• 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
  • FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY: THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MARATHON OF THE WORLD

    Tiina Kivelä

    About a year ago in Switzerland I hiked for the first time up to Kleine Scheidegg from Lauterbrunnen, and got greeted with these views. It was a really beautiful day (those views, just look at them!) and even though I’ve got to experience the same few times more, the big dream which started to grow that day haven’t realized itself yet. But soon – the most beautiful marathon of the world.

    I’ve been thinking of running a marathon some time now – I guess it’s quite a natural development phase for an kind of an endurance athlete like me. Nevertheless, I hadn’t really heard about this one before last year, when I moved to Interlaken (of which I hadn’t really l heard before either, strange enough). In there, I learned about the Jungfrau Marathon, labeled as the most beautiful marathon of the world, and one of the toughest too – 42.195 km and 1829m altitude difference. And soon, after the first hike and winter skiing around there, I started to dream of running the marathon myself.

    The race track starts in Interlaken, my swiss “hometown”, from where it continues to Lauterbrunnen and Wengen before ending at Kleine Scheidegg, below the famous Eiger North Face. Yes, like the famous names suggest, the region is legendary, and the label is deserved. Nevertheless, you don’t need to run the marathon to enjoy the same views and lovely atmosphere in this region. It’s open for everyone. But, there’s people like me too. Who always look for new challenges. And so I found myself thinking why not try running the marathon myself this year, since I was already going to be in the region around that time, and in quite of a good shape, if I may say. Luckily enough, my friend was selling his number (next year Bryan, next  year – maybe Le Marathon Du Medoc would be better for you this year, and next year for me) and so I got my number even though missing the initial registration, just three weeks before the race. Better late than never, they say.

    Though I wouldn’t recommend this same procedure for anyone else. I’ve done the half marathon and the Lidingöloppet 30k couple of times already. But, I haven’t had any structured training plan, not to mention the training itself, this year. Nevertheless, I do wanna try how having a generally active lifestyle (and well, over 15 years of active endurance training in the past) helps me to finish a marathon (or maybe not – I promise to try but not to be too harsh on myself). Shouldn’t be impossible, though challenging for sure.

    Of course, the views motivate me a lot too, giving the extra push – this is also my happy place, which became so dear while I lived in Interlaken. It’s where I fell in love, where I’ve experienced one of the biggest challenges of my life, and it will feel home to run there. And I’m sure other people have as good personal reasons to take part or enjoy the event some other way. So see you in Interlaken, along Die Schönste Marathonstrecke Der Welt, on September 9th 2017.

    I have to say, I’m a bit nervous, even scared, and not sure how the week of surfing and yoga in Morocco (oh have I told you I’m going for a Girls Surf and Yoga Week – well now I’ve done it) next week will prepare me for this marathon… Ok, let me admit that I’m very scared and wondering why the h*ll I’m paying 100CHF for this. But like always, in the end I’ll just feel the fear and do it anyway.

    Wish me luck! I’ll tell you later how it went.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Interlaken – Kleine Scheidegg (pics from August 2017)


    FI: Hieman optimistisia urheilu-uutisia näin yleisemmin synkkien uutisaikojen keskellä: menin sitten eilen ostamaan ystävältä lähtönumeron maailman kauneimmalle maratonille eli Jungfraun vuorimaratonille. En ainakaan vielä voi suositella samaa taktiikkaa kenellekään – vajaan kolmen viikon päästä koittavalle maratonille (42.195 km ja 1829 nousuerometriä) minulla ei ole suuren unelman lisäksi ollut mitään strukturoitua harjoittelusuunnitelmaa, puhumattakaan itse harjoittelusta.

