• BLOG
  • What A Girl Can Do With Some Help

    Tiina Kivelä Creative Interlaken

    Balance for better.

    I have come to a conclusion. One of the most annoying things when working remotely/freelancing – as the one and only hustler of your business – is how you work alone most of the time. Which I have done a lot the past year. Worked and studied alone from my home office – or from a corner of a café – and talked more to my plants than any living person.  (Though the plants are living surprisingly well – I am impressed by my seemingly developed skills in this field.)

    And even as an introverted Finn who has no problems being a bit hermit sometimes, I have noted how much one can still miss the daily teamwork and slack. Because the plants are unfortunately very unresponsive, although pretty and living.

    And the same goes to mountains. They are nice to experience solo as well (just see the pic from summer of 2016 below, one happy kid biking solo around Grindelwald, or read this longer story about solo hiking) – and there are many unresponsive things to talk to there too.

    But the best is always when the solo endeavours and adventures with others go about 50/50. Enough me time, and enough doing together. Balance for better like the hashtag for the day goes.

    Soo in other words, you may invite me to work in your office any day. I would be more than happy to jump in. And for the mountain adventures and this international women’s day, I would like to especially give a shout out to all the amazing women who go solo or together, invite others along (in person or through writing, pics, videos, art etc), and simply do badass things.

    And to the people, men and women, who give women space. Space to be where we want to be, to do what we want to do, and to say what we want to say.

    It might not always be the most brilliant and pretty thing what comes out of that, but I do think world is way more exciting that way.

    Like on that hot summer day from which the selfie below is. When I decided to bike up to Grosse Scheideggen from Grindelwald, and all the way to First and Bachalpsee, and back down to Grindelwald. With my heavy not really made for this kind of things bike.

    And when the best was after it all, down in Grindelwald. Where I heard the question: “Did you really bike that sketchy path all the way down, we saw you from the lift and no way a girl was doing it?”

    Uhm well, hold my beer…

    Maybe not the wisest move, but a good test for my real capabilities. And an example of what a girl can do. With the help and pushing of other people, especially women. Because without one particular woman I would not have been in Switzerland in the first place that summer. And without the women biking before me I would not have ever gotten on bike and realised I can do things like this as well.

    Though this summer I hope I have enough money to buy a new bike. Enough of testing my capabilities exactly this way.

    Berner Oberland 2017

    Jungfrau Region Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Grosse Scheidegg Biking Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Jungfrau Region, Switzerland

     

  • BLOG
  • The Best Hiking Destinations in Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä The Best Hiking in Switzerland

    It’s been a bit springy in Switzerland lately. And while the skiing is more than fine activity still – thanks to the amounts of snow we’ve had this winter – the warm sunny afternoons in the patio get the mood quite summery every other second.

    And so – as the restless person I am – I’ve been wondering where I want to return to and where I want to go for the first time this summer. To hike the alps, run the trails and climb up the mountains (Especially the latter, because it’s about a time I start to really work for my alpinist goal.) Simply because going to the Swiss mountains on my two feet is my favourite outdoor activity.

    And because recently I’ve also gotten a few questions on the best hiking destinations in Switzerland for this summer, I’ve collected the following list to help you to choose your destination for the summer.

    And so – in no particular order – the best hiking destinations in Switzerland (according to yours truly) are Alpstein in Appenzell, Jungfrau Region, Zermatt, Engadin (Sankt Moritz) and Ticino.

    Read on for information and inspiration. But please, do note that I haven’t been everywhere  (it’s on my list though). Therefore, I might not even know the really best destination in Switzerland (feel free to comment below if you think I miss something). Nevertheless, I can promise I have myself liked very much hiking in all of the mentioned destinations, and I have returned many times to most of them. Therefore, I do think the list is kinda valid.

    All of these destinations are also reachable by train and all of them offer variety of hospitality services to choose from if and when needed. I’ve mentioned the closest SBB stop by name, and especially if clicking the links further to my longer stories of each destination, you’ll find further recommendations and tips for the destination.

    Allons!


    The Best Hiking Destinations in Switzerland

    Tiina Kivelä

    Hiking, Eating and Drinking Well in Alpstein in Appenzell

    Let’s start with my regular hiking spot in the summer of 2018.

    Alpstein in Appenzell in the eastern Switzerland doesn’t exactly belong to the Alps, yet you may very well see them from the higher routes of the massif. Highlights in this area (and very famous from Instagram) include the lake Seealpsee, Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli, Lisengrat and the panorama from Hoher Kastein.

