• Appenzell
  • Them Quirky Swiss Traditions

    Tiina Kivelä

    It was carnival time again and today walking through town to get my weekly shot of coffee bar nomadism there was still some traces left. Glitter and stuff. Even though, Swiss are effective in cleaning after parties too.

    And believe it or not, in the always so organised, a bit reserved and conservative kind of a country like Switzerland carnival is not the only happening which makes one wonder what’s happened to the country for a day or two. All these quirky Swiss traditions, found in almost every region and village from the big cities to the remote mountain villages. There’s the carnival – or Fasnacht – and there’s the 1st of August (National Day), Alpabfarht (expect cows with fancier and cooler head decorations than any influencer in Coachella ever has come up with), Zürich Street Parade and many more.

    Like Silvesterkläuse. or Silvesterchlausen. (Of which I have unfortunately forgotten to tell earlier.)

    On the last day of 2018, I came past it – one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen – in a small town of Urnäsch in Appenzell. I mean, I’m sold with anything which involves creative costumes and funny dancing, especially in sleepy remote towns vibrating strong Twin Peaks vibes.  And this was definitely it.

    Long story short, Silvesterkläuse in Urnäsch in Appenzell Region (also known as Silvesterchlausen) in Eastern Switzerland happens 31st of December and 13th of January. From early in the morning until late in the evening. It’s a centuries old tradition including well made costumes, singing and dancing and well, you need to see it yourself to get the best idea.

     For us it required a wake up call at 4 and standing in the chilly rain from 5am. But I mean, just see this.

    Worth it.

    Silvesterchlausen Urnäsch Appenzell 2018

    Ps. More informative videos of the silvesterchlausen/silvestekläuse in here & in here (in German) and read more in here.

  • Appenzell
  • Cross-Country Skiing In Appenzell

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    First, note to self: When cross-country skiing in Appenzell, make sure you stop by in the Brauerei Locher or Getränkemarkt Ziel on your way home. For the Quöllfrisch Naturtrüb (my favourite) or the beer of the month.

    I mean, there should be no Appenzell trip without Appenzell beer. Because cross-country skiing you really earn the beer. And well, it’s a beer region.

    Nevertheless, this little mishap didn’t ruin my overall great cross-country season opening in Switzerland, in a perfect weather in Gonten, Appenzell. It’s 45min by train (=excellent updated train by Appenzellerbahn, power outlets and all) from St. Gallen and currently comes with heaps of snow.

    Tageskarte CHF10 (day pass for the well prepared tracks) and cross-country skiing center near the Gonten railway station (Loipe-Höttli aka Waschhöttli) for changing, ski service and patio. With Säntis views and lots of sunlight (no note to self about this, remembered the sunscreen).

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Where: (23km skating style), Gonten, Appenzell, Switzerland 


  • Appenzell
  • Hiking The Extra Mile in Alpstein

    Tiina Kivelä

    Almost right after I said I’ve had enough of Alsptein I went back to Alpstein. To hike the Altman. Though in the end I didn’t climb it all the way up. Just passed by. Hah.

    There’s a lesson in there though. I’ve learned that when there’s no other option (or well there is but they’re too expensive, risky or whatever) you just do things. And then you also don’t do things.

    There’s those days when you push a bit more, a bit further than you intended to go and a bit further you feel like really doing – you’re tired, hungry, your muscles ache, you just want to be home already – but still you continue. You go, because deep down you know you can make it and you didn’t come this far just to come this far.

    But then there are  also those days when you just say f*ck it, I’m done, no more, what’s needed to be done is done and I just go home/have a beer/cut this short now. For it would be too risky, too tiring and for you just don’t feel like it. or have better things to do.

    Lately I’ve learned that if it’s just about the steps, putting one feet in front of another, and so on, I’ll do it. If it’s not about the time, to be somewhre on exact time, if it’s more of just doing something than achieving something in exact time and exact way and if there’s not better then things to do with your time and energy, then I just go further on.

    And so I just dip myself in the lake on the way if that’s possible (Fählensee on this trip, highly recommended) on a hot day and just go as far and high as I need to and I can, to experience something awesome. But when it comes to sketchy mountain tops, exposed trails and possible serious fall incidents, and maybe someone’s waiting for me, I’ll pass if I’m not 100% sure I can do it without risking much. And so I cut it short, don’t climb higher, but run the last km’s to catch the bus to be on time doing something more important. Alive, healthy and happy.

    In other words, sometimes it’s good to be selfish and just do things for the sake of doing, and sometimes it’s good to remember that oh yeah, one needs other people and sharing is caring and not everything is worth of doing.

    I have no idea if this made any sense but well, there’s at least some pics from my latest Alpstein hike – up with the Schwebebahn to Säntis, along Lisengrat to Rotsteinpass, up to Altmansattel, down to Fählensee (and dip) and Bollenwees before a run all the way down to Brülisau and bus home.


    Where: Säntis to Brülisau through Lisengrat and Altmasattel (map)