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food / travel

Oktoberfest Digs: Strange New Ways To Drink Beer And Crash Out

They look like a cross between a prison cell and an office container, but go by the fancy name of “Wies’n-Loft” -- or “Field Loft.” They’re not cheap, but it’s better than nothing if you can’t get a hotel during Munich’s Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest revelers (uLe @ Dortmund)
Oktoberfest revelers (uLe @ Dortmund)

Worldcrunch NEWS BITES

MUNICH – Ahead of the upcoming Oktoberfest, a new kind of lodging is being touted as "cozy, weatherproof and mobile-home-like." To some, the "Wies'n-Loft" (Field Loft) units will look more like a modern prison cell.

Still, the lodging offers two guests a double-sized bed with fresh bed linens, two hanging wardrobes, lighting, and electrical outlets. Most of all, if you've just spent the day and night downing frothy (giant) mugs of Oktoberfest beer, you know you have a place to crash.

For Airbnb, the US startup that brokers impromptu vacation rentals around the world, renting the containers marks a departure from their usual business model. Normally, they only broker private vacation rentals, but for the Oktoberfest the firm has signed a contract with camp management to the effect that it will not only market the accommodation but pay part of the costs.

"We want to become Germany's biggest provider of private holiday rentals," says Gunnar Froh of Airbnb Deutschland. "Oktoberfest is known around the world."

Each container is 7 square meters large, and costs between 129 and 169 euros a night to rent. From September 15 through October 4, 2011, the brown metal units are clustered at the Olympic Horse Riding Stadium Munich-Reim, offering Oktoberfest goers a relatively reasonable lodging option during Munich's most expensive season. The accommodations have access to two restrooms with shower and toilet facilities, as well as a small patio outside with a table and two chairs where guests can eat their breakfast. Or drink more beer.

Read the full story in German by Jan Knobloch

Photo - uLe @ Dortmund

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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