• 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)

  • 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)

  • Appenzell
  • Instagram Brought Us Here – Appenzell edit.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Most of us have seen the pics. The hut, nestled tightly against and under the mountain face. And the lake, reflecting the surrounding mountains, so green in the summer and so white in the winter. And so many of us have gone there, even me. Or, well, close enough.

    It’s Appenzell, or more precisely the Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli and the lake Seealpsee, and the mountain Säntis above them. A few weeks back we were skiing close by, in the Ebenalp, when it really hit me. Instagram brought us all there. Me, us and most of the people in the mountain restaurant. Without hashtag, we or the places don’t exist.

    Well, Instafamous or not, Appenzell is a very nice region, with nice small ski resorts in the Alpstein massif (pro tip: t-lifts are always a good sign) and very nice local products; Appenzeller beer, cheese and whisky. And whisky trek! So why not to love? And why not go there in summer, when you’ll most likely see my version of the most famous pics too. And get some more (whisky) hiking tips.

    Until that, let’s enjoy the food and drinks.

    Or go voting. Soon it’s time for a very Swiss tradition in the town of Appenzell, the Landsgemeinde, which is the original form of the famous Swiss direct democracy. On the last Sunday in April the citizens entitled to vote gather to the square, under the open sky, to elect their government and courts, and to decide about laws and financial matters.

    These days this form of direct democracy is possible only in the smaller areas though, and yes, Appenzell is one of them. Cheers for democracy!

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where & What & How Appenzell:

    Brauquöll Appenzell for the beer (open year-round)

    Appenzeller Schaukäserei for the cheese (open year-round)

    Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli for food (season opening May 1st