipids, resulting in irritation and leaving hands feeling dry and sore. Another type of skin reaction, allergic contact dermatitis, is rare and represents an allergy to some ingredient in a hand hygiene product.

Drying and cracking invite trouble as skin is the first line of defence. The skin normally acts as a barrier to keep moisture in and harmful agents out. Too much washing with a sanitizer could raise risk from other viruses. You can even get so dry and flaky that you start to have fissures or cracks in the skin where it hurts and burns when things enter. That could be a portal for bacteria to set in and cause an infection as well.

Also, sanitizers don’t clean off food residue. You may think that the sanitizer is the answer to anything visible or invisible that can soil your hands, but it’s not the case. Things like fats and sugar deposits don’t vanish from your hands because you added sanitizer. You need soap suds and water to wash them away.

Some medical experts have started to warn that the overuse of alcohol-based hand sanitizers to protect against the coronavirus could inversely raise the risk of infection via skin disorders. Overdoing the sanitizers may remove benign bacteria on the skin that normally fend off the viruses.

Anti-bacterial soap doesn’t work on viruses and the FDA banned 19 active ingredients in antibacterial soaps and body washes, including triclosan and triclocarban—the two most commonly used ingredients.

Soap

Soap is a surfactant, so it works well for destroying germs and viruses. The hand soap I use is super-mild and sudsy. It has wheat germ oil and algae extract to moisturize; soy protein to condition; aloe, marshmallow, and linden flower extracts to soothe; and rosemary and arnica extracts to energize. It is also pH balanced to not harm the acid mantle of our skin. 

So, since we are being asked to wash our hands frequently these days, I recommend protecting your acid mantle with soap and washing for 20 seconds to dismantle the lipid membrane of the virus.

Lead your day,

Charlene

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/05/07/soap-or-sanitizers/

Strategies for COVID-19

Strategies for COVID-19

So much has changed in the last month. We are in an unusual time, for all of us, for the whole world. The crisis of the global spread of coronavirus is touching all of us and changing our lives.

Why we need some strategies.

We might be depressed as we grieve the life as we knew it is now gone. Many of us are feeling grief as we have lost our “normal” activities and routines, our loss of personal connection, our loss of safety.

Then there is the anticipatory grief, uncertainty about the economic situation, and the fear that we have for loved ones and their safety.

Basically, we are going through the phases of grief. Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance.

First there was the shock and then denial and many of us were in denial for a while around this pandemic. Then we experienced anger along with bargaining where we bargained about what we were going to give up. Then the next phase where it really hit us, and we experienced sadness, depression and even loneliness. This phase is where we can’t process it all and we go into fight or flight. Then we moved into acceptance where we started to accept this new reality and taking back control of what we can do.

Now we can’t control what is happening outside, but we can control what is happening inside. We can control our thinking and how we respond to things. This is really important as we cannot have a healthy body if we don’t have a healthy mind. If your mind is sick, it will make your body sick. The bombardment of news, social media and virus updates are only going to make you more susceptible to what is going around. Cortisol attacks the immune system.

So, you need to protect your mind and then feed your mind. Your mind is where the battleground is taking place and that is the gate to your body, so it is important that the positive win over the negative. Keep the negative news at bay because without even knowing it, your body could be in a constant fight-or-flight mode which can deplete nutrients.

Focus on programs, seminars and activities that are going to feed you positivity.

Here are some strategies:

1. believe that your future is greater than your past

2. move away from stressful situations, guard your mind from negativity

3. Be kind to others and know when you even observe kindness it increases your serotonin by 70% and your immune system goes up

4. See presence not the human personality when looking at others

5. Movement – walking, stay active, exercise

6. Good organic nutrition, fresh water, eat more vegetables and fruit, take supplements

7. Spend time in nature

8. Take 15-20 minutes for yourself, meditate

9. Sleep more, practice self care

10. Take a few minutes to reflect and be grateful, keep a gratitude journal

11. Talk with people, stay connected with friends via phone or internet with Zoom or Skype

12. Do something you love

Accept what is and let go of anything you can’t control. Practice the Four Agreements

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

Lead your day,

Charlene

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/04/25/strategies-for-covid-19/

How To Travel Safely During The Coronavirus Outbreak

The Coronavirus outbreak has been a huge cause of concern for people around the world, but perhaps one of the greatest issues is that facing travelers. Because travel plans are difficult to change and tickets often already booked, it may make more sense for you to continue with your plans instead of canceling. If you choose to do so, take advantage of these tips to make sure that you travel safely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

What Is Coronavirus?

First, what exactly is Coronavirus? It’s a strain of the virus that comprises such respiratory illnesses as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). This year’s novel Coronavirus is termed COVID-19 and is believed to have originated in the Hubei province of mainland China, in the city of Wuhan. It is a highly infectious disease with cold-like symptoms, including fever, sore throat, cough, and a runny nose. Since it first came to recognition in January, the disease has spread across much of Asia and the rest of the world, affecting countries such as Japan, South Korea, Italy, the United States, and Iran. This has resulted in travel restrictions or travel advisories in many locations, though many more are still viable for travel.

Amsterdam to Paris Trains

London to Paris Trains

Rotterdam to Paris Trains

Brussels to Paris Trains

How To Travel Safely During The Coronavirus Outbreak?

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned against nonessential travel to those countries most highly affected, much of the world is seeing limited, if any cases. The World Health Organization has deemed COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern rather than a pandemic, which means you can keep on with those travel plans if you’re careful. Just take extra care to maintain your health using these tips:

Marseilles to Lyon Trains

Paris to Lyon Trains

Lyon to Paris Trains

Lyon to Avignon Trains

Tip 1: Get All Your Vaccines

While this may seem obvious, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got all your vaccines before beginning your travel. In order to find out what shots you’ll need before you go, check the CDC’s website for health information. Making sure you’re protected from as many preventable illnesses as possible is key to keeping your immune system strong.

Brussels to Amsterdam Trains

London to Amsterdam Trains

Berlin to Amsterdam Trains

Paris to Amsterdam Trains

take Vaccines to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak

Tip 2: Bring Disinfecting Wipes

Some of the worst outbreaks have been seen in locations with close contacts, such as the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, which remains anchored just outside of Tokyo. If you’re also traveling amongst many other passengers, such as on a plane, be sure to keep your area clean. Bring and antibacterial wipes and clean your area when you arrive. This includes wiping your armrests, cupholders, tray tables and any area that you’ll be occupying.

Frankfurt to Berlin Trains

Leipzig to Berlin Trains

Hanover to Berlin Trains

Hamburg to Berlin Trains

Tip 3: Keep Your Hands Clean If You Want To Travel Safely During The Coronavirus Outbreak

While many people are trying to steer clear of the virus via face masks, in reality, doctors have found those do little to nothing to keep you healthy. Instead, hand washing often is found to be most effective in staying healthy. If you’re traveling somewhere where you won’t frequently be able to wash your hands, bring hand sanitizer instead and use it frequently.

In this same vein, keep your hands off your face, and away from your mouth and eyes. These are the higher risk areas for you to get an infection.

Nuremberg to Prague Trains

Munich to Prague Trains

Berlin to Prague Trains

Vienna to Prague Trains

wash your hands if you want to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak

Tip 4: Get Travel Insurance

If you’re US-based, plenty of credit cards offer built-in travel insurance, though you’ll need to check with your card issuer to see if the new Coronavirus outbreak is covered. For everyone else, however, you’ll need to purchase travel insurance if confirmed cases of the virus begin popping up and spreading in your country of travel.

This tip also extends to refundable travel, such as train tickets, hotels, and tours. While it may cost more upfront to book, the flexibility of having refundable travel plans can pay off big in case of cancellation.

Amsterdam To London Trains

Paris to London Trains

Berlin to London Trains

Brussels to London Trains

Tip 5: Stay Away From Crowds!

Health experts have warned that the virus spreads via community contact, which means you should stay away from crowded places as much as possible. This minimizes your exposure to sick people. Of course, tourist attractions do tend to attract crowds, but you should still be able to visit during off-peak periods when visitors are low. In places such as Paris, this may mean visiting the Louvre at museum opening or just before close instead of the middle of the day when tourist traffic peaks.

Of course, it may be impossible to avoid crowds entirely, especially in festivals. While much of Europe has proactively canceled festivals such as Italy’s Carnivale and even the Mobile World Congress expo in Spain.

