When invited on a last-minute, 48-hour jaunt to Germany’s biggest festival, Kristyn Ostman prepared her stomach and jumped on a plane. She reports on the epic frenzy of food and booze.
Molly may be the party drug of choice in America, but here in Bavaria, revelers maintain their energy by using snuff tobacco and glucose.
Waitress carrie beer mugs during the opening ceremony in the "Hofbraeuzelt' beer tent of the 180th Bavarian "Oktoberfest" beer festival in Munich, southern Germany on Sept. 21, 2013. (Matthias Schrader/AP)
I learn this as soon as I arrive in Munich, Germany for a two-day bender to indulge in the time-honored tradition known as Oktoberfest.
Started in 1810 with just a parade, the festival is now the largest people’s faire in the world. Approximately 6.5 million attendees, only 15% from outside of Germany, congregate in Bavaria each year to consume over 7.1 million liters of beer and 70,000 pork knuckles over a 16-day span.
Urban explorer Bradley Garrett spoke to Josh Dzieza about the excitement and the pitfalls of poking around abandoned subway stations, skyscrapers, and other off-limits sectors of cities.
Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole a hundred years ago. Everest is littered with oxygen tanks and suffers from traffic jams. But exploration is still happening around the world. It’s just that some of the most interesting expeditions are now much closer to home—right in the heart of the city, in fact. And the challenges aren’t just physical but social and legal: security cameras, trespassing laws, and the common sense that tells you not to jump into sewer systems.
Bradley L. Garrett
These recreational trespassers call themselves urban explorers. Some focus on abandoned buildings, wandering through defunct hospitals and power stations half-reclaimed by nature and taking post-apocalyptic photos. Some scale monuments in the off hours, when the tourists have gone to bed. Some delve into city infrastructure--subway tunnels, bridges, even sewers. It would be a stretch to call it a movement, but there are clusters of urban explorers around the world and they keep tabs on each other through images posted to message boards. Every so often a group will start doing truly amazing things, and their images will break out into the wider world. Right now, that’s a band of Russian kids who recently scaled the pyramids and the Notre Dame cathedral. A couple years ago, it was a group in London that explored every abandoned station in the Tube.
Bradley Garrett, a researcher at the University of Oxford, had the good luck to be embedding with that London crew from the beginning. Doing research for a PhD project, he became a scribe of the tribe on their urban adventures. In his new book, Explore Everything: Place Hacking the City, he recounts his group’s journeys to derelict power stations, mid-construction skyscrapers, a boneyard of mothballed jets, and the nooks and crannies of London’s infrastructure. Garrett’s book, and its excellent photography, makes clear that urban exploration manages to combine both vertigo and claustrophobia, with people perched on beams hundreds of feet above the city, trapped in elevators, and outrunning rapidly rising sewage. It also bears the mark of its origins as a doctoral thesis, with frequent references to Guy Debord and the theories of various philosophically minded geographers. It’s sort of like Jon Krakauer meets Gilles Deleuze, or a really adventurous W.G. Sebald.
Portland may be known as a hipster mecca today, but at the turn of the century, it was one of the most dangerous port cities in America. A network of tunnels survives to tell the sordid tale.
The Portland, Oregon of 2013 may be a laid-back utopia that outsources artisanal coffee and fair-trade messenger bags, but the Portland of the late 1800s made its name in a very different trade. Long before hipsters took over the “City of Roses,” it was one of the most dangerous port towns in the country, with a brutal kidnapping epidemic that led to the nickname “Forbidden City of the West.”
Found Image Press/Corbis
For nearly 100 years—between the mid-1800s, past Prohibition, and up into the 1940s—an illicit flesh market funneled reportedly thousands of men and women to Pacific-bound ships to serve as crew members and prostitutes.
Widely-shared tales of “shanghaiing” tell of drunken patrons falling through trapped doors in seedy bars to wake up enslaved as seamen; men lured by prostitutes into underground holding cells where they’d remain until being sold to the next ship that docked in town; and women drugged and kept in solitary cells underground in conditions meant to break their will. The unscrupulous practice took its name from the destination many unfortunate victims found themselves en route to.
Ready to fly again.
Anyone up for a direct flight to Tehran? After 34 years, the possibility of boarding a plane in New York City and arriving in Iran in 11 hours and 15 minutes may be more likely than ever. If the flights resume, we hope some of Iran Air’s more interesting advertising will too, like the (now vintage) print ads detailing the marvels to be found at the “crossroads of the world” and the airline’s informative slogan “We Take You There, We Take You Back.” Only one request: please update your fleet before flying us across the ocean.
Instead of spending money in the gift store on a replica, fans of the iconic building can now own a portion.
This gives a whole new meaning to owning a piece of history.
The Empire State Building, the most photographed location in the world, has gone public.
