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Is Munich getting cool? Look for the boat on the bridge

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Munich has long been known for its embrace of tradition, including Christmas markets, rowdy old-school beer halls and the annual jamboree of drinking, rides and carnival games known as Oktoberfest. Much less has been said about its hip side. (Some, like many Berliners, might ask: “What hip side?”)

But those who want excitement beyond holiday shopping and mugs of hot mulled wine will be drawn in by several projects — including the latest buzzy one by a group of friends-turned-entrepreneurs who wanted to invigorate Munich’s nightlife scene.

Zum Wolf, a popular cocktail bar.
Zum Wolf, a popular cocktail bar.  (Louisa Marie Summer / New York Times)

Alte Utting, a decommissioned, land-bound boat that has been transformed into a bar-slash-event-space-slash-food-market, is the flashiest of their projects and has attracted lots of attention since opening in July. Built in 1949, Alte Utting was a pleasure boat that sailed for six decades around the Ammersee, a lake about an hour’s drive from Munich. Today, its twinkling lights are easy to spot from afar, since the 120-foot boat sits atop a bridge that hovers over a quiet stretch of road in southwest Munich.

On a recent evening, a woman perched on the bow of the boat, clutching a cappuccino and reading a novel. Two older women sat at a table on the open-air deck, flicking through a food menu, while a trio of 20-somethings sipped wine against a backdrop of low-slung houses and train cars.

Daniel Hahn, 28, the mastermind behind Alte Utting and various other cultural projects around Munich, was originally enticed by the boat’s history. “There are so many memories from so many people,” Hahn said. “People travelled on it, got married on it, celebrated christenings on it.” When Hahn found out about two years ago that the boat would be destroyed, he decided to give it a second life. “When we bought the ship, everybody said you guys are crazy and dumb, and it’s not possible to bring it here,” Hahn said.

But he and his friends had a plan. They cut the ship in half horizontally and transported it by night, an operation requiring a police escort. “They closed the autobahn for us,” Hahn said. When the 144-ton boat arrived at its current spot in Munich , they reattached the two pieces, added a couple of bars and invited restaurants to open stands.

Besides Hahn and his friends’ ventures, Geraldine Knudson, director of Munich’s tourism board, pointed to several other recently opened venues that are livening up the city’s night scene. The High, a 1980s-Miami-themed bar in the trendy Glockenbach neighbourhood, serves experimental cocktails. And Café Crönlein opened this summer in the Au-Haidhausen neighbourhood in a building that used to be a public restroom. The cafe has already attracted a steady stream of visitors with its unusual setting, craft beers and a weekly outdoor concert series.

Of course, despite its staid reputation, the Bavarian city has always had bars and clubs that deliver both atmosphere and worthy libations. Two are standouts: Zum Wolf, a cocktail bar that opened in 2012 and is styled with date-night lighting and touches of Americana, has a wide range of whiskey and serves a mean old-fashioned.

Over at the Haus der Kunst, a museum of contemporary art that was built in the 1930s to house Nazi propaganda art, Goldene Bar offers an airy space decorated with large-scale prints of antique maps, a patio among neoclassical columns and cocktails with housemade bitters. After the war, Haus der Kunst served as an officer’s club for members of the U.S. army and began exhibiting nonfascist art as early as 1946. The museum does not have a permanent collection, functioning instead as an exhibition space for rotating art shows.

For his part, Hahn, who was born and raised in Munich, has been steadily injecting the city with creative energy since 2012, when he and his friends founded Wannda, an event-organizing group. As one of their first projects, the group purchased two circus tents and began taking them to different locations, using them as space to run artistic workshops, holiday markets and more. That project, along with some of those that followed, helped them develop the contacts and know-how to convince the city government to approve of their plan to haul in a boat from the countryside.

“When buildings were taken down, we would use the time between the demolition and the new construction to go to this place and put up a tent,” Hahn said. “It was legal, but so difficult, so much energy and so much time.”

Eventually, they built on the lessons they learned and constructed Bahnwärter Thiel. The event space spreads out in an abandoned lot. Its indoor areas consist of a stand-alone subway car and several abandoned, graffiti-covered shipping containers, one of which hosts techno parties with a sound and light system that some of the country’s best DJs are more than happy to travel hours for. During non-party hours, Bahnwärter Thiel hosts flea markets, theatrical performances and exhibitions. Its yard is strewn with a mishmash of furniture — even a lawn mower can be found among the fold-up tables and chairs.

At the end of the day, Hahn said, what drives him is simple: “Theater people go to the theatre, flea market people go to the flea market,” he said. “But to bring the party people to a painting workshop or the flea market people to a theatre,” you mix the people and “show them different ways.”

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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