• Appenzell
  • Falling in Love With Switzerland Over And Over Again – Hoher Kasten Edit.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Just when I said I don’t recommend sneakers for these trails, I caught the weekend crowds at the end of my Saturday speed hike from Hoher Kasten, half of them taking careful steps on the slippery and rocky path from Wasserauen to Seealpsee, and the other way round. Everyone has the right to their own style though, but still, I’d highly recommend sturdy hiking/trekking shoes for these trails. Or trailrunning ones, with the sticky sole. Because I’m really worried when looking you stumbling with the not ideal for the occasion, no matter how trendy, Nike Frees.

    This time I took my trailrunning shoes to Alpstein, to take a speedy tour from Hoher Kasten to Wasserauen. First, I took the train and bus to Brülisau and from there the Kastenbahn up to Hoher Tauern and the excellent 360° views (and many pics). From Hoher Tauern, after tightening up my shoes and backpack, I ran (and occasionally walked and stopped), past Berggasthaus Staubern and more nice views, before stopping for an Appenzeller beer at Berggasthaus Bollenwees.

    After the beer, and almost swim in Fählensee, I took the hilly route over Bogartenlücke to Wasserauen train station, from where the train home. Overall, it was appr. 17 km hike, which in the end would have been better the other way round, as the 1600m descent would have been better as the ascent, and the 1000m descent better for the ascent. Nevertheless, I and my knees survived, and you can do it the better way, now when you know (though in that case, please take into an account the gondola timetable from Hoher Kasten more carefully).

    Hoher Kasten, as I know very well by now, has one of the best views to Rhine Valley (Rheintal) and to the whole Alpstein Massif and Appenzell (the region, not just the town). And like said many times already, when hiking and running around here, the extensive network of guesthouses takes care of your energy and hydration level more than fine. Just remember to take cash and enough time with you when going.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: Hoher Kasten – Staubern – Bollenwees – Wasserauen runhike, appr. 17km & 5h (map)

  • BLOG
  • In These Shoes And Trails I Walk The Alps

    Tiina Kivelä

    Just wanted to let you know in which kind of shoes I walk my hikes in the Alps. And sometimes dance a bit, like Julie Andrews.

    I’ve seen many a hiker in sneakers and even sandals and barefoot (greetings R), but my choice and recommendation are the category 3/trekking shoes. These for the Swiss trails marked with yellow and/or the red and white markings, as the trail in these pics from last Saturdays’a hike in Alpstein – the kind of which the most common trails for me and other hikers in Switzerland are.

    As you already know or see now in the pics, these trails are occasionally very rocky and slippery, and for that it’s good to have shoes which are supportive, robust and built for mountain hikes, including a good sole preferably with  climbing zone. And of course they should also have good looks and easy to clean materials – life’s too short for ugly shoes, even in the mountains where it might be that the only one seeing your shoes in addition to you is the marmot.

    My pair is the women’s low-cut Lowa Phoenix LL (not paid ad, bought and paid by myself). I’m not sure if the model’s in the production anymore, but it’s the kind of shoe I can highly recommend if you are looking for a simple and light trekking shoe for the easy and middle-difficulty hikes and day tours in the Alps (in the Swiss trail scale the yellow wanderwege and red-white bergwanderwgere), and even for the easier huttours.

    For me these shoes have worked more than fine in the Swiss trails and adventures for over two summers already, and even though after every 20km hike it’s nice to change to flip-flops or go barefoot I wouldn’t walk the trails with any other pair.

    Tiina Kivelä Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä / Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä / Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä / Hyvä retki

    Apparently, I’m not as good choosing my watch to the occasion as I am with the shoes. DW is definitely not the best choice for mountains, but as far as I don’t have any other (though I do wonder how’s that possible with the second home in Switzerland) this has to go and collect scars as the reminders of good adventures.

    Tiina Kivelä / Hyvä retki

    Tiina Kivelä / Hyvä retki

  • Appenzell
  • Postcard From Meglisalp

    Tiina Kivelä

     Greetings from Meglisalp! I wanted to write you an extra post from this magical place, 1500m’ high, in the Alpstein massif, just because it’s so awesome.

    This village and a mountain guesthouse in the Appenzell Alps in Switzerland can be only reached by foot in the summer, and by skis in the winter. The closest road, parking and train station is appr. 2,5h hike away.

    From here, you find over 100 years old miniature village, guesthouse and a chapel, on side of excellent hiking and running trails, and near good skiing and climbing. And more than excellent surroundings. The guesthouse (Berggasthaus Meglisalp),  extremely well suitable for a shorter or longer rest on a tour in the area, is open every summer, from mid-May to end of October, currently offers 110 beds to sleep on and food and drinks, local specialities included, for the hungry and thirsty.

    The guesthouse has been in the host family from the beginning (built in 1897/89) and this year they are accelerating a renovation project, in which the overall bed count will be raised to 130, and the bed count per room decreased, to better adjust to the needs of modern travellers. If you want to take part and support the project (and be able to say brag that you kind of own a piece of Alpine hut), which aims to reserve the old spirit and traditions while accustoming to the demands of modern times, you can do that by a patron initiative, more of which in here (auf Deutsch): Berggasthaus Meglisalp.

    And if I’d be a marrying kind, I’d definitely consider the cute little chapel for a wedding ceremony (below’s the coordinates if you someday get the invitation for an alpine destination wedding).


    Where: Meglisalp  2’747’401.500, 1’235’666.500 (map)