The benefits of coffee

According to the National Coffee Association USA, there are many legends about the origins of coffee, but nobody really knows when it was actually discovered.

However, in the XVII century, coffee spread in Europe and coffee houses became the centre of social activity, where intellectuals and like-minded people used to meet and discuss. Italian coffee, especially in the form of espresso, is quite famous all around the world: coffee has become a part of the Italian culture early on and nowadays the association between Italy and this beverage is almost automatic. An espresso is a stronger and more aromatic brew, so much so that foreigners often find it too strong and prefer to add some milk to their coffee or to drink a cappuccino or an American coffee.

Personally, I love coffee and I enjoy every cup I have during my day. However, I have always been told that drinking coffee may be unhealthy, so I decided to research this topic and I have found out that, on the contrary, coffee has important properties which can positively affect one’s health. A moderate consumption (up to 5 cups a day) can help prevent liver disease, heart disease and neurological disorders, in addition to improving adults’ cognitive skills and memory, increasing athletic endurance, reducing the risk associated with type II diabetes and increasing longevity. Some studies also show that drinking coffee cannot be considered a risk factor for cancer any longer: on the contrary, it may even help prevent some types of cancer.

Medline Plus explains what caffeine is and how it works: caffeine is a bitter substance which can be found in more than 60 plants, among which coffee beans. After being ingested, caffeine reaches its peak in the blood within a time frame of one hour and its effects can be felt for four to six hours. This substance affects the body’s metabolism stimulating the nervous system (which is generally perceived as a boost of energy). It can also have negative effects, since it can interfere with the absorption of calcium and increase blood pressure and the release of acid in the stomach (which can lead to heartburn). Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, which is the reason why some may be able to drink coffee to their heart’s content before going to sleep whereas others may experience insomnia.

As usual, different studies show different perspectives, some of them highlighting the benefits of coffee, others stressing the side effects of caffeine. I honestly love coffee too much to give it up and I am one of those lucky people who do not suffer because of too much caffeine, so I think I will place my hopes in its positive effects and I will enjoy every single cup!

The information provided in this article was taken from the websites linked above.

Easter traditions

I have always believed that learning a foreign language also means getting familiar with the culture that language expresses and this is the reason why I have chosen to talk about Easter traditions in Italy, in the United Kingdom and in Germany in today’s post.

Generally speaking, Easter is a very important celebration in Italy, where each city follows its own traditions. However, some rituals and customs are shared throughout the country. Children usually receive chocolate eggs with a surprise inside: strolling around and browsing the shop windows, one can find beautifully decorated chocolate eggs, some of which could be considered real culinary masterpieces. As for typical food, a world-renowned dessert is the so-called “colomba” (“dove”), a sort of cake originally born in Milan. Throughout the country, people usually take part in religious celebrations, such as the tradition Mess and various kinds of processions and parades.

In the United Kingdom, Easter is one of the most important Christian festivals too. The Easter bunny, which seems to have its origins in Germany, may actually be either a rabbit or a hare. Children believe that the Easter bunny brings them chocolate eggs, provided that they have been good. Eggs seem to be a transnational symbol, which is probably due to them being a symbol of rebirth; in England, coloured eggs are very popular and people employ different techniques to make them: King Edward I contributed to making this practice famous, since he seems to have ordered 450 eggs to be coloured in 1290.

Finally, in Germany Easter is associated as well with the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well and people celebrate it by attending religious functions, exchanging gifts and spending time with their families. Churches are usually decorated with spring flowers and some communities even hold a shared breakfast or lunch, while people usually exchange edible Easter eggs and hares as gifts. A typical tradition is the organisation of Easter egg hunts: a lot of eggs are made of chocolate, whereas boiled eggs are painted with colours and decorative eggs are made of plastic, fabrics or wood.

After this short overview exploring Easter traditions in different countries, there is only one thing for me left to do: I wish you all a happy and serene Easter!

The information for this article comes from different sources:

https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/germany/easter https://www.learnenglish.de/culture/easter.html

BIT 2018

If you follow my Facebook page, you already know that yesterday I took part in BIT 2018.

BIT is the International Travel Exhibition organised every year in Milan. This year it could be accessed both by the general public (on the first day) and by industry professionals, tour operators and buyers (for the entirety of its duration). Reading the description of this exhibition, it is clear that its purpose is to promote “the meeting of decision makers, industry experts and carefully selected and profiled buyers from geographic areas with the highest rate of economic growth and from all sectors of the chain”. Furthermore, the event also featured conferences and seminars aimed at keeping the audience up to date with the latest industry trends.

I love travelling and I am really interested in the tourism industry, so I decided to grab the chance to visit this exhibition. In a professional capacity, I could gather information about new destinations, offers and packages: after all, an interpreter and translator needs to constantly update his or her knowledge, especially if he or she wants to work in a specific field. In addition, I could find new ideas for my next travels and journeys, which is certainly a plus.

In my opinion, exhibitions are also a good way to make new contacts and do a little bit of networking. BIT 2018 was no exception: talking with industry professionals was really inspiring and it gave me food for thought.

The exhibition was divided in two pavillions: the ground floor was dedicated to Italian regions, whereas the upper floor hosted international destinations. Food tourism was also featured, with the possibility to taste different products and recipes, both from Italy and foreign countries. A lot of stands also displayed the “I love wedding” sign to show their participation in a free promotional programme aiming at finding the perfect place to organise one’s wedding and honeymoon. Moreover, BIT 2018 featured an area dedicated to recuiting in the tourism industry, thus providing a chance to find competent staff and, at the same time, promote business: the possibility to forward online applications and to schedule interviews was a great way to make this exhibition even more appealing.

All in all, I must say I am very happy with my decision to visit the exhibition: I could gather new material, meet new people and − let’s be honest − start dreaming about my next holidays! The only downside? Now I can’t wait to take off and go somewhere I have never been before!

3-bit-milano-11-13-febbraio-2018-image_05.pngIMG_20180213_112410

The information about BIT 2018 was taken from http://bit.fieramilano.it/the-exhibition/?lang=en.