    Olen toki elänyt normaalia elämääni, eli aktiivista ja Sveitsissä jopa super-aktiivista elämää korkeanpaikan retkineen. Lisäksi entisenä kilpasuunnistajana takana on lähes 20 vuoden enemmän tai vähemmän aktiivinen kestävyysharjoitteluputki, sekä muutama läpijuostu puolimaraton ja Lidingöloppetin 30km maastojuoksukisa. Eli tavallaan menen ihan omalla parhaaksi kokemallani tyylillä – turhia stressaamatta ja luottamalla siihen että kyllä tässä iässä ja tällä kokemuksella tietää mitä ja miten tehdä. Jollekin toiselle tämä tapa ei sopisi alkuunkaan, mutta minulle tämä on taas yksi ihana uusi haaste normiarjen keskellä. Haaste, joka pistää veren virtaamaan vauhdikkaammin, ja antaa hyvän oppitunnin omista taidoista ja ruumiin ja mielen mahdollisista rajoista.

    Mielessäni ei ole oikeastaan mitään tavoiteväliaikoja tai tavoiteaikaa – tai no jos sinne alle kuuden tunnin, parhaimmillaan 5h 30min pintaan jos pääsisi, niin olisin extraonnellinen. Kuulemma ystävät, joista osa asuukin sopivasti matkan varrella, ovat äärettömän ylpeitä jos ylipäätään pääsen maaliin asti… Ja koska tämä Jungfraun alue, jolla reitti kulkee, on ns. happy placeni, alue jolla olen kokenut sekä elämäni onnellisimmat että haastavimmat hetket, oma tärkein tavoitteeni on vain nauttia. Sekä haasteeseen vastaamisesta että siitä maailman kauneimmasta maratonreitistä, koko rahan edestä. Lisäksi jo nyt hymyilyttää, että matkan saa aloittaa Sveitsin kotikaupungistani ja toivottavasti päättää Eigerin legendaarisen pohjoisseinän juurelle. Siinä tulee olemaan paljon tunnetta mukana, hyvää tunnetta. Kotiinkin kun on aina ihana palata.

    Aion myös olla itselleni armollinen – jos ei kulje ja sattuu liikaa, niin sitten keskeytän. Maratonin suorittaminenkaan kun ei ole riittävän hyvä syy terveyden riskeeraamiseen. Vaikka se olisikin kiva saada tämäkin unelma raksitettua listalta ennen kolmikymppisiä, on yksi nykyisen elämäni tärkeimmistä tavoitteista niiden “suoritusten” sijaa pitää huolta omasta kehosta ja mielestä parhaani mukaan. Siihen kuuluu että ilmoitan itseni vaikkapa maratonille ja juoksen jänniä matkoja, mutta myös se että ymmärrän ja uskallan lopettaa ajoissa, jos jokin ei tunnu oikealta.

    Ennen juoksua on vielä edessä sanoisinko hyvin mielenkiintoinen viimeistelyjakso, johon sisältyy mm. vielä muutama päivä Lappia, sitten hetki Sveitsiä, viikko Marokossa surffaten ja joogaten ja taas etätöitä Sveitsissä. Tämä matkasokkelo, ja ystävien vierashuoneet mahdollistivat osallistumiseni ylipäätään (ei olisi varaa mennä paikan päälle pakettimatkalla vain jouksua varten), vaikka eivät tietystikään ole se mikään ideaalein valmistautumistapa. Mutta girl gotta do what girl gotta do, ennen kuin sponsorit tulvivat ovista ja ikkunoista (krhm emailini on muuten: tiinaetc@gmail.com).

    Toivottakaa onnea ja pysykää aktiivisina. Tarkempaa juttua maratonista tulossa sitten kisan jälkeen.

  • BLOG
  • LOVE LETTER FOR SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    Tiina Kivelä

    I miss you, Switzerland. I’ve been in Finland for three weeks now and even though it’s quite nice here too, I can’t help thinking of you every other minute. You had me at hello last year, and I can’t wait to get back to you. You keep me focused, and your quality of life is just awesome. No-one is perfect but for me, you are good enough. You keep me on track, you keep me fit and you make me happy. And you make exploring, a thing which makes me extra happy, so easy. 

    Up here in Lapland, I feel a bit lost without you. In a matter of fact, I’ve been literally lost a few times, missing your trail signalization. Not in a boring way, there’s still the excitement and challenges left. But you have the base set so that I can concentrate on the other things rather than keeping myself on track. You make sure I find my mountains and my way home in the evenings, without needing to think it so much. Up here, too many times it’s all about finding the start, the middle and the way home. Views come second when I need to translate the bizarre logic of Finnish trail signalization.