Salzburg to Vienna Trains

Munich to Vienna Trains

Graz to Vienna Trains

Prague to Vienna Trains

soccer crowd

Tip 6: Take Care of Yourself

Travel is hectic, we all know that. However, the high-speed go nature of travel doesn’t mean that you need to run yourself ragged. It may sound appealing to wake at the crack of dawn and head out until past midnight, but it’s important to make sure you take care of yourself amidst all the fun. Why? Because sufficient sleep and a healthy diet mean your body can defend itself against illnesses. This is especially important for those who are more susceptible to diseases, such as the elderly or those with comprised immune systems.

Luxembourg to Brussels Trains

Antwerp to Brussels Trains

Amsterdam to Brussels Trains

Paris to Brussels Trains

Travel Safely During The Coronavirus Outbreak — Bottom Line

While there is certainly a concern for those who have booked travel during this time, there are ways for you to travel safely during the Coronavirus outbreak. The COVID-19 infectious, but many countries are not yet affected and are still safe for travel. If you plan on continuing with your vacation, use these tips to keep yourself healthy. Make sure you sleep enough and eat well, get all your required vaccines, clean the areas around you with disinfectant, and keep your travel plans flexible. Buy travel insurance and avoid crowded areas as much as possible, and above all keep aware. Keep yourself truly prepared in case of Coronavirus outbreaks pop up in your country.

Munich to Zurich Trains

Berlin to Zurich Trains

Basel to Zurich Trains

Vienna to Zurich Trains

travel safely and use trains

One of the best ways to travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak is via train — enjoy the convenience and safety of traveling by train and use Save A Train!

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/04/02/how-to-travel-safely-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

U of T and Hospitals launch COVID-19 Action

Some MetroActive members have received the email below in regards to the University of Toronto and its Hospital partners launching the COVID-19 Action Fund. The email highlights what some of the groups members have already accomplished in the battle against COVID-19, also known as the Chinese Coronavirus.

Dear Mr. XXXXX,

We hope you, your family, and friends are staying healthy and safe during these challenging times. In the midst of social distancing and self-isolation, we are all rediscovering how connected we are to each other and how important it is to reach out and support each other in the midst of this global crisis. We recognize that many of our alumni and friends are on the front lines of this pandemic from health care professionals to social workers to government officials and many more. The University of Toronto is tremendously proud of all the work you are doing to keep us healthy, safe, and connected.

Across our University community, faculty, staff, students, and alumni are making significant contributions to the battle against COVID-19—in many cases garnering global attention for their leadership and impact.

  • UofT Medicine virologists Samira Mubareka and Robert Kozak based at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, together with a McMaster University scientist, have isolated and reproduced the virus, of benefit to teams around the world working on its genomic profile and on vaccine development.
  • Pharmacy professor Keith Pardee is working on tools to make it faster and cheaper to carry out widespread tests for COVID-19, particularly in remote parts of the world—a WHO global priority.
  • UofT alumni brothers Paul and John Lem, founders of Spartan Bioscience, are developing a mobile, hand-held testing kit—”the world’s smallest DNA analyzer”—for production in the next few weeks.
  • Dalla Lana School of Public Health epidemiologists David Fisman and Ashleigh Tuite are modeling data to forecast the spread of disease and answer three fundamental questions we all have: When will it peak? How big will it be? When will it end?

These remarkable scientists and innovators are advancing immediate and tangible solutions to treat, halt, and reverse the spread of the pandemic.

Spurred by the need to accelerate and multiply these efforts, the University of Toronto has created the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund to support projects at UofT and its hospital partners across the Toronto academic health science network, with the potential for rapid results and direct impact on the health of individuals, communities, and on the front lines of care.

Together, the University of Toronto and its hospital partners have already invested $6 million in the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund. We are hoping to match that amount with a call for donations. The funds will be granted in their entirety within the next few weeks to scientists at UofT and its hospital partners for initiatives with the potential for immediate impact. This includes, but is not limited to the following critically important areas:

  • Antiviral and vaccine research
  • New diagnostics and therapeutics
  • Redeployment of research labs to support testing and quick development of new test measures
  • Rapid production scale-up of ventilator technologies, masks and other essential health safety equipment using innovative 3-D printing technologies
  • Public health social and policy interventions, dealing with disease transmission, response systems, and crisis management
  • Examination of the many dimensions – economic, cultural, sociological – affected by the crisis and strategies for recovery as the pandemic abates

We invite you to join us in the battle against COVID-19 by contacting the University of Toronto at annual.fund@utoronto.ca or giving securely online to support the Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund today.

