• 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.

     

  • CYCLING
  • Outdoor Activities In The Time Of Covid-19

    Biking Switzerland Tiina Kivelä

    Backyard escapades are the trend these days. At least for the ones who are still allowed to go out. And it really becomes a luxury when your backyard is the Swiss Alps, with it’s mountains, hiking trails, xc-ski tracks (not in Engelberg though) and just the nature and landscapes itself.

    In here, one can really take advantage of the health benefits what being physically active (or just lazying around) in the nature offe. Outdoor activities in the time of covid-19 shouldn’t be too risky and taking all the safety measures and distance recommendations seriously is more than advisable, but they are ok and they have many benefits, like always.

    (And well, if you are like me this Tuesday, one can also very easily totally freeze her fingers and upper body when riding the bike down from the treeline. Note to self: It’s still March, the ski and skitouring high season. Not biking, despite what the temperatures from the previous weeks and closed ski resorts suggest.)

    And (not bragging but) since in the past (while carelessly sitting close to each other in restaurants and sharing the bowls of moules frites‘ with friends and strangers like no one currently) I have studied the outdoor recreation and nature based tourism and tapped in some hours in the Finnish Forest Research Institute – who conduct research on these things too –  I thought to share now some of the research findings on the health benefits of natural environment exposure.

    (On side of advising you more practically to not forget the warmer gloves and jackets and headbands if you already get up and down the hills and mountains with your bike. I think next time I take my ski gloves.)

    These are not the easiest of times for most of us, but I hope this too can help at least some to cope a bit better with the uphills and challenges. And please note the last sentence of the quote below. I know in many places the parks are closed too and urban hangouts aren’t advised even on outdoor spaces. So what’s better to know that even research shows that our favourite things, urban forests, recreation and coastal areas work better for our health and wellbeing than the now closed urban settings.

    I know, for many even these are hard to get to especially now, but I do hope we all are back to our favourite things sooner than later.

    Until that, let’s try to make the most of it despite everything, dream and plan on. What’s best, it also doesn’t cost anything.

    Please do note though, if you are going out these days – walking, biking, running, easy hikes and (xc) ski tours –please keep in mind the recommendations of your local health authority. Which in Switzerland means that one should keep as close home as possible, keep at least 2 meter distance to every other person, avoid public transport, not meet/gather with more than 5 people etc. (The Swiss authority instructions in many languages can be found in here.) Also, if you in example are in Swiss Canton Uri and over 65, you shouldn’t go out at all. (And if you are under 65 and healthy, go help your neighbour and the over 65 year old near you.)

    It’s also always advisable – and especially now–  to do your best to avoid injuries and other emergencies. Covid-19 is a huge challenge for the whole healthcare and emergency response system and you shouldn’t be the one going to the hospital with broken leg right now. So keep it safe, keep it your responsible careful granny/grandpa -style, and keep it delivering the good, not bad.

    See you on the other side!

    Spending time and being physically active in nature promotes well-being and health. Nature helps us recover from the effects of stress and forget our everyday worries. It also lifts our moods. The effects are manifested in lower blood pressure and a stabilised heart rate.

    Spending time in our favourite spots in nature, in particular, restores us. Experiences of restoration in reported favourite spots such as recreation areas, urban forests and coastal areas are stronger than those reported in favourite spots such as parks or built-up urban environments.

    Quote: The Natural Resources Institute Finland– The effects of nature on well-being


    Where: My backyard (Engelberg, Switzerland)

  • BLOG
  • Engstlenalp – One More Time By Bike

    Switzerland Engtslensee MTB

    I will always have a sweet spot for the old two seated chairlifts. The nostalgic, a bit scary and very rusty slow lifts, getting you up and sometimes down, summer and winter.

    And having crown up and learned to ski with a special one – vanha tuolihissi = “old chairlift” as it simply was called in Pyhä Ski Resort in Lapland –  quite naturally the two seated chairlift between Jochpass and Engstlenalp in Engelberg – with the cute wooden old station buildings – became fast my favourite in Switzerland.

    Though not really just for the nostalgic value, but also for connecting Engelberg with the very nice hiking, trailrunning, climbing, mountain biking and skiing in the Engstlensee direction, and further on the Berner Oberland.

    Unfortunately, as the trend goes, it will now be the last week for that cutie. This October, the old Engstlen sessellift will be retired, and replaced with a new modern big shiny fast six chairlift, on time for the winter season. Snif.

    But oh boy, did we get lucky to have this free Monday, on the last week the lift was up and running. A bluebird, semi-warm and full of autumn colors day for a proper goodbye to the old lift and for a tiny enduro ride by bikes.

    Except in downhills and flow trails I was so slow that only got to ride the lift once. Not enough for really say it was a proper goodbye. Though it wasn’t just me slow, it was also the good lunch in Rossbodenhütte (note: October is the hunting season in Switzerland and especially around Engelberg the restaurants of all kinds take the most of it, offering special wild menus and definitely fresh ingredients) which didn’t leave us much time for bike fun but which made it above ordinary occasion.

    And oh boy those autumn colors. And that boy. And the lucky strangers who have cabin like this.

    Haslital Engstlenalp MTB

    Hell's Bells Trail Engstlensee

    Engstlensee Engelberg MTB

    Engstlensee Autumn 2019


    Where: Engstlenalp (Engelberg / Haslital), Berner Oberland, Switzerland 

    How by bike: Down to Engstlenalp leads a Hell’s Bells -named bike trail from Jochpass (titlisbahn -ticket and bike pass needed for the lifts). Engstlensee also sits by the 4 lakes (enduro) biketour, and offers hotel and restaurants for breaks of any length. A very nice tour is also to bike to or from Frutt Lodge & Spa and pay a visit to the best Finnish Sauna in the region.  Because you’re worth it.