    To experience the highlights and have a great hiking tour, Alpstein offers you a variety of routes to choose from. The several cable cars in the area also save your knees from the steep downhills and make hiking with children and others with limited mobility more pleasant.

    The easiest way to the Alpstein hiking trails is to take the Appenzeller Bahnen train to Wasserauen and continue from there to Seealpsee (about a 1h hike), in example. Another good starting point in the area is the top station of Hoher Kastein cable car (reachable from Brülisau (kastenbahn) with a change from the Appenzell bahn to post bus in Weissbad). You may also start your hike from the top of Säntis (reachable by cable car from Schwägalp) or make any of these your hike’s destination.

    From all of the mentioned, well marked trails for all levels continue all around the Alpstein massif past magnificent views and good restaurants and guesthouses with local specialities.

    And for the add ons to your Alpstein hike,  check the Appenzeller Whiskytrek and make a little detour through Appenzell for the local Appenzell beer (Brauquöll) and Appenzeller cheese (Schaukäserei).

    And if the sceneray isn’t enough for the eyes, there’s also interesting museum in the town – Kunstmuseum Appenzell.


    Jungfrau Region Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Jungfrau Region Hikinh Switzerland

    The Best Panorama In The Alps in Jungfrau Region

    I’ve been lucky – like really lucky – to have been lived in Jungfrau Region for a year.

    It’s a magnificent place and in my less than objective – yet repeated by many – opinion it offers the best mountain panorama in the Alps. And more than plenty of hiking routes to choose from (one summer season wasn’t enough to try even half of them). Therefore, I have many hiking recommendation for this area especially (seen under the menu category ‘Jungfrau Region‘, though above mentioned ‘Appenzell‘ doesn’t come far behind).

    The easiest gate arrival to Jungfrau Region is Interlaken,  around which you already find many amazing trails hike on. Yet there’s also more than good reason to continue the way further, first to the villages of Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen, then up to Mürren, Wengen and Kleine Scheideggen and finally all the way up to Jungfraujoch, to the highest railway station in Europe (3454m) and magnificent glacier experience. In this list though, let’s keep to the normal hiking routes which do not require crampons and ice axes and mountain guides. (Though the latter – or at least a hiking guide – can be recommended. Especially if you’re not so experienced a hiker. )

    In Jungfrau region – if you’re into the Instagram famous and the bit more demanding routes – check especially the Augstmathorn on the north side of Interlaken. Or combine your hike with a very vintage train ride up to Schynige Platte from Wilderswill, from where you can continue up to the Faulhorn and then down past the Bachalpsee (a dip allowed) to First cable car station, from where you may take the cable car down to Grindelwald. Or start in the Laterbrunnen side, where you may take the uphill route via Bryndli from Mürren to Schilthorn and from there the cable car back down (see more information behind this link).

    Moreover, if you’re more on the more good views less extreme, start from Lauterbrunnen and admire the magnificent valley with plenty of waterfalls. Then hike along the famous Lauberhorn downhill route (or the Jungfrau Marathon track) past or from Wengen up to Kleine Scheideggen, below the famous Eiger north face. From where you may also find good restaurants and trains going to three directions, one of them all the way up to Jungfraujoch, and the two others going back Lauterbrunnen and to Grindelwald.

    (See more details of hiking around Interlaken behind this link.)


    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Famous Zermatt

    This is the one with the magnificent Toblerone Matterhorn and iconic Zermatt village itself. With many famous stories to tell of the pioneers, heroes and tourists of mountaineering.

    And a good hiking destination too. Though free destination reachable only by train, foot or helicopter makes Zermatt a nice and quiet place only in theory. Therefore, be prepared for tourist crowds in the village and on the most famous and easiest trails, especially during the busiest summer holiday months.

    What’s good in Zermatt though  – as in many Swiss destinations – most of the crowds stay in the main streets of the village and/or in the mountain tops reachable by trains and cable cars. So if and when you’re looking for solitude and less crowded mountain trails, there’s also plenty to experience in Zermatt too. But be prepared to see some effort and take the less traveled trail.

    For starters, I would recommend the trails from Zermatt village in the direction of village of  Z’mutt (excellent place for a lunch btw) and the Schönbielhütte (2694 m). On the Gornergrat side of the village, there’s also nice trails all the way from the village to Gornergrat or other way round. Shorter variations available too.

    And of course, when in Zermatt, you can and maybe even should take the train up to Gornergrat. From there, you find the magnificent Gorner Glacier and Matterhorn views. And a good starting point for shorter and longer hikes.

    (You may read my more detailed suggestions for hiking in Zermatt behind this link.)


     

    Graubünden Hiking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Valley of Engadin (Sankt Moritz) in Graubünden

    First of all, the region of Graubünden where the valley of Engadin (Sankt Moritz) is situated is a huge region offering excellent outdoor possibilities – hiking included – in almost every corner.

    Nevertheless, as I’ve only been really hiking there in two places – Pontresina and Piz Beverin – and since Engadin is simply the best in there, I concentrate on this valley. And there really is a a lot to choose from even just in this valley – according to the official visitor website a network of 580km hiking trails. Quite remarkable, isn’t it?

    For a day tour in Engadin, I suggest you to check Pontresina and the trails passing Paradis Hut. As there’s both excellent views to the valley and glaciers and peaks like Piz Bernina (4049m) and a nice restaurant and sunny terrace for a proper break.

    Psst. Engadin also offers famous resorts like Sankt Moritz for old school luxury hiking. And for the new luxury, there’s a good variation of remote mountain huts and mountain inns and spa hotels to choose from, and to be combined with a multi day hiking tour in the region.

    And while in Graubüunden, you will also find the town of Chur to combine your hiking with an idyllic town stroll (and visit to the nice Bündner Kunstmuseum), and the Swiss National Park. And most importantly, an enormous trail network all around the region, to combine a hiking tour for a day or two. Or even a week.


    Hiking Ticino Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

     

    Always Sunny Ticino

    Finally – like the perfect after meal espresso – there’s always sunny Ticino region. For hiking, southern european flair and after hike pizzas in Italy. You may also expect this to be a good place for hiking especially in early summer and late autumn, when other parts of Switzerland are rainy and chilly. It’s also easily combined with a trip to Italy, to lake Como or city break in Milan.

    Simple, start by taking the train to Lugano and continue by foot or bus to the trailhead of your choice. Recommended hike in there – from which the above mentioned views (minus the half naked yours truly) – is Monte San Giorgio. 

    And recommended food any pizza on the Italian side.

     

  • BLOG
  • Pretty Good Morning – Cross-Country Skiing Klosters to Alp Novai

    Klosters Cross-Country Skiing Tiina Kivelä

    This time, I’ll let the pictures speak the most. Of the great (proved) cross-country skiing tour from Klosters to Alp Novai. (Fyi, Kloster’s about 25min train ride away from Davos – free with the Davos-Klosters Guest Card – or about 2h from Zürich or St. Gallen.)

    Start the tour from Klosters Arena (second pic, few hundred meters from Klosters Platz station) or first take the train all the way from Davos (the first pic). From Klosters Arena, you find a small cross-country skiing center with WC, changing rooms, showers and lockers (works with 5CHF pant), and the official starting point for the cross-country tracks, with information boards and signalisation.

    Then, just hit this amazing cross-country skiing track (both for skating and classic style) up to Alp Novai. Continue all the way up, in the wide valley along the river, between mountains and the famous peaks of Piz Buin and Silvrettahorn in the back. Stop by for snacks (your own) in Alp Novai, or for proper lunch and break in the sunny terrace of the restaurant in Alp Garfiun. Finally, slide easily back to Klosters, to continue the day whatever way you like.

    After my tour last week (Strava says 16km from Klosters Arena (1191m ) to Alp Novai (1363m ) and back, with elevation gain 289m ) I took the train from Klosters Platz back to Davos Platz, and made another magnificent tour, more of which in here.

    In the end, this was a loooong day. But definitely worth the effort.

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Tiina Kivelä Creative

    Note: Many of the cross-country skiing tracks in Davos-Klosters go in the valleys, many of which lined with steep and avalanche prone mountain faces. Therefore, before taking the train and heading to ski in Davos or Klosters, check the weather forecast and other current information for the open tracks.

    Information can be found in here or in the info boards on the cross-country and village centres in the area.

    Psst: For the hungry skiers, there indeed would be an excellent mountain restaurant in Alp Garfiun (1373m) for käseschnitte, beer etc. Yet, be careful as it’s very popular lunch place – right by the cross-country skiing and winter walking tracks – as you may need to wait for a table quite some time.

    When I arrived here last week, there wasn’t any single spot left for me to sit down and enjoy käseschnitte (would have been well earned after the 8km  uphill) and the excellent mountain views from the sunny terrace while resting my well worked muscles.  Though, with this fail I was “forced” to enjoy my (fast visit to Coop on my way to the station) lunch in the train back to Davos. Saving precious minutes to do another long tour the same day.


    Where: Klosters – Alp Novai, Graubünden, Switzerland