We recognize this is a time of immense turmoil and disruption in our lives. As we face this serious threat together, we know that our greatest strength is in our community—our caring, compassionate, and dedicated faculty, staff, and students, and our wonderfully supportive alumni and donors. We wish you all continued health and well-being and thank you for your consideration of this urgent request.

Best regards,

David Palmer
Vice-President, Advancement

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/04/02/u-of-t-and-hospitals-launch-covid-19-action/

Where To Find Left Luggage Locations In Germany

Travelling is the ultimate adventure but you should do it luggage free, particularly for layovers or if you just have a free day in one of Germany’s popular cities. We have all the information you need for left luggage locations in Germany for three of its main cities, Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg.

Whether you’re attending Oktoberfest , standing in awe of Brandenburg gate in Berlin or reveling in the party vibe of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, these are the easiest and most convenient ways to ensure that your luggage is well taken care of while you explore.

Left Luggage Locations In Germany: Berlin

Berlin Airports

At Tegel Airport, you will find the left luggage location at Terminal A and they are open every day from 5 am to 10:30 pm. The prices you will pay will vary from € 7.20 to €9.90 and depends on the size of your bag. The length of time for storage is unlimited.

At the Schonefeld Airport, you will find the left luggage location at Terminal D Arrival. Their hours are Sunday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 11:30 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 6 pm. The prices range from €4 to €6 for hand luggage and €7 to €10 for normal checked luggage.

Berlin Airport Arrivals

Left Luggage Locations At Train Stations

The convenience of train stations for you is that they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof) is where you will find lockers and it is located in the car park outside the main building in area C.

Depending on the size of the locker you need, they cost between €4 and €6 a day and the maximum storage period is 72 hours. If you prefer visiting a left luggage office, there is one open daily from 6 am to 10 pm and its about €5 per item.

Other stations with locker storage include Alexanderplatz, Ostbahnhof, Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten. Easy to find left luggage locations in Germany!

Frankfurt to Berlin Trains

Leipzig to Berlin Trains

Hanover to Berlin Trains

Hamburg to Berlin Trains

DB Left Luggage Locations in Germany

Left Luggage Locations In Germany: Munich

Munich Airports

Munich Airport is the best option when you are visiting the city. The Service Center at Terminal 1 is open 24 hours and there is a second location at Terminal 2 but the opening hours are from 5 am to midnight daily.

You will pay between €5 and €10, depending on the size of your luggage as well as its contents. Check the airports’ website before you travel for the latest information and other airports for left luggage locations in Germany.

Luggage inside Munich airport

Left Luggage Locations At Munich Train Stations

Storing luggage Munich’s Central Station will be a breeze for you. There is an abundance of lockers and there are signs to easily locate them. A standard locker will cost you about €4 per day and for a larger, suit-case sized locker about €6 daily. There is however a 72-hour restriction limit.

Many other stations have been fitted with the same facilities.

Dusseldorf to Munich Trains

Dresden to Munich Trains

Nuremberg to Munich Trains

Bonn to Munich Trains

Left Luggage Locations in Germany

Left Luggage Locations In Germany: Hamburg

Hamburg Airports

Your only option is Flughafen Hamburg. The Left Luggage office is at Terminal 2, Level 1 Departures and it’s open Monday to Sunday from 4:30 am to 11 pm. You will pay between €5 and €25, all dependent on size. The larger your luggage, the higher your fee, and the airport also charges €3 as a one-time processing fee per item.

You can store your luggage here for limited time frames and its best to check ahead before your arrival. Gather as much information as you can before traveling.

Hamburg Baggage Storage

Left Luggage Locations At Train Stations

As with many of the train stations in Europe, you are in luck with lockers which are all easily accessible and are open 24 hours a day. The average cost is €5 a day and there are no size restrictions.

