• BLOG
  • Keep On Going

    In Northern Scandinavia it’s been pretty amazing skiing lately. Nordic and free skiing. Almost the midnight sun already, and the record amounts of snow.

    Haven’t been there myself, but I have heard about it and seen the pics.

    Many have also learned to bake a very tasty looking sourdough bread. Not me though. But I have seen the instastories.

    (What I have made is pretty good tiramisu though. With the help of Massimo Bottura’s Kitchen Quarantine. And bought exceptionally good spelt bread from my local bakery in Engelberg.)

    For some, it’s been their normal everyday activities in their extended backyards. For others, innovative ideas resulting from the corona times and lockdowns. And for me, it’s been something to keep me sane. Something to keep my hope alive.

    So keep those sourdough and Lyngen  pictures coming, please. You are allowed to enjoy your life and show it. Tell and publish stories about it. Especially now.

    Engelberg Wander

    Engelberg May 2020

     

    You don’t need my petitions nor advice. Yet, I wanna write about this. Because last weekend (again) I heard a comment saying one shouldn’t publish a lot of nice outdoor pictures now.

    Like the above mentioned. Or especially similar to mine. The pics and videos and stories from my awesome backyard in the Swiss Alps. In where I the past month walked, biked, ran as safely as possible, keeping min. 2m distance to other people, and avoiding groups of more than 5. As the rule in Switzerland still goes.

    Things like these shouldn’t be told about loud now, comments say. Because “those remind of people that those things exist” now.

    Now, when traveling to those isn’t allowed. Now, when everybody should stay home and safe. Now, when many (here I would also like to say everyone though)  struggle a lot.

    Sigh. For me, it’s been amazing to see how my friends – and the not even friends but just people I follow in (social) media –  cope with the current circumstances. All around the world.

    It’s been more than nice to just see people going on with their lives, everyone on their own way. Keeping going on. Like it was before Covid-19 and like it will be after Covid-19 (if that time ever comes).

    (Btw that Patagonia Storm Racer Jacket’s been the best purchase for outings in pouring rain, and the running in pouring rain is still one of the best things ever. Right after mountainbiking in sunny spring days, when all the fields and alpine pastures are full of wild flowers, which is also more than good for the bees . *no ad just honest opinion. )

    Tiina Kivelä Running Patagonia

    Engelberg MTB

    And especially now it’s nice to be able to do it with the good distance. No touching, no hugging, no standing closer than 2m. No spreading the virus even by accident. Just through social media, or similar, with the help of the technology and good ideas of past and present.

    Now, my family in Lapland is happily skiing in Lapland. Other one I know is working hard in home office under tight lockdown in Barcelona. Third is baking bread in Malaysia. Fourth is biking in the Swiss Alps, like me. Fifth is finding creative solutions for handling the own home office and homeschooling of kids.

    Sixth has just moved into new house with marvellous big kitchen and sauna. Seventh tells daily how her work and especially funny meetings in the home office go.

    Engelberg River

    Engelberg Wanderwege

    Engelberg Farm

    Eight, me. I am healthy and adventuring in the mountains, yes. But I am also unemployed, poor, living alone in a less than 20 square meter flat with no oven nor separate rooms. Sauna I can only dream of, as long as the public saunas in town keep closed for the restrictions.

    Yes, my pictures from the mountains might show a happy life in the mountains, which it kinda is. Tempting even. Tempting to travel, tempting to visit, tempting to get out yourself too.

    But you know? So does the freshly baked bread of the friend number 3. The beer after sauna of the friend number n. The work meeting which results in writing an ok amount bill, of a creative entrepreneur I follow in Instagram. The dinner shared with the family living in the same house of whom the one food blog tells about.

    I would like to have those things too. But I don’t. And that’s life. Not perfect, but pretty ok still.

    Therefore, please people. Take notice of the good things in your life and please tell me about them. (If you like to, don’t need to if you don’t like to. But if you do like to, please do it.) With insta posts and stories. With messages. With live streams and calls. Etc.

    And the same goes to businesses and organisations. Tell me what you can offer, how’s it going, are you there for me with your products and services, or are you not. Is there something I can help you with? Or if you just want to let me know it’s the goodbye for now and maybe we see later, maybe not…

     I wanna see your smile and smile back. Of course you may also tell if it’s not going so great. Maybe I can help. Or maybe I can just say that its good and bad here too.

