• BLOG
  • Going Happy Places – Upgrade My Winter 2017-2018

    Tiina Kivelä

    While daydreaming in the middle of this November darkness, I thought it would be a good idea to write down a bit more about the dreams I’m planning to make reality this winter season. The dreams for which I’ve joined the #skierssquatchallenge (thanks for the inspiration Sandra), and for which I find the motivation to explore running the icy remote small town roads in pouring rain like Rocky.

    For this winter, I’m already past the first first half of the preparation project. Because these dreams really need  preparation and work to turn to reality. I’ve done the squats, gone running and nordic skiing, and lowered the spending and alcohol intake (after the wine fair that is). Unfortunately, I can’t have the long high altitude weekend hikes from last year. Those were the secret for surviving last winter and spring and even the marathon, and they were just so fun. But I do hope the other activities and even a bit more structured plan (I even have kind of a bullet journal now) will do good as well.

    This winter and the year coming, I want to really improve my mountain skills, both when it comes to skiing, running, skitouring and mountaineering. I wanna do some more “things I wanna do before I turn 30” things like the marathon already finished, and concentrate on my wellbeing, for common good (hello future employers and cooperators, I’m thinking of you too in here).

    Nobody climbs on skis now and almost everybody breaks their legs but maybe it is easier in the end to break your legs than to break your heart although they say that everything breaks now and that sometimes, afterwards, many are stronger at the broken places.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    WINTER SEASON 17-18 PLANS – GOING HAPPY PLACES

    Talking of the dreams I have for this winter, one of the biggest is to spent more time in my happy places. First, in December I’m going to Switzerland to get my stuff, meet lovely people, and hopefully enjoy some December Swiss pow.  Then I’ll continue to Austria to catch up with some awesome mountain babes, and enjoy as much glühwein and raclette as possible, as it’s the Weihnachtsmarkt -season.

    After the reunion with my dear Alps, I’ll hopefully hop on plane back north for Christmas or at least New Years. Hopefully, because no tickets bought yet. As the sad story goes, Germania doesn’t offer the direct flights from Zürich to Rovaniemi this winter. Therefore, I have to consider more carefully when I have time and money to fly, with the expensive Finnair transfer flights. Especially during the extremely busy Christmas season, when charters are filling every airport in Lapland and Christmas tourists the regular flights.

    I haven’t been up here for the holiday season in two years, and I’ll have a brand new apartment then, so I kind of would like to be here for the holidays. But again, it might become too expensive and also, working for Santa for 4 months now I’ve had enough of this Christmas by now. The sun and cheap wine of south wouldn’t be a bad option either…

    After the holidays and turning to 2018, wherever that will be, I’ll get down to the Alps again in January, to go skiing in La Grave. Booked the camp through Boundless Betty again (not paid ad, just a honest recommendation) and I really hope this will improve my skiing and mountain skills a lot. Of course I’m going there also for the raclette, and to hang out with amazing women again, because why not. Alps are always a good idea.

    Then, depending on the work situation, I get back north north or stay south the rest of the winter, doing as many weekend adventures as possible before the spring ski mountaineering season comes into play. This will include a longer hochtour/hauteroute tour, and some cross-country skiing I hope. Plans and funding aren’t clear about these last ones yet, but fingers crossed (and work to do) there’s gonna be good trips like these later in the winter and spring too.

    Finally, and since my birthday is waiting in May, I also hope to squeeze in (and find the money for) a longer trip this winter (fyi: spring in south means winter in Lapland). Number one destination would be Colombia, for catching up with friends there, learning Spanish and experiencing the Colombian multisport scene. And more than anything else, to enjoy the sun, lack of which I’ve suffered hard this autumn. My friend also said, when inviting me there, that I should show with my experience how Colombia is a destination for a adventurous woman solo traveler. Ready for the challenge, but again let’s see if there’s enough funds and holidays for that.

    Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.

     

    2017 Tiina Kivelä

    PREPARATIONS & ADVENTURE LOG 17-18

    This winter my plan is to write more, about my training and plans and projects, in here. I’m not sure how many is interested really, but still. To tell you, whoever is interested, what it takes to get to the final stage, to do those long climbs ahead, and stay alive those great glacier runs.

    First of all, even if you don’t do freeskiing or the other kind of adventures like I do, I think you could get good tips from my basic endurance and strength training, just to make your everyday challenges like work more bearable, and your body to handle all that more conveniently. Second, for the fellow mountain people, I hope the avalanche stuff and insights on how I view and manage all the risks help you to get forward in the mountains as well. Finally, I hope my insights on how I generally balance my life with my full-time job, all this travel, exercise and relationships, could be of help for someone else. Even if just letting you know that you’re not alone.