Berlin to Hamburg Trains

Bremen to Hamburg Trains

Hanover to Hamburg Trains

Cologne to Hamburg Trains

Private Services: The ‘Airbnb’ For Luggage

There are a few companies that employ a system very similar to that of Airbnb, only for luggage. You only need to search for a location, make a reservation and then leave your bags at a certified location that is the most convenient for you. It’s the best way of finding left luggage locations in Germany.

Insurance is included in the price and they vary from company to company. You will also have peace of mind that your bags are in safe hands.

Stasher

This is a very reputable storage service that is easy to use and is priced quite reasonably. You will pay a flat rate of €5 per bag per day. Your bag is also insured for over €800. It’s all included in the price.

You simply search their website for a location near you. You will then be able to choose your specific ‘StashPoint’ and when you drop off your bags, show your host your reservation and you’re sorted!

Similar services to this include Nannybag and BagBnb. These services are actually available throughout Europe and can be easily used for Germany.

When traveling and storing luggage is needed, it’s always best to be prepared. Double check all details and find a solution that is convenient for you and where you are going. Whether that’s airports, train stations or checking out nifty private services online, it’s all available at the click of a button. Happy luggage and save some money on your train tickets and use Save A Train!

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/04/02/where-to-find-left-luggage-locations-in-germany/

7 Ways To Stay Healthy While Traveling

With the current outbreak of coronavirus throwing everyone’s travel plans into disarray, it can be hard to know if you should keep your vacation during coronavirus or not. While we can’t make that decision for you if you do choose to continue on it’s important to make sure you’re taking steps to protect your health. To that end, here are 7 travel tips to help you stay healthy while traveling.

Stay Healthy While Traveling Number 1: Wash Your Hands

This one may seem obvious, but washing your hands is one of the best ways to keep yourself healthy. Why? According to the National Health Service, “Washing your hands properly removes dirt, viruses, and bacteria to stop them spreading to other people and objects, which can spread illnesses such as food poisoning, flu or diarrhea. It can help stop people from picking up infections and spreading them to others”.

Simply put, hand washing gets rid of all the gook you accumulate throughout the day. This is especially pertinent for travelers. Tourist sites are full of hordes of people from around the world. If a thousand people per day are touching a single doorknob, and just one hasn’t washed his hands, think how dirty it must be!

If you’re in an area without sufficient running water or soap, you’ll also need to make sure you have bought and used hand sanitizer regularly. While this can dry your hands out if used too often, there are also versions of hand sanitizer that include moisturizing components so you can have clean hands and soft skin.

Amsterdam to Paris Trains

London to Paris Trains

Rotterdam to Paris Trains

Brussels to Paris Trains

Wash Your Hands With Soap

Sleep Enough

It’s long been known that not sleeping enough negatively affects the immune system. While on vacation it may seem like a good idea to get up at the crack of dawn and run around until the middle of the night. However, the truth is that getting enough sleep is much more impactful than you’d think. At night, our body takes time to rejuvenate and even heal. The less time you spend in slumber means the less time you’ll be able to take care of yourself.

In fact, studies have even shown that those who don’t sleep enough can suffer long-lasting negative effects such as high blood pressure and memory loss. These effects can only be compounded while traveling, so do yourself a favor and make sure you hit the hay for a minimum of seven hours a night.

While it may be difficult to get your zzz’s in if you’ve moved several time zones and are suffering from jet lag, you can use several different methods to help your body relax and drift off to sleep. These include a warm shower or bath, lavender-scented spray, meditation, and even a warm cup of tea. In short, getting plenty of sleep is imperative to help you stay healthy while traveling.

Marseilles to Lyon Trains

Paris to Lyon Trains

Lyon to Paris Trains

Lyon to Avignon Trains

Sleep Enough To Stay Healthy While Traveling

Stay Healthy While Traveling And Avoid Tap Water

If you’re heading somewhere quite unknown, it should be obvious that you’ll need to avoid tap water. Why? Because the microbes inside local water are region-specific, and/or gut bacteria are not at all prepared to handle them. Thousands of people per year get sick drinking local water, with effects such as vomiting and diarrhea very common. As a tip, stick to water bottles whenever you’re far out of your comfort zone. This goes doubles for locations with sketchy hygiene practices. Other less developed countries can use drinking water from the same source as toilet service locations. Yes, that’s a thing!

