• BLOG
  • Nightless Night Luxury in Rovaniemi

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    A strong warm wind messing up my hair. The bright sun which makes all the blonde hair and blue eyes around me shine like the finest of silk and the most exotic of jewels. Street covered with umbrellas and people of all ages dancing salsa on a roof terrace. The bars serving their own signature Negronis.

    Where am I?

    Late last night, sitting in a new restaurant in Rovaniemi, in the Arctic Circle, far up north, I couldn’t help thinking that although small, the scenes of the evening could have happened in any modern city in the world. Or well, in the hipster quarters. We could have been in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Bilbao, even Zürich. At least until the night came and the sun didn’t show any signs of going down. The signature of Lapland.

     I landed here on Wednesday and so far it’s been a perfect summer getaway, despite few confusions. I’ve gotten into sauna – taking care of my wellness – and running in the trails of Ounasvaara. And I’ve had a lovely adult evening, first having drinks at the roof terrace Mökki, of Hostel Café Koti (which is definitely not the kind of hostel you’re used to) and continuing the evening to the recently opened Roka Wine & Kitchen, the second establishment of the par behind another Rovaniemi favorite of mine, Roka Street Bistro.

    While Mökki is the best terrace in town, with dance lessons, palju and sauna option (though just today a rival will be opened by the guys behind Café Bar 21 and Yuca, other favourites of mine) Roka Wine & Kitchen made the best first impression I’ve ever had with a restaurant/wine bar. Excellent wine selection and service (don’t ask for wine list, ask for staff which acts as the walking and talking winelist), stylish decoration (check especially the tableware and the counter covered with white tiles) and simple yet delicious menu, comprised mostly of local ingredients.

    These made a perfect day already, but for my two week’s Lapland trip I have also on my list the gelateria of Cafe Bar 21 – the closest establishment of which I have very conveniently close my northern home – an activity day at Kesärafla, pizza’s at Pure Pizza, drinks and maybe a breakfast in Arctic Light Hotel, the current exhibitions at Korundi, and a trip or two further up north, to the national parks and my family.

    I’ve pinned all my Rovaniemi tips in the map, link to which below the pics, and will be updating all my Lapland tips during these weeks, so stay tuned for more Lapland adventures and tips, which I hope will be helpful if and when you will pay for this awesome place and the midnight sun (fyi, this year the nightless nights season in Rovaniemi is from June 6th to July 7th) a visit some day.

    Until that, adventure, eat and drink well.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

     

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Rovaniemi, guide

    Roka Kitchen & Winebar Koskikatu 8

    Mökki, Valtakatu 21

  • Appenzell
  • Instagram Brought Us Here – Appenzell edit.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Most of us have seen the pics. The hut, nestled tightly against and under the mountain face. And the lake, reflecting the surrounding mountains, so green in the summer and so white in the winter. And so many of us have gone there, even me. Or, well, close enough.

    It’s Appenzell, or more precisely the Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli and the lake Seealpsee, and the mountain Säntis above them. A few weeks back we were skiing close by, in the Ebenalp, when it really hit me. Instagram brought us all there. Me, us and most of the people in the mountain restaurant. Without hashtag, we or the places don’t exist.

    Well, Instafamous or not, Appenzell is a very nice region, with nice small ski resorts (pro tip: t-lifts are always a good sign) and very nice local products; Appenzeller beer, cheese and whisky. And whisky trek! So why not to love? And why not go there in summer, when you’ll most likely see my version of the most famous pics too. And get some more (whisky) hiking tips.

    Until that, let’s enjoy the food and drinks.

    Or go voting. Soon it’s time for a very Swiss tradition in the town of Appenzell, the Landsgemeinde, which is the original form of the famous Swiss direct democracy. On the last Sunday in April the citizens entitled to vote gather to the square, under the open sky, to elect their government and courts, and to decide about laws and financial matters.

    These days this form of direct democracy is possible only in the smaller areas though, and yes, Appenzell is one of them. Cheers for democracy!

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where & What & How Appenzell:

    Brauquöll Appenzell for the beer (open year-round)

    Appenzeller Schaukäserei for the cheese (open year-round)

    Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli for food (season opening May 1st 2018)

    Säntis & Ebenalp for views and sweat (summer for hiking, winter for skiing)

    SBB for getting there

    Instagram for inspiration

     

  • BLOG
  • Exploring Ticino – Monte San Giorgio

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ticino’s the sunny side of Switzerland, they said. And after last Sunday I can pass the message on, with empirical proof. Past year, many people and magazine pages have advised, especially during the rainy months of Bernese Oberland, to visit Italy or at least Ticino, as it’s said to be almost always sunny in there. It tempted me, but since it hasn’t rained so much (or even better; it’s been snowing) and there’s been enough of exploring at home in the Jungfrau Region, it took me a while to get myself further. But last Sunday, on my birthday, when it was pouring rain in Interlaken,  as it regularly does during these months, which further on didn’t allow any nice hiking or biking or climbing or skiing at home, my road trip wishes were answered. And so I got a ride and the crew to Ticino, with the mission of hiking to the top of Monte San Giorgio and eating some pizza in Italy.

    Ticino’s only three hours away from Interlaken, so it’s almost perfect for a day trip and just perfect for a weekend getaway (next time hotel and biking too, please). Not to mention that it’s just an hour drive away from Milan if you’re interested in flying nearby. But luckily we didn’t need to fly this time; all we did was took the car and drove away. After the Gotthard tunnel (of course I had google how the story of the fire goes in that loooong tunnel – btw when did they start offering 4G in road tunnels?!) the rain stopped and the sky turned cloudy but dry. Moreover, the roadside signs turned to Italian; it was like going abroad, even though we weren’t even officially on the Italian side yet.

    Tiina Kivelä

     Finally in Ticino, after the drive and 10min hunt for the parking spot, we hit the trail through this forest towards our destination, the top of Monte San Giorgio (which holds an UNESCO status, btw), in where the greatest birthday surprise was waiting for me: it was sunny, and the views were just breathtaking. The “Sunday walk” kind of hike didn’t really do the job, but the snow-topped Swiss alps in the north, Italy in the south, the lakes, and the green hills of Ticino took my breath away, big time. And when the day ended just a short drive further to the Italian side, with pizza and wine, panna cotta and espresso, I hugged my crew and said that this was definitely one of the best, if not even the best, birthday I’ve ever had. My favourite people, food, drinks and mountains. La grande bellezza. Only thing missing was the sea and gelato, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time when I get the crew to Finale Ligure or Ascona, for even more Italian outdoors fun. Or I might just return to Ticino with more time and my bike, as it was already more than fine in here.



    Pizza: La Ghironda, Viggiù