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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

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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Travel & Escape

Dealing with baggage on your trip

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(NC)Nothing is more embarrassing than having to unpack your baggage at the airport. It’s common to overpack because you want to make sure you have everything you need for your trip – the right shoes, a jacket in case it’s cold, a bathing suit in case there’s a pool. But you must be mindful of the baggage restrictions. So, how can you be smart with your baggage when travelling?

The first thing to do is talk to your TICO-certified travel agent about the weight restrictions and number of bags you are allowed to take. Some airlines charge per bag, while others may offer one bag for free depending on weight.

You’ll also need to know if there are security requirements for carry-on and checked baggage. For example, there may be prohibited items such as gels and liquids. These limitations vary from airline to airline and depends on if your flight is international or domestic, so you’ll need to check the policy of the airline you’re travelling with.

Naturally, you want to avoid incurring baggage fees, so talk to your travel agent, or contact the airline directly. You can also visit their website to review the luggage policy.

Here are a few more tips to help you manage your baggage when travelling:

  • Clearly label all baggage with your name, home address, and contact information
  • Place an identification tag inside the baggage in case the outside tag is torn off
  • Lock bags with CATSA/ACTSA travel locks
  • Put a colourful ribbon or other identifying marks on your bags so they are easily recognizable
  • Carry valuables in your hand luggage; jewelry, money, medications, important documents, etc.

You can’t carry everything with you, so be smart when you pack. Take only necessary items and focus on your trip.

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Travel & Escape

What travellers need to know if a destination wedding is cancelled

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(NC) It’s two weeks before you’re scheduled to attend a destination wedding and then you get the call. The wedding has been called off.

Sure, you’re upset for the couple, but now you’re faced with plane tickets and hotel reservations. So, what can you do?

There’s no reason why you can’t go and enjoy the trip, but bear in mind you may face a price increase, especially if this was part of a group booking. Group bookings often include a minimum number of travellers to get the discounted price, as well as terms and conditions regarding changes or cancellations.

You could ask other travellers to come along to keep the group discount. But name changes often count as cancellations based on the terms of the vacation package and premium charges may apply. If you booked with a TICO-registered travel agency, website or tour company, it’s better to contact them and ask about options before making any decisions.

While it’s devastating for the couple who planned the destination wedding, the fact is that the cancellation affects all the confirmed guests. So, it’s important to know your options so you can salvage an unfortunate situation. Always book with a TICO-registered travel agency, website or tour operator so you can circle back and find out what they can do for you.

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