Also, make sure you hydrate properly. Hot temperatures and strenuous activity are a quick ticket to a hospital without drinking enough water.

Brussels to Amsterdam Trains

London to Amsterdam Trains

Berlin to Amsterdam Trains

Paris to Amsterdam Trains

Drink A Lot To Stay Healthy While Traveling

Get Your Shots

Depending on where you’re going, you may need to get specialized shots at a travel clinic or other health care center. This is especially true for some less developed countries, which still sport illnesses such as malaria and yellow fever. Before you head out on your trip, check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. Here you can find out the specific requirements for the country to which you are traveling. If you’re not from the United States, you can also check your local website, such as the NHS, for your requirements for healthy travel.

Frankfurt to Berlin Trains

Leipzig to Berlin Trains

Hanover to Berlin Trains

Hamburg to Berlin Trains

Women coughing

Stay Healthy: Don’t Touch Your Face

As we’ve already talked about hand washing, now it’s time to talk about your face. Often you’ll see people resting their head in their hands, scratching an itch, or otherwise touching their faces. It’s a tough habit to break but keep your hands away from your face if you’re trying to stay healthy while traveling.

It’s common sense, as your hands touch so many things throughout the day. On a train or plane, you’ll have the tray table, the seatbelt. and various other common space areas that you’re touching. Unless you’re washing your hands every time you touch something (or happen to be wearing gloves), it’s a better idea to keep your hands off your face at all times.

Amsterdam To London Trains

Paris to London Trains

Berlin to London Trains

Brussels to London Trains

Eat Well

It makes sense that you’re going to eat well while on vacation, right? After all, what is Spain without chocolate and churros, and what is France without a baguette? This isn’t what we mean, however.

Tasty food is all well and good, but you need to make sure that you’re healthy food as well. Follow the food pyramid and switch out those deep-fried goodies for some greens every once in a while. If you have room for it, bring vitamins along with you to keep yourself stocked up. Make sure to bring vitamin c, probiotics, and other easy-to-consume vitamins.

This is most pertinent to drinking alcohol while traveling as well. It’s well known that drinking too much alcohol can lead to a lowered immune system (and some wicked hangovers). If you’re trying to avoid getting sick, make sure you keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum. After all, who wants to visit the Mona Lisa with a common cold?

Salzburg to Vienna Trains

Munich to Vienna Trains

Graz to Vienna Trains

Prague to Vienna Trains

Eat Well And Healthy

Last Stay Healthy Tip: Clean Your Area

It may be a hassle, but it’s worth bringing some disinfecting wipes along with you whenever you travel. Why? To clean up all those tray tables and seats we’ve already mentioned. Clorox wipes can be purchased in bulk and put into ziplock bags. You can then bring them with you on your carry on.

Make sure to wipe the armrests, seatback pocket (if you have one), and even the seatbelt buckle with your disinfectant to help ensure that your area stays as clean as possible.

Munich to Zurich Trains

Berlin to Zurich Trains

Basel to Zurich Trains

Vienna to Zurich Trains

Clean Your Area

People get sick while traveling more often than almost anything else. Don’t be like everyone else. Take care of yourself and use Save A Train!

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/03/15/7-ways-to-stay-healthy-while-traveling/

3 Best Day Trips From Budapest By Train

So you’ve finally done it. You’ve put in for your vacation at work, bought your plane tickets and headed over to Hungary for a well-deserved holiday. And while that’s all well and good — after all, Budapest is a beautiful city — don’t sell yourself short by only sticking around the capital. Europe is a well-connected continent with thousands of options for train travel, and this includes Hungary. So once you’ve seen the Szechenyi Thermal Baths and enjoyed a pint at the Beer Spa, head out of town on one of these 3 best Budapest day trips by train.

1. Debrecen, Hungary

The second largest city in Hungary and also known as the Capital of the Great Hungarian Plain, this bustling town is home to 200,000 people. Historic and beautiful, Debrecen is just 2 hours and 15 minutes from Budapest by train. Its vicinity makes this an excellent candidate for Budapest day trips by train.

The Great Church in Debrecen is the city’s focal point, and functions as a symbol of Protestantism in Hungary. There are also numerous museums for you to visit, such as the Deri Museum, which houses some of the most historic pieces in all of Hungary. 