    In Switzerland, all I have to do it jump off the train or my house and find the first signs of by you at the corner of the station/street/condo. Compared to most of the countries, you understand that the trip starts from one’s mind and you don’t let me in trouble searching for the start point already. No, you put the sign pointing to nearest peak right there in the train station. And off I can go, conveniently and excited.

    Some times I have been a bit confused, even with you. When you haven’t been there in every crossroads and when you haven’t pointed to the destination I’ve been initially looking for. But in most cases, an additional map with all the trails (like this – you may click and view the hiking trails from the menu on the left-hand side) would have helped me to solve that little puzzle. After all, it’s good that you also remind me to trust myself and be comfortable with my insecurities. And many times, getting lost ends up being the best part of the trip. As long as it doesn’t end badly.

    I really hope you don’t forget me while I’m away. I’m more than fine sharing you with others but I can’t wait to meet you again next week and let you guide me higher.

    And I will follow you, always.

    Yours, Tiina.

    Tiina Kivelä

    SHORT GUIDE TO SWISS TRAIL SIGNALIZATION

    • Hiking trails (Wanderwege) are generally accessible trails and usually determined for foot traffic. They generally lead aside from roads carrying motorized traffic and are usually not surfaced with asphalt or concrete. Steep sections are negotiated with steps and areas with the danger of falling are protected by hand rails. Streams are crossed by catwalks or bridges. Hiking trails make no special demands upon the users. Signalization for hiking trails is yellow.
    • Mountain trails (Bergwanderwege) are hiking trails, which partly access difficult terrain. They are mostly steep, narrow and exposed in places. Particularly difficult sections are secured with ropes or chains. In certain circumstances streams can only be crossed via fords. Users must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically fit and have knowledge of dangers in the mountains (rock falls, danger of slipping/falling, sudden changes in the weather). Solid boots with good sole profiles, equipment appropriate to weather conditions and topographical maps are preconditions. Signalization of mountain trails is a yellow signpost with white-red-white tip. White-red-white painted stripes confirm the route.
    • Alpine routes (Alpinwanderwege) are challenging mountain trails. They sometimes lead across glaciers and scree, through rockfall areas and through rocks with short climbing sections. It can not be assumed that any structural provisions have been undertaken and these would in any case be limited to securing particularly exposed sections with a danger of falling. Users of Alpine routes must be surefooted, have a head for heights, be physically very fit and know how to use ropes and pick axe as well as being able to negotiate climbing sections with the aid of their hands. They must have knowledge of dangers in the mountains. In addition to the equipment for mountain trails, an altimeter, compass, rope and pick axe for crossing glaciers are essential. Signalization of Alpine routes is a blue signpost with white-blue-white tip, white-blue-white painted stripes confirm the route. The information panels at the beginning of Alpine routes indicate special requirements (more info here).
    • The signalization of SwitzerlandMobility routes (Die Wegweisung der Routen von SchweizMobil – you’re welcomeis standard throughout Switzerland. It is based on Swiss norms for signalization of non-motorized traffic (SN 640 829). It was revised for the realization of SwitzerlandMobility and today is the only international norm for standard signalization of non-motorized traffic. The yellow signs for hiking trails, white signs for the barrier-free routes and red for cycling, mountain biking and skating routes were supplemented for SwitzerlandMobility with the addition of route information panels including route names and numbers. One-digit numbers indicate national routes, two-digit numbers indicate regional routes and three-digit numbers indicate local routes. The route information panels are green for hikers and barrier-free routes, light blue for cyclists, ochre for mountain bikers, violet for skaters and turquoise for canoeists. These colours are also used by SwitzerlandMobility to illustrate the various routes e.g. on maps, information signs and the Internet. 

    Source & more information: Wanderland.ch / Difficulty scales by Sac.ch


    Tiina Kivelä


    FI: Puhutaanpa hetki ulkoilureittimerkinnöistä / LinkedIn Pulse