    We are in this together. We really are. d

    And maybe some day I have the oven, in which to bake the good sourdough bread made with the help of your tips. Until then, I make another patch of tiramisu. And run these awesome backyard trails in rain and sunshine.

    Because it’s great and makes me giggle. And giggling is always good.

    Engelberg Achtung Kinder

    Swiss Alps May


     

    Where: Engelberg, Switzerland.

     

  • BLOG
  • Where In Finnish Lapland I Would Like To Go Right Now

    Tiina Kivelä

    That time of the year again, especially since this summer my Lapland trip sum is zero. My social media feed and WhatsApp chats have filled with pics of freshly picked cloudberries, the last rays of midnight sun, the midnight dips in the lakes by which the wood heated saunas spoil the lucky ones.  The smoked fresh water fish, endless gravel roads in between mellow height fells and in the background the silence and clean air one can only experience in Lapland…

    Yes, I miss it and the messages don’t help it. It’s the time of being homesick, and dream of good old Lapland summer trip.

    If I am lucky, I get to make it this year already. But if not, I can always dream. And I thought it would be fun to share with everybody my dream destinations and activities in Lapland for summer / early autumn season.

    Maybe you get to go there before me even. Pidä hauskaa!

    Rovaniemi

    First, to land smoothly, I would start my trip in Rovaniemi, to enjoy the best of this small yet lively urban centre of Finnish Lapland. I would take a room (with sauna) in Arctic Light Hotel and wake up the next day to the best breakfast in town. Then, I would stroll around the town and by the river. Visit Korundi and their excellent museum shop, and have a coffee break in Chocodeli.

    For lunch, I would decide between Yuca (mexican), Hostel Cafe Koti (the coziest ), Roka Street Bistro (the best truly Lappish bistro menu and the best risottos in town)  and Kauppayhtiö (for the best burgers, therefore the best for slightly hangover days).

    I would also take a walking/running/biking trip to Ounasvaara hill, the urban outdoors playground in Rovaniemi, and then roll back down for sauna (and maybe palju in Hostel Cafe Koti’s Mökki roof terrace) and after bike/hike/work drinks in either in the wintergarden of Arctic Light Hotel or Yuca again (the best margaritas).

    Finally, I would end my day with dinner in Roka Kitchen & Wine Bar or Pure Pizza, sleep the second night in Arctic Tree Hotel before the next day before continuing further; either to Hiidenkirnut (Devils churns) in Rautiosaari village, 25km off from Rovaniemi city or all the way to my original hometown Kemijärvi (on the better side of the Arctic Circle).

    Finnish Lapland Food Roka

    Pssst. If you are looking for real luxury experience in Lapland, take note of Rovaniemi based Luxury Action and their new private wilderness experience, the Octola lodge. It’s something I would do if someone else wouldn’t be doing it already. Because it’s the Lapland experience I got as a birth gift and which I am always happy to see others getting in any way they can.

     

     

    Ylläs & Pallas-Ylläs National Park

    Ylläs (Ylläs Ski Resort and Pallas-Ylläs National park) – few hours by car from Rovaniemi and with direct flights to nearby Kittilä Airport and night train to nearby Kolari – was in 2019 named as the best outdoors destination in the voting by GoExpo Fair. Mainly for their excellent mountainbiking infrastructure and development plans.

    Currently there would over 200km marked trails for mountain biking (enduro, downhill and gravel grinding) in summer and 100km in winter (fatbiking). From midsummer to end of September the Ylläs Gondola (up to 719m) would also serve especially the DH bikers and bike park is also found from the resort area.

    And for a real wilderness bike adventure, I would steer my bike to the trails in the national park (please note that only specific trails in the park are allowed for bikes) and the wilderness resorts of Harriniva Hotels & Safaris, in example Torassieppi and Jerisjärvi, in where you also find excellent restaurants with truly lappish, local delicacies.

    For sleeping well in Ylläs, I would finally like to try Aurora Estate Boutique Hotel in Ylläsjärvi.

     

    Tiina Kivelä

    Saariselkä, Urho Kekkonen National Park & Utsjoki

    Like in Ylläs and Pyhä, also in Saariselkä the neighbouring national park, in here the Urho Kekkonen National Park (UKK) is now allowing mountain biking on some of its trails. And what even better, my favourite bike tour company in Rovaniemi, RollOutdoors, has also opened their second branch in the Kiilopää wilderness resort near Saariselkä, offering rental bikes, service and guided tours on the trails of national park and around.