    Like already said, last winter didn’t go so well in the end, so I hope this time I know how to do this better. This winter I’m really going to upgrade. Be it doing like the Swiss Tourism tells me to do in the video below – to upgrade my winter in the Swiss mountains (check! – booked and the skis are waiting me there already) or just doing everything better this winter, wherever I am.

    Tiina Kivelä

    I do have few extra challenges this winter though, like the non-existent direct flights and still unknown future since my current work project ends soon. But I hope that knowing I need to keep better eye on these things, I manage to beat those challenges and travel to the highest mountains and unknown territories more than once.

    .

    the fun of skiing was to get up into the highest mountain country where there was no one else and where the snow was untracked and then travel from one high Alpine Club hut to another over the top passes and glaciers of the Alps. You must not have a binding that could break your leg if you fell. The ski should come off before it broke your leg. What he really loved was unroped glacier skiing, but for that we had to wait until spring when the crevasses were sufficiently covered.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Let’s hope those springy glacier runs will be good and if interested, follow my journey here, in Instagram or Facebook.

    Let’s do our best to upgrade everything this winter.


    Where: Berner Oberland, Switzerland

    Quotes: Ernest Hemingway

  • BLOG
  • Winter is Coming & I wish I’d Be In Switzerland Now

    Tiina Kivelä

    Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot of autumn in Switzerland – that awesome indian summer, which according to the messages is there again. This time though, I’m myself back to Lapland – I clearly didn’t think this through when signing for this work gig last summer. While bathing in Zürich, it was hard to remember that the long and dark winter was waiting. And right now, it’s very hard, if not impossible, to not forget the kaamos, as we call this dark period in Finland.

    In Lapland, my least favorite season is this late autumn, October and November. Up here, it’s the season which develops from 50 shades of autumn to 100 shades of grey, ultimately leading to pitch black polar night. Some years, early snow and crispy clear, sunny late autumn days soothe the pain a bit, not to forget the nordic skiing if and when snow arrives early. And there’s stars and moon and northern lights – signs of sun and light somewhere. Though not this year, because of the never ending overcast. It’s definitely one of the most challenging periods, and this year doesn’t seem to make exception.

    During the years, I have developed quite good survival skills for this season though (might have some resemblance to hygge). I exercise and spent as much time as possible outdoors, preferably during midday, to get as much natural light as possible. And I try to date people as much as possible – this is not a good time to be alone (thought reading, netflix, knitting and ski movies aren’t bad options either). I drink moderately, if any, alcohol, and try to get at least 8h sleep per night, take additional vitamin D and make the dreams come true as far as credit balance permits. It’s time for daydreaming, and while others hunt game, I hunt for last minute flights. Somewhere like Switzerland.

    Nowadays I try to avoid thinking “what if” too much. Rather, I think how to do it. Nevertheless, sometimes I can’t make it, no matter what. And then only option left is daydreaming, the what if. And so, below my tips on what to do in Switzerland this time of the year (fyi that’s what I’ve been dreaming). Maybe you have better options than I have, and can even make it. Maybe my dream could be your reality. So, my pleasure, you’re welcome. Free of charge. But if you want to give something in return and happen to have some kind of magic recipe for getting there conveniently and cheaply, let me know – I would really like to make it there too. As soon as possible.

    Tiina Kivelä

    If I’d be in Switzerland, I’d start from my normal landing city, Zürich. In there, I’d stop for wine on a boat during Expovina, and maybe do some window shopping too. Then, I’d pretend I could effort every day like this, and go to Markthalle, eat simple hangover breakfasts like the one below (I really didn’t have hangover then, but it does look like it, I admit), and eat excellent burritos in the city.

    After Zürich, I’d take the one hour train to Bern. In there, I’d first and foremost visit Berner Weinmesse (Oct. 13th-22nd).  Yes, I know, it’s after the Expovina, in a matter of fact right now, so hurry up – but like said, we are dreaming here so we don’t need to care about the facts too much).  After wine, or well I should really do it before, I’d do some people watching and remote work in Einstein Café and shop a bit mountain gear.

    There’s no Switzerland without bathing, I’ve come to realise, and so I’d consider going to Valais to do a crispy wine hike and combine it with a spa day or two in Leukerbad, or to another region for an excellent bad, like Rigi. Of course I’d also take a dip in the natural waters like Aare river, but this time of the year a heated pool and sauna is more than nice compulsory addition too. Maybe all this would include some yoga too. And moments like this.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Finally, after few days of wine and pampering, I’d end up in my Swiss home region, the Jungfrau Region. To say hi to my friends and continue up to the mountains, to get the balance right after all the wine*. Up there, I’d enjoy the hopefully clear technicolor days like last year, run down the hill in the style of sound of music (maybe), hike up and stay a night or two in the winter room of some of the huts. If I’d be lucky, I’d taste the first snow, and if not, there’s always the eternal snow waiting up in the mountains – maybe I should already visit the Jungfraujoch as well. And of course I’d take a concerned look on the melting glaciers, and learn more mountaineering tricks.

