• Bern
  • Berglauf Engelberg – Trailrunning In Central Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    A little race a year keeps woman’s motivation high.

    That according to the one who just finished her almost yearly race tradition in Berglauf Engelberg. Also known as me. In slight flu and two months earlier injured ligaments (now the ankle is ok, mom, no worries). It was tough and humbling – definitely not the best day for me for the above mentioned reasons – but it was also more than fun. Almost as fun as the Jungfrau Marathon (yes I’m strange).  Also, one of the best ways to keep the spirits high for almost daily physical practice, for another year forward at least. (Other good reasons general health, getting old, and simply fun times outdoors.)

    What really was the best though in Berglauf Engelberg – as the race is called these days – was that there was (alcohol free) beer at the finish, and excellent views on the way to distract one from the extremely bad feeling one gets when running over 1000m vertical up in 9km. And of course there was also melted cheese on the way back. To get back all those calories lost when running up the uphill from Engelberg 1010m to Rugghubelhütte SAC 2296m– 9km and 1286m elevation gain – in slightly autumnal, bright sunny August day with a little refreshing breeze… (Yes the weather was perfect for race.)

    And if you are looking for a nice little vertical mountain/trail running race for next year to test your limits and capacity (to stand the really bad feeling) or are just looking for something crazy to do, keep this event in mind.

    And if you are looking for some nice fun training runs in Engelberg and around, now after few months living and running in here I can finally recommend few. (Scroll further below the pics for the tips.)

    Berglauf Engelberg 2019

    Berglauf Engelberg 2019

    Engelberg Berglauf 2019

    Trübsee Alpenrose

    Trailrunning In Engelberg – 5 Recommendations

    Since moving to Engelberg in the beginning of April, I have had some time to explore at varied phase the trails for running, in the Engelberg valley itself and the mountains around. And by now, I have some favourites to share, for weekly evening runs and for all day free day escapades. So if you are visiting Central Switzerland with running shoes, check these.

    In general, for the excellent outdoors destination Engelberg is, there’s plenty of marked (hiking) trails to combine your run. And while I do give you suggestions about where to go and which exact places to pass, I would recommend you to take a look at the map with these waypoints in mind, and make your own tour of the available options. According to your current feeling, weather and whatever you normally base your runs to.

    Aaschlucht/Aa river gorge 

    For short bursts and technical challenges (this is where I twisted my ankle earlier in the summer) the path by the Aa river from Engelberg to Grafenort and back – or shorter stretches adjusting it with the help of the many cute bridges over and the trails running on both sides of the wild river – is one of the best.

    This summer, it’s also been one of the best places to mess up my Strava stages, because wild strawberries.

    Aaschlucht Running Engelberg

    Gerschnialp

    For nice evening sunset run or a random middle distance run with about 400m elevation, take the loop from Engelberg to Gerschnialp and back down from the other side.

    Can be also combined nicely with core and technique training by running through the Zürich Vitaparcous loop near Bänklialp. (Beware of the cow and pig smell though – there’s many farms around this loop.)

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Fürenalp

    For proper elevation and good food on the way, take the Fürenalp bahn either up or down. And run from Fürenalp valley station up to Fürenalp past Alpenrösli and Stäfeli, or take the trail other way round for some nice downhill cruising.

     Can be also combined with tour up to Surenenpass and why not with even a longer stretch along the Via Alpina multi stage hiking route through all Switzerland.

    Engelberg Trail Running

    Engelberg Trail Running

    4 lakes – Trübsee, Engstlensee, Tannensee & Melchsee 

    For nice all day running tours, the so called 4 lakes hiking region is the place to run in Engelberg. First, take the cable car up to Trübsee (or at the other end to Melchsee) and enjoy the highlands and many hiking (aka running) paths in the area around the four lakes, famous for the hiking tour with the same name.

    Here you find a network of trails to choose from, clear lakes to take a dip on a hot day (but note that swimming in Tannensee is not allowed), and many restaurants and guesthouses to have a nice meal, drink or even good night sleep before, after and in between of your run.

    Many cows and marmots and goats and weasels too.