Empire State Realty Trust, Inc., which owns the Empire State Building as well over a dozen other buildings, raised $929.5 million by selling 71.5 million shares at $13 on the New York Stock Exchange, making it one of the largest IPOs for a real estate investment trust (REIT). These shares represent roughly 35 percent of the company. So for less than it costs to ride the elevator up to one of the Empire State Building’s famed observation decks, you can own a share of the building.
Travel is a big business, and it just tanked. Daniel Gross on how the shutdown could wreak havoc on a key part of the U.S. economy. (In other news, this selfie stick is a thing.)
On the mall in Washington yesterday morning, World War II vets stormed the shuttered World War II monument. In New York, the Statue of Liberty was closed. The South Dakota state government is trying to keep Mount Rushmore open. Campers in glorious Yosemite have been given 48 hours to get out.
The anecdotes from government-run parks and tourist states are symbolic, and make for good images of the real-world impact of a government shutdown. (There are certain upsides, of course. The Klan apparently canceled a rally it had planned at Gettysburg.) But they also speak to a larger truth. There’s a certain blitheness of spirit surrounding the impact of the shutdown. Most people at most companies simply showed up for their jobs as usual, and can easily conclude that it won’t matter much. But in some industries, including some really vital American industries, the impact of the government shutdown is immediate—and difficult.
Travel is a very big business in the U.S. I could tell you precisely how large a business it is, but the Bureau of Economic Analysis’s website is closed today. And the section of the Commerce Department’s website that contained very detailed data on tourism is likewise shuttered temporarily. However, the U.S. Travel Organization put out an annual report that estimates the impact of travel generally in the U.S. The report suggests 14.4 million total jobs are supported by travel, or one in every eight in the private sector. For 2013, it forecasts travel spending will be $889.1 billion, up 3.9 percent from $855.4 billion in 2012. New York City alone in 2011 welcomed (or didn’t welcome, as the case may be) 50.9 million tourists.
Along with all other national parks and monuments.
There will be no birthday celebrations for Yosemite this year. On Tuesday, California’s Yosemite National Park was shut down, along with the nation’s other national parks and monuments, after Congress failed to pass a resolution funding the government. It just so happens that October 1 is the 123rd birthday of Yosemite, which was established by environmental advocate John Muir in 1890. The park attracts up to 4 million visitors annually, but today none will be allowed in to wish Yosemite a happy birthday.
First time since 1979 revolution.
Wow, that must have been one powerful phone call. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has asked for a study into resuming direct flights between his country and the U.S., which have not occurred since the 1979 revolution. The groundbreaking move comes just days after a phone call between Rouhani and U.S. President Obama, the first direct contact between nations. Rouhani’s ultimate goal is to ease Western sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program, but it appears he is willing to expand contact between nations.
It's one of the Seven Wonders of the modern world, but tour guides at Petra say that the conflict in Syria has taken a drastic toll on their livelihood. Souad Mekhennet reports.
The sun was at its highest point when Hani Al Nawafleh got off the metal chair that he always placed at the entrance to Petra, one of Jordan's major tourist attractions and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Some of the towering rocks of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, depending on how high the sun stands, are changing its colors from coral into rose—which is why people also call Petra the “Rose City.”
Al Nawafleh, who works as a guide, had been waiting for hours for customers. "It is really frustrating and bad," he said while beginning the tour. "I used to have at least eight to ten customers per day and have to turn down requests sometimes. But now I am happy if I have one or two per day."
The changes and challenges in the region have influenced the numbers of tourists in Jordan, a country that is dependent on tourism and foreign aid. "First it was what you call in the West the 'Arab Spring,' which made some people stay away," Al Nawafleh said while taking me to the horses that would carry visitors through Petra, a magnificent city carved out of beautiful rock that had been the ancient capital of the Nabataeans and a wealthy trading center among the spice trail.
The rock-cut architecture and water supply system made Petra world famous and became the scenery for movies such as Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade.
From a submerged Bar Refaeli to a Mediterranean idyll, a voyeur’s look at the stars’ sun-soaked scenes.
Wildlife, storytelling, dung, and other things I encountered on my Zambian safari.
The bouillabaisse is just as tasty, but Europe’s 2013 Capital of Culture now has a lot more to offer. Anna Watson Carl reports.
More than a natural wonder, Cappadocia's formations have been a safe haven to many. Nina Strochlic reports.
Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet Publications, remembers the fun early days of travel guide writing, but says they're not over yet.
Miley Cyrus’ fav new haunt is Beacher’s Madhouse, the craziest club in Los Angeles.
Take the vacation of a lifetime—in beautiful North Korea? That’s Uri Tours’ pitch. Lloyd Grove reports.
In ‘Mapping Manhattan,’ explore the city via 75 New Yorkers’ personal geographies. By Allison McNearney.