Don’t forget to try out some of the local food and wine, as well. If you’re a true sommelier, you may opt for “Bikaver”, a locally produced wine that translates to “bull’s blood”. It’s produced in Hungary, in the famous ‘Valley of Beautiful Women’ region. Yum!

If you’re a fan of the thermal baths, Debrecen also has you covered. In a departure from tradition, the Aquaticum Spa is more like an indoor water park. Featuring a high domed ceiling and colorful water slides, these thermal baths are fun for the whole family. 

2. Best Budapest Day Trips By Train: Vienna, Austria

For this next entry of Budapest day trips by train, we’re leaving Hungary entirely and heading to Austria, Hungary’s western neighbor. The capital of Austria, Vienna is a gorgeous city and home to over 2 million residents. Like much of Hungary, Vienna also lies along the Danube. Unlike the small town, however, Vienna is packed full of different neighborhoods, museums, attractions, and varieties of food.

Known as a hub of culture and art, it also sports a thriving coffee scene and you’ll find hundreds of cafes along its winding streets. Vienna is also home to Schonbrunn, the summer residence of the Hapsburgs and one of many grand buildings throughout the city. 

If you’re traveling in the winter, Vienna is a must-stop for its Christmas markets. These fantastical markets are nothing short of magical with twinkling fairy lights, hot mulled wine, and warm comfort food.

Although the journey is long for a day trip from Budapest via train, there are fast options available with nonstop options. Even better, you’ll get to check another European country off your bucket list

Budapest to Vienna Trains

Munich to Vienna Trains

Graz to Vienna Trains

Prague to Vienna Trains

Vienna is a must Budapest day trips by train

3. Best Budapest Day Trips By Train: Wiener Neustadt, Austria

Finally, we’ve come to our last entry, a mid-sized town located south of Vienna. Yes, that’s right, we’ve added another Austrian day trip to this list. Why’s that? Well because Wiener Neustadt (aside from having a humorous name), is a bustling city of nearly 50,000 people, and it’s got it all in terms of things to do. 

Located just 30km from Vienna and very near the Hungarian-Austrian border is the perfect Budapest day trips by train, this town’s history is rife with battles for control from various empires. Despite these battles- or perhaps because of them — Wiener Neustadt evolved into an important military training ground with the construction of the Maria Theresa Military Academy in the 1700s. 

Leaving the past behind, today Wiener Neustadt is home to many various activities, including plenty of outdoor hiking and parks. You can visit Myra Falls for some fabulous hiking, or head to Gesaeuse National Park to take in the fresh air. 

The city also has many monuments, museums, and galleries dedicated to illustrating the city’s history. If this all sounds like too much for you — don’t worry. After a full day of activities head to the Linsberg Asia Therme Spa for a chance to cool down (or warm up!) and relax.

Budapest to Wiener Neustadt

Salzburg to Vienna Trains

Vienna to Wiener Neustadt

Prague to Wiener Neustadt

Bonus Topic: Prague

The Czech capital is a bit too far for Budapest day trips by train but this city is not to be missed. That is if you love history, architecture, food, and drinks. While it’s almost 8 hours by train from Budapest, if you’re heading this way it’s a good idea to travel via Vienna (you know, that awesome city we mentioned above). 

Generally inexpensive and full of old buildings, a well-preserved medieval square, and the world’s oldest operating Astronomical Clock, Prague is a must-do on your European vacation. Take it slow here and enjoy strolling across the Charles Bridge, completed in 1402. Or even better, put on your finest royal uniform and head to Vysehrad for the day to check out the ancient ruins of the former castle. 

Nuremberg to Prague Trains

Munich to Prague Trains

Berlin to Prague Trains

Vienna to Prague Trains

Prague is a long Budapest day trips by train

Bottom Line

Budapest day trips by train and Budapest is a wonderful city to visit. From its beautiful boulevards to its famous thermal baths, the city is not one to miss. But do yourself a favor and head out every once in a while to explore some of the more local magic for yourself. Whether you’re sipping some bull’s blood wine or skipping off to a new country altogether, see the sights on your vacation.

One of the best ways to do Budapest day trips by train — enjoy the convenience and safety of traveling by train and use Save A Train!

Article source: https://metroactive.org/wordpress/2020/03/14/3-best-day-trips-from-budapest-by-train/