    Trübsee Engelberg 2019

    Engstlenalp Switzerland

    Tannenalp Switzerland Trail Running

    Engstlenalp Engelberg Via Alpina

    Melchsee-Frutt Engelberg Switzerland

    Via Alpina Engelberg Switzerland

    Bonus: Engelberg valleyby the river and to the wasserfall and end of the world.

    Not all trail running must contain lots of elevation and technical difficulty (almost the opposite – remember to take care of your body), and for easy almost flat runs in Engelberg you find many good paths in the Engelberg valley itself.

    One of my favourite goes first past the monastery a bit up to the Ende Der Welt (end of the world) settlement, then past housing and farms to Wasserfall (nice waterfalls in here) and Fürenalp valley station, then turns back past the Engelberg Seilpark and ends with few kilometres rolling by the icy cold Aa river all the way back to town.


    Where: Engelberg, Switzerland

  • BLOG
  • One Key Is Enough – At Home In Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    One home is enough.

    It was the response early this spring. Response to my confusion when I realised that after a while I had in my possession only one key. Only one home.

    I had then signed off my latest flat in Finland and moved back to Switzerland. Finding myself standing there with just a key in my pocket. A key into a home.

    And it truly was enough. Even more, a good rest to the tired vagabond I had become over the years.

    Though soon enough, I found myself back with two keys. Got myself a job in Engelberg and moved into the angel mountains, in the heart of Switzerland. With the key to the one home in my pocket and few more in other. (Since finding a permanent good enough home in resort town with short notice isn’t the world’s easiest task.)

    Yesterday then it was time to say bye to the one key, and realise that my home is in here now. For real. Here I have many keys again and not the one home key there was for a while. But from here I have found a community, people and quality of life which makes me feel more than home. And I am ready to root.

    Here are the mountains, glaciers, racing rapids and crystal clear rivers and waterfalls. Excellent trails for hiking and running (unfortunately tough for twisting ankles as well – but luckily then local doctors speak good english and the care is excellent), bike paths, skiing in the winter, and via ferratas and cafés and bakeries and local food. And the nicest of people, who work hard and play hard and care for the same stuff as I do.

    This is Engelberg, town in the end of a railway line (like my original hometown in Lapland, funnily enough) and place I am gonna stay and root in. For a good while at least.

    Because if something I have learned over the years is that if some place feels this good and you have the chance, stay a while.

    For me the while must be at least long enough to learn the names of all the local mountain tops and make my personal records to the top of Mount Titlis (3020m) from the village, and for the Berglauf Engelberg.

    I should also learn to bike. For real.

    So here’s enough for few summers at least. And the winters.

    With just a one key.

    Engelberg Mount Titlis

    Swiss Wine 2019

    Tiina Kivelä Switzerland


    Where: Engelberg, Switzerland

     

  • Engelberg
  • Engelberg – Food & Drink Edit.

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Long time no stories. Sorry for that, it’s been a bit too much lately. But now, since my very nice sunny free days last weeks resulted in many nice hikes and – unfortunately – injured ankle, I have time to get on to the first top tips for Engelberg.

    And because I mainly hike (and run and ski and bike) to eat ( a lot and well), I thought it would be good to start with the best end points for nice tours in the sunny side of the Engelberg valley. Also known as the Brünni and Fürenalp side, with the south faces and sunny terraces, with great mountain views and trails for many kind of activities.

    As an extra, I’ll also tell where you get the best coffee in town. Good deal, right?

    Brunni – The Sunny Side of Engelberg

    First of all, there’s Brunnihütte at 1860m, SAC mountain hut & restaurant, which can be reached by foot, bike, skis in winter. For the not so fresh legged ones its also reachable by Brunnibahn and one additional lift from the Engelberg town. Up near the hütte, you also find easy category Via Ferrata and good hiking and other activities for the whole family. And from Brunnihütte itself you may get a bed, breakfast, lunch, dinner, beer or just cake and coffee.

    Also note it’s accessible by lift (normal ticket CHF29 one way, CHF44 return) so especially on sunny days the place and especially terrace may get crowded (for which I have a better restaurant tips below).

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Below Brunnihütte and a bit above the village there’s Flühmatt restaurant, my current favourite one. Accessible by foot, bike or skis in winter it offers great food and drinks and excellent terrace with great views to Titlis & co.

    Flühmatt is also fairly close to the Ristis station of Brunnibahn, yet I do recommend earning the food and drinks by hiking, biking or skiing.  From here, you may find the best Älplermagronen of the Engelberg area (haven’t tested them all but well I have tested many all over Switzerland and this was definitely the best one of one of the most iconic Swiss foods you can get) enjoyed alone as a single portion or as a shared bowl for the number of the party.

    Flühmatt Engelberg Tiina Kivelä

     

    Fürenalp – Difficult Via Ferrata & Amazing Panorama

    Moving from Brünni further on the valley to Fürenalp (1850m), yet staying in the sunny side, you can hike up past Alpenrösli and Stäfeli (offering also restaurants and cheese) in the Surenpass direction, or take the difficult category Via Ferrata all the way to the Fürenalp bahn top station and restaurant with the same name.

    From here, you may also get the Älplermagroni but also Chässchnitte aka Käseschnitte aka lots of cheese on a bread with ham and wine and egg. And of cours many kind of drinks, coffee and cake and Kaiserschmarrn, the traditional fluffy pancake dessert of the alpine region (the Kaiser- name comes from the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph 1).

    Even though also accessible directly by cable car, I really recommend first doing the hike, via ferrata or bike, and only then the food stop (to gather enough appetite for these heavy yet yummy specialities). After the well deserved break, you may then save the knees and very well fed belly taking the Fürenalpbahn down to the valley floor (payment in the valley station, CHF14 one way, CHF19,50 return, ski/hiking season pass is valid in here) or stay the night in the mountain hut.

    Engelberg Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Apéro ! The Best Swiss Food Related Tradition

    The Italian Apero is known almost everywhere, but very few know that Switzerland has the similar aperitivo tradition, which I have taken to like a lot. In apéro, there’s traditionally local finger food like bread, cheese and various meats, pickled cucumbers, wine or other apéro drinks and good company gathering for the afterwork, pre dinner or just to have some snacks together. And while the traditional time is after office hours before dinner, around 5-7pm, you may also get quite similar for lunch or afternoon snack, with the names like Regionale Trockenfleischspezialitäten mit Bergkäse.

    Normally swiss apéro is best when shared, but after injuring my ankle I have also taken it as my solo event, on side of keeping my foot up and enjoying the good weather in my balcony. Unfortunately ,I have no pic of the excellent ones you find in the Swiss restaurants (in Engelberg try the one from Zum Schweizerhaus restaurant a bit outside the village centre) so you have to deal with this one from my “don’t know how long I stay in this place so no point decorating this” balcony.

    The wine and almost local mozzarella from the nearby Entlebuch biosphere were excellent though.

    Swiss Apéro

    But First & Last & In Between – Coffee

    Engelberg’s in Switzerland, but it’s also one of the most Swedish places on earth. And while Verbier is the higher class Stureplan Swedish place in Switzerland (pardon my raw characterisations), Engelberg is the hipster cousin.

    With cute Swedish boutique hotels, real skandinavian ski bums (more than one Finnish too) and Swedish owned excellent coffee roastery with cool graphics aka Roastery Engelberg.

    You may get the coffee (drinks) or beans or coffee makers (no nespresso here) from their own shop in Dorfstrasse, or spot the coffee served in local hotels and restaurants and  too homes. The latter only if you’ve been invited or have your own here though.

    Comes with climbing and skiing and other outdoors chat, like every good mountain coffee stand. Oh and Nitro Cold Brew. The best trendy thing happening to coffee right now (my own honest opinion).

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

    Tiina Kivelä Engelberg

     

    Ps. Don’t Forget The Local Bakeries

    You may have your own favourite trail snack but yet I would recommend you always check in every village your (hike/bike/run/ski/whatever) tour starts, passes or ends the local bakery (or bakeries) in addition to the restaurants and coffee stands.

    For the best bread and croissants (mandelgipfeli for me in zentralschweiz). This way everyone wins – you get a delicious local snack and the local bakery gets enough business to thrive, hopefully year round. Which kinda goes to any local product and service there is, in your hometown or favourite resort and activity destination.

    The local the better.


    Where: Engelberg (map) : Brunnihütte / Flühmatt / Fürenalp / Roastery Engelberg / Bäckerei Stöckli for the bakery