• BLOG
  • Granada

    Tiina Kivelä

    Last summer, on our trip to Granada, we stayed in this cute apartment in Albayzin (rented through Airbnb) with the amazing views to Alhambra. For me, it was one of those trips when I was just happy to be away, in a nice town. A special trip of the kind in which nothing really is special and in which one of the best things is just to sit there watching the rooftops and palaces shining in the moonlight. And drink wine.

    I’ve visited Granada a few times now and I guess that’s one of the secrets for this kind of good trip – familiar enough to feel comfortable and fascinating enough to not feel too comfortable. First time I was there just for sports (orienteering, hiking and skiing in the Sierra Nevada) on our sporty road trip through the Spanish countryside. The second time, we visited a friend studying there, and the Alhambra, and enjoyed the tapas and wine and flamenco in the rainy cold March weather (which caused me the most awful travel flu ever).

    The third time, in June last summer, I mainly concentrated on drinking wine and tinto de verano, eating tapas and finding the already known and new (for me) gems in and around this lovely town.

    It’s hard to say why exactly I like this place so much that I come back over and over. Some of it, and maybe even most of it, is because of the combination of mountains, a lively city, amazing food and music culture, of tapas and flamenco, and the Arabic influence.

    Or maybe it’s just because everything’s so beautiful there. Just look at this.

    Tiina Kivelä

    During summer the city can be extremely hot and on our visit, at the beginning of June, it was moderately hot, because of which the visit to the mountains was extra nice. During winter, on the other hand, it can be cold, even snowy, and then especially the hammams are a nice option.

    Have you been here? What did you like the most?

    Granada Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Granada, Andalusia, Spain

  • HIKING
  • Las Alpujarras In Andalusia

    Tiina Kivelä

    It’s the typical spring rain season in Switzerland, which makes me think of the more sunnier days and adventures, like this one in Las Alpujarras, Spain.

    These villages, in the southern slopes of Sierra Nevada mountains, bordering the Sierra Nevada National Park in Andalusia, are easily reachable by bus from Granada or Malaga. They also offer an excellent basecamp for mountain sports, hiking and mountain biking, and even for getting on top of the Mulhacén, the highest peak of continental Spain (there are mountain huts, cabañas, on the way as well).

    They can also offer just a cute setting for a lazy hazy day or two, admiring the architecture and plants, drinking wine in the patios and shopping local handicrafts.

    For Andalusia, the villages are refreshingly green, thanks to the waters from the Sierra Nevada mountains and especially the Mulhacén, which still holds some snow on it sometimes. Though like everywhere in Andalusia, fresh water and cold are getting rarer and rarer every year in here too, and it was nice to learn on this trip (and still read more of) how they try to support especially the sustainable tourism practices in the Sierra Nevada area. Kinda refreshing knowing the not so sustainable tourist traps in other corners of Andalusia.

    On our trip, after a sweaty day hike in the river gorge of Porquai, from the village of Capileira to the village Pampaneira (which was after a few sweaty days in Granada) it was a very nice surprise to find a fresh water to swim in, in the river gorge, next to a nice little waterfall. It was fun and a good reminder that even though warm sunny days are nice to dream of and live through sometimes, the freshwater and snow on mountain tops is even better most of the times.

     So, this Swiss rain isn’t so bad after all. But a little trip to Spain at some point would be kinda nice too. Or what you think, doesn’t these look tempting?

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Las Alpujarras, Andalusia, Spain

  • BLOG
  • Good Daytour – Seealpsee & Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli

    Tiina Kivelä

    Summer season is here. Little by little the Swiss destinations, guesthouses, gondolas, summer timetables, high mountain trails and activities get back from their traditional spring breaks and open for the summer season. In other words, it’s time to tighten up the hiking shoes and hit the trails!

    A bit for my birthday and a lot for “I wanna get to the mountains!” cries I got to start my hiking season this week as well, visiting hiking to the instafamous Seealpsee and  Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli in the Alpstein area. I was a bit worried the place wouldn’t live to the expectations, but for once (or well kinda typically to Switzerland really) it was way better in real life than on Instagram.

    If and when getting inspired, please note that even though the Ebenalp cable car doesn’t reach exactly the berggasthaus nor the lake, the needed hikes are kinda short and easy, meaning many tourists. This is good to take into an account when planning a visit especially for the high season, on July, August, weekends and public holidays. We were up there the day after the bank holiday, on Friday, and even though not holiday for all the population, the berggasthaus was already kinda busy, especially during the lunch hour.

    Nevertheless, the places are magnificent and definitely worth the hike even with the fellow tourists. But if and when you want to do your best to avoid the masses and lines on trails (or combine your instafame trip to a bit more real hiking trip), Alpstein area offers Switzerland’s densest network of hiking trails, three mountain lakes, 27 mountain inns and six cable cars of which to choose and combine your day trip or even a good multi-day hut to hut tour. And in winter there are skiing and other winter activities available.

    For the afterhike beers, I’ll again suggest local Appenzeller bier (though mind your step extra carefully after it, if and when taking it already up in the mountains). For food, all the local specialities are worth to try, and one shouldn’t forget the Appenzeller cheese either. (Always a good idea to really earn the beer by taking the hike, not the gondola, to the guesthouse though.)

    I think next I’ll try the blue and white alpine hiking trails to earn even more beers and cheese.

    Who’s with me, for the mountaineering or the beers in here? Or both? Or maybe even a swim…

    Hyvä retki Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Hyvä retki Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Seealpsee & Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli, Appenzellerland, Switzerland. Map.