• Appenzell
  • Alpstein – I Have Almost Had Enough Of You

    Last Wednesday, I hiked another almost 25km hike with almost 2000m ascent and descent in the Alpstein massif (in horrendous heat), after which the Swiss of the family noted that seems like I’ve now hiked all there is in the Alpstein area. Well, really not all. There’s still plenty of paths on which I haven’t stepped on and mountain restaurants I haven’t stopped for a break beer.

    But, almost all. Whoopsie.

    It’s been many day tours in the are indeed, between April and August this year. The time for this (since I haven’t really had a holiday) I’ve taken from free weekends but also weekdays on good weather. Honestly speaking, it’s been pretty too quiet in the work field the past months – so when I’ve needed a break from work related pitching and studying and projects which do not cash in right away, no matter how fast I execute and finish them, I have taken some days off during the week too and headed many times to the mountains, of which Alpstein is the most easily reachable from St. Gallen.

    Alpstein massif is funny, because it’s not really part of the (Swiss) Alps and it’s also strange with its own micro climate and really Swiss German allure – no English speaking signs by the paths (damn, I would have learned so much of the geology and history of the area, if my German would’ve have improved faster the past months), no English websites for most of the berggasthauser (thank god for google translate though and some brochures and websites in English) and there’s also no English announcements in the Appenzellerbahn (the trains) nor the gondolas in the area In other words, it’s been a good opportunity to find creative solutions as the ones I’m more used to it aren’t applicable in here, and it’s also been more than a good opportunity to learn and improve my German on the go. Halte auf Verlangen etc. (Realised the difference very well on my recent trip to Interlaken, where everything is translated to English)

    Oh and of course it has also plenty of options for amazing hikes and outdoors training.

    But no matter how nice of a playground, I think I’ve had enough of this for now. The recent getaway to Interlaken reminded that there’s so much to see in Switzerland with just a short travel times – there’s no point on going to the same place over and over again. I’m also more than ready to get some more routines (and money) in my life, so spending more time in the office during the weeks is a tempting option too (just have to find the office – any ideas?).

    Also, some more good city life wouldn’t be bad either, as I have my dresses more than ready and neglegted.

    Nevertheless, before getting into other business there’s a collection of pics I took on my latest hike up in Alpstein (route in here). About 25km, almost 2000m up and down, 10h, from Wasserauen to Äscher – Ebenalp – Schäfler – Säntis – Rotsteinpass – Meglisalp – Wasserauen. It was great but well,  a long and demanding one, and I can only recommend it to others with enough stamina and nerves.

    There’s many guesthouses on the way though, for a long lunch (beer) or even a night’s sleep.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Alpstein (map)


    Ps. On My Photography

    I just realised you may wonder why I always publish in here the sh*tty iPhone (iPhone SE btw) pics and not quality ones. Well, the main reason is that many times I’m just way too lazy to carry my good camera with me on my hikes, runs and daily errands. Even though how much I like to take pics of the awesome things I come past.

    And even when I have my real camera with me, I’m rarely into stopping and taking it out from the bag – iPhone is just so much easier and always ready for spontaneous pics.

    Nevertheless, I do carry the good camera sometimes and I do take nice (or at least good enough) printable quality pics, and wanna develop in that field too (and be less lazy). But for now those I keep for other purposes only. Maybe someday I put up a print shop in here, or something like that.

    And strangely enough, I also kinda like the bad quality pics myself. For me, it’s not really about the technical capabilities of the camera nor the sharpness (at least not every time) what drives me to admire pics, nor what drives me to take pics. And I feel like with simple camera like iPhone I’m more able to capture the fleeting moments of which really are worth capturing.

    They might not be sharp and shiny, but they’re real and honest. And they leave more time for the real life itself.

     

     

  • Bern
  • Sunday Breather – Velo Cafe Interlaken

    Tiina Kivelä

    Took a little breather and went to Interlaken for a long weekend getaway.

    Nah, who am I kidding. I had some things to do and sort out over there, so rather than a good breather, it was a hustle kinda break, including a bit of a disastrous bike transport across half the country and lots of rain. Nevertheless, past Sunday was more than relaxed in there, thanks to a beach hangout and Sunday afternoon coffee in the newest (and long waited) café in town, Velo Cafe Interlaken.

    Open every day (9am to 10pm), serving excellent coffee and drinks and homemade cakes (when a carrot cake is named rabbit cake I’m more than sold), having fixie on the wall and a nice little terrace – not to forget the overall looks seen in the pics – the café has very high hipster vibes. Sometimes though, hipster – or may I say well thought – is more than a good reason to love madly.

    Thanks for the coffee! Someday, I’ll be back for the after ride drink(s).

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Velo Cafe, Unionsgasse 10, Interlaken (map)

     

     

  • Badi
  • Best In Switzerland – Aare Float

    Tiina Kivelä

    It looks tempting, doesn’t it? There’s nothing better than clear, clean and fresh natural (running) waters, especially during a heatwave like the current European one. And there’s a thing in the Swiss summer I simply love which relates to these waters – a river float (aare float or similar). A version of which you may find all around the country.

    In Zürich, you can just drop in by one of the badis in Limmat river, like the Flussbad Unterer Letten which, as the German name suggests, flushes you quickly forward in the Limmat river, after which you (having been caught by the wired fence like a starfish) jump off, walk back upstream, and jump into the stream again – and flush!  And again. And again.

    There’s also more relaxed floating options in Zürich (Flussbad Oberer Letten, Frauenbad Stadshausquai etc.), as well as in Bern and Basel, all of which have kinda perfect river settings in the town itself.

    But the best full day river float adventure, the best in Switzerland, is the float from Thun to Bern in the canton of Bern (in the pictures).

    If you’ve been to Switzerland and especially Bern during summer weekends, you may have seen the crowds already, carrying their boats and waterproof packs, around the main train station and river. I myself didn’t have a clue what they were up to the first time I came past the wet-haired, half dressed, cheerful people in Bern back in 2016. But soon I understood what it was, and after having done it myself now I have to say – it’s one of the best things one can do on a hot summer day. As in here, you get the water, amazing mountain views and excellently good vibes.

    While for the normal badi floating you just need a swimsuit and a fouta, for the aare float you need those and your own or rented inflammable boat (or the trendy flamingo), and maybe an additional sup board like we had, a waterproof back or two with all your belongings which shouldn’t get wet, and some snacks and drinks. Of course, you should also take yourself to Thun, one way or another (I’d prefer train).

    In Thun, you may then load and jump in the boat (see the map and location suggestion in Thun for an aare float in here) and go with the flow, all the way to Bern. Along the way, there are multiple opportunities to jump into the river and float free on the go, but make sure you don’t lose your boat and gear while doing it. Many also drop to the shore from time to time, for a proper picnic and bbq.

    And when you finally reach Bern you hop on the ground, take a shower in some of the public baths by the river, and continue your day whatever way you fancy.

    Like, this slackline (yeah, just the slackline) looks tempting too, doesn’t it?

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ps. You can do the tour by yourself/with friends, buying/renting the boat from wherever you want. Or you may book/rent the boat and a full package tour, from any of the firms offering Aarefloat experiences. Please, look with aarefloat, aareboot etc. for service providers.


    Where: Aare, Berner Oberland, Switzerland