    All this, with the sun, would hopefully provide me with enough energy and inspiration to survive rest of the year until another ski season. And if you bring my tips into action, I’m sure they delight you too. If not, there’s something wrong with you then 😉 People, go to Switzerland, especially during the off-season. Or wait. You can also leave it all to me. I’ll go book my tickets now…

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    *I’ll gonna do a poor northern woman weinmesse version in Viini & Ruoka -expo in Helsinki Oct. 26th-29th. So if I manage to find the reasonably priced flights to Switzerland, it’s gonna be lots of wine then. Didn’t I just mention the moderate amount of alcohol?


    Where: Berner Weinmesse 13.-22.10.2017, Bern

    Expovina 2.-16.11.2017, Zürich

    Huttour, SAC & my tips for a tour, Switzerland

    Inspiration for mountains: Alpinsight

  • BLOG
  • BEST IN ZÜRICH: FRAUENBAD STADHAUSQUAI

    Tiina Kivelä

    After mountains, the best outdoor things in Switzerland relate to the rivers and lakes, in which Zürich doesn’t make an exception.  It’s been quite of an heatwave this week and I’ve found myself almost every day in one of the badi‘s in town. Earlier this week, I tested the free official one and the free not-official one, which offer active playgrounds for cooling down. And yesterday, in a need of quiet, relaxed self-care day, I tested Frauenbad Stadshausquai, which charmed me right away. This women-only badi (bath) offers for 8CHF all the necessities for a perfect bath experience, as well as good views of the Zürich old town and even of the snowy Alps. Not to forget the art nouveau design of the bath itself.

    Chilling river, topless sunbathing, food and good poolside bar in Zürich centre? Here you have it. Picnic is possible too (you may find Sprüngli around the corner). But sorry men, there’s nothing to see for you in here during the daytime, as this is a women-only experience. Official opening hours of the bath during the summer season from May to September are around 9am to 8pm, depending on the weather. Nevertheless, the Barfussbar – barefeet bar – at the same location welcomes the other gender too after 8pm.

    PAUSE, WOMAN

    For me, relaxing in the bath and swimming offers a well-needed break and care for the muscles tired from all the moving, running, hiking and biking. I still have problems staying still for a long time, but in places like this, I can quite easily survive a day or at least a half. Following the loosely structured routine: read – nap – swim – drink – eat – swim – read – naprepeat. Moreover, the place would offer nice remote working and studying possibilities too in the shadowy corners. Though I might want to keep this as a no-working zone. But a notebook is good to have, as creative moment easily happens in this kind of a situation; in Finnish having a drink can be even called a “neuvoa antava,” loosely translated as “giving an advice”. And yesterday, this aperol spritz clearly said: pause, woman.

    ||

     Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Frauenbad Stadshausquai, Stadthausquai 12, 8001 Zurich

    Ps. Fun Wikipedia fact: “Zürich’ government decided in 1837, to build a public bath for women, to prevent that “they are no longer forced to bath at night in the fountains” and to protect them from the eyes of men.” With these tropical nights in Zürich this week, I salute these brave ancestors who bathed in the fountains when nothing better was available. Women, claim your space. Always.


    FI: Vinkki hellepäivään Zürichissä: Frauenbad Stadshausquai eli historiallinen, art nouveau naisten uimala 1800-luvulta kaupungintalon kulmilla kaupungin keskustassa. Parasta hemmottelua, viilennystä ja lihashuoltoa mitä 8CHF kaupungista löytää. Avoinna sesonkina (toukokuu-syyskuu) hyvällä ilmalla klo. 9-20. Iltakahdeksaan asti “vain naisille”, jonka jälkeen uimala muuntautuu paljasjalkabaariksi, jonne miehetkin ovat tervetulleita. Sisäänpääsyymaksuun kuuluu muutama allas, suihkut ja muut tarpeelliset palvelut. Lisähintaan saa myös ruokaa, juomaa ja hierontaa. Piknik on myös sallittu, joten koukkaus lähimmän Sprünglin kautta kannattaa myös.

    Paikalta löytyy myös varjoisempia kulmia ja pöytiä työntekoon ja opiskeluun, mutta ainakin itse haluan pitää tällaiset paikat ei-työtilana, mukanani vain muistikirja ilman pakottamista tapahtuvien luovien hetkien varalta.