• BLOG
  • St. Gallen

    Tiina Kivelä

    In our series of urban hiking, history lessons and life lessons – St. Gallen.

    Recently, on a hot and lazy Sunday (no mountains this time), I sat in the old town of St. Gallen, next to the Abbey of St. Gall (UNESCO World Heritage site, btw), and procrastinated read about the St. Gall guy, from whom the city has gotten its name. It’s a funny and strange story, of a man who spent a hermit life in the woods near Lake Constance, and for whom the Cathedral and other stuff have been built, and whose statue now stands there in the middle of that fountain.

    You should check the story out (I’m too lazy to copy it here but) – it’s interesting how strange origins some places and names have.

    And I guess I should also tell you to check the city itself out. Though, I myself would have never thought I’d end up living in St. Gallen before I found myself living in here. It’s been strange spring and summer and I still don’t know exactly why I’m here and for how long I’m going to stay in here. But still, I guess after these kinda ok months I can say it’s worth a visit.

    By now, I have checked the cathedral of St. Gallen (very posh) and noted how there’s a good free public WiFi in the yard of it (note). I’ve also checked the Stifstbibliothek (more than posh), in where photographing is unfortunately prohibited (damn, all the missed Instagram moments), and I’ve been to the Textilmuseum and Drei Weieren badi, though for my taste the waters of those outdoor pools (artificial ponds of some kind) are too murky for to actually swim in there.

    And the colorful church roof there in the last picture. You know, for years already, I’ve been looking at these roofs all over Switzerland, on churches and other buildings, and thought that it’s a paint.  All this time.

    Well, now I know it’s not. The patterns, and sometimes writings, are done with varied coloured tiles. I know, should have seen it. But I should have also been wearing my classes more often…

    Also, note the excellent patio and creatively hidden dumpsters.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: St. Gallen Altstadt/Gallusplatz, Switzerland

     

  • Appenzell
  • Alpinwanderweg Marwees – A Mental Exercise

    Tiina Kivelä

    From a movie I watched recently I picked up the sentence go beyond your body’s complaints. In there it was said by a person with not so good intentions, but for me, it pretty much sums up most of my exercises and mountain endeavours, in a good way. And for me, it’s going beyond both the body’s and mind’s complaints, especially when doing things by myself.

    I did the season’s first alpine hike on this Saturday, on a mountain called Marwees in the Alpstein massif in Appenzell, which offers a nice ridge and about an hour of demanding alpine hiking route, alpinwanderweg (further explanations in here), with excellent views (if you manage your nerves well enough to pay attention to them). And it was definitely a tour which brought me beyond my body’s and mind’s complaints.

    It was steep, it was narrow and it was challenging, and it was more than once I thought why did I come up here, head all dizzy and legs a bit shaky. But in the end, I did it, and even though the legs were mashed especially after the final downhill (total 17,5km, 1199m up and 1199m down, 6h) it was again one of those things which brought me forward, mentally and physically and trained my nerves.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    For the same tour (note that it’s demanding and only for the very experienced hikers) go from Wasserauen (in Appenzell region in Eastern Switzerland) to Seaalpsee and head up to Meglisalp from there. Then, turn left and up from the tiny settlement and in the crossroad of paths on the shoulder choose the blue-white path leading to Marwees (or well the exact mountaintop stays in the left while you continue the path on the right side to the ridge) and eventually to Bogartenlücke and back to Wasserauen.

    On this tour, many were passing me another way round, so I guess it’s good (might be even better) the other way round. That way, you also have the excellent chance to continue the bluewhite path to and over Hundstein and from there down to Fälensee.

    This time, as it was a very hot day, I did a little detour in the last section, to dip sweaty myself into the Seealpsee, which that time of the day around 6 pm had gotten rid of most of the day tour and picnic crowds and was just enough cool to give a brief remedy to the aching muscles and joints.

    Extra tip: Alpine routes aka the alpinwanderweg are extremely good for the skilled ones during the high season since the easily reachable sights like the Seaalpsee normally have almost (just almost though) too many people on the paths leading to there and back. This time lack of funds also kept me away from the cable cars, which is another good way to avoid time wasted in lines and crowded paths (and save money and get extremely good exercise). 

    And if you wonder, that wagon over there is the station bar in Wasserauen. One of the cutest I’ve seen in my adventures. 

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    The trip was easy. It was no more dangerous than crossing the street, or driving to the beach, or eating peanuts. The two important things that I did learn were that you are as powerful and strong as you allow yourself to be, and that the most difficult part of any endeavor is taking the first step, making the first decision. And I knew even then that I would forget them time and time again and would have to go back and repeat those words that had become meaningless and try to remember.

    © Robyn Davidson – Tracks


    Where: Wasseruaren – Seealpsee – Meglisalp – Marwees – Wasserauen, Alpstein massif, Appenzell, Switzerland (map)