    The fells here aren’t too big but the magnificent wilderness and almost endless trails – many of which follow the natural reindeer paths in not so straight flowy lines – make it one of the most unique biking destinations there currently is. In here you would easily feel exactly as small, humble and enchanted as anyone experiencing wild northern nature as it’s purest form. Not many services around though, so keep your back well stocked with necessary repair and orienteering devices, as well as clothes for any weather and enough food and water for longer than expected tours.

    While the wilderness here is endless, good accommodation, restaurants and other comforting services and products you still find plenty enough in Saariselkä resort, in where also the best northern lights show
    on top of Kaunispää (=beautiful head in Finnish) waits for you, if you are in place at the right time, from late August on. And in winter, you find the longest toboggan run (lighted for the polar night) in Finland from the top of Kaunispää down to Saariselkä resort centre.

    Ps. While going as far north as to Saariselkä,  one should also consider driving a bit more up north, in example to Inari, where the center of Sami Culture, Sajos, indigenous peoples music festival Ijahis Idja and unique local culture are waiting to be explored. And if that is not enough middle of nowhere, drive to Nellim in the Russian border, and spent a night or two in the Wilderness Hotel Nellim. 

    And all the way up to Utsjoki in this direction, one would find even more wilderness, the magnificent Kevo canyon and finally the border to Norway and direct road to the Barents sea.

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    Pyhä-Luosto National Park

    This is the mountain resort and national park in Finnish Lapland I call my home resorts. Pyhätunturi (Holy Hill) and Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Here have I skied the most, hiked the most and even biked the most. Although for biking it only got better after I moved away, when some of the trails in the Pyhä-Luosto National Park were opened for mountain biking too.

    In Pyhätunturi, the skiresort/village,  you find traditional (to Lapland) log cabins and housing, a hotel, many rental cabins and apartments, few restaurants and the National park info centre Naava. And in the northern end of the national park, in Luosto, you find another quiet charming small village, tiny amethyst mine and one of the nicest old forests in Lapland.

    This is a great place for hikers, runners and bikers. For short bursts around the fells or up to the tops to see the midnight sun and enjoy great waffles with the already mentioned cloudberries (in ravintola Tsokka on top of the Pyhä fell), all day hikes over many fells – like the Noitatunturi (Witch Fell) hike to the left side fell in the pic below – or traditional two day hike (35km) hike from Pyhä to Luosto – or other way round – stopping on the way for night camping or sleeping in a wilderness hut (reservations from the national park service).

    Tiina Kivelä

     

    Currently, I have no tickets booked but after writing this… I do hope I find some time before the first snow falls on these fells. There’s something magical in Lapland which always stays with one, no matter where you go after. And the phenomenon has even a name: Lapin taika.

    Magic of Lapland.

  • BLOG
  • Best Vegan Café & Lunch in Rovaniemi – WOODSS

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    One of the funniest things about winter in Lapland is how quiet the nature is, for many months. No birds or other animals – all sleeping or escaped to the south to sip drinks by the pool – and all the sounds softened or fully muted by the snow and cold. In the winter, you also can’t smell the nature. It’s all frozen and sleeping under the thick and fluffy layers of snow and ice.  And when the spring finally arrives… Just wow, all the smells and sounds, in good and bad.

    The past years I have found myself smelling the nature and hearing the birds even middle of the winter, by escaping to Switzerland. And luckily – for the ones without a basecamp in Switzerland – nowadays in Lapland you can also just escape to the new vegan café in the middle of Rovaniemi. For the sounds and a bit of the smell too, thanks to the soundtrack and the plants in the café. Oh, and especially escape here for the taste of nature.

    If and when you are traveling to Rovaniemi or past it, and looking for a good vegan café or just generally a good café, and the feeling of being in the forest when it’s not all frozen, go check WOODSS in the Lordi’s Square, right in the city centre.

    Recently opened cafe serves vegan pastries including delicious raw cakes, coffee drinks made with oat and soy milk, good selection of loose leaf tea, the it drink of today aka the Kerkkä Latte (spruce sprout latte), lunch and toasts and smoothies.  many with natural and local ingredients by Arctic Warriors.

    Yes, it’s very green, it’s very hipster and very vegan. Nevertheless I would say a visit here wouldn’t be a bad idea for a basic eater either. And on top of it all, it’s also an excellent place for little work and studies; either in the café side or in the quiet working corner (left from the counter).


    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Where: WOODSS, Koskikatu 14-16, Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland