• 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 

  • 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

     

  • FINLAND
  • Mountainbiking in Rovaniemi Finnish Lapland

    Tiina Kivelä Creative MTB

    I really thought I had already written something about mountainbiking in Rovaniemi. Especially after the great winter ride last winter (see the pic below). But no, I hadn’t. And so here you go, finally, a little story about biking in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland.

    In Rovaniemi, the easiest way to the MTB trails, summer and (!) winter is in Ounasvaara, the hill right next to the city centre.

    The past years local cyclists and entrepreneurs (with some help from the town) have done a great job opening, mapping and signposting the trail network. Currently, the biking trails might even be the best signed and groomed of all the trails there is (thing of which I am sometimes a bit sad when on my nordic skiing or running mode).

    Basically, you can just hopping on your (own or rented) bike and go. Alternatively, you can book a guided tour from any activity firm in town (below my favourite). Extra nice is that the mellow hills makes the trails very suitable for beginners and casual riders, as long as you know how to ride a bike.

    Mountainbiking in Lapland

     Also note that in Finland, including Lapland, you are allowed to bike on almost every trail and public road. Exception the trails in national parks and other restricted areas, and no biking on the nordic skiing trails either. Nevertheless, national parks with their magnificent nature and sceneries have started to open and prepare some of their trails for biking too. Both in summer and winter.

    While mountainbiking in Rovaniemi is good enough, there’s nowadays many other good places for biking both south and especially north from Arctic Circle. Rovaniemi working as kind of a gate for the real wilderness and outdoor possibilities in whole Lapland.

    When traveling a bit north from Rovaniemi, Pyhä-Luosto National Park or all the way to Urho Kekkonen National Park (UKK) in Saariselkä, or north-west to Ylläs, you will find excellent network for both summer and winter biking. In addition, some ski resorts like Levi and Ruka offer a bike park for downhills etc.

    Tiina Kivelä Rovaniemi

    Special treat: Go in winter and rent a fat bike and maybe a guiding too (RollOutdoors is a good company for that – non paid advertisement this is ) and have fun in the winter wonderland.

    And if going in summer (too), go biking at night. The midnight sun’s something you don’t want to miss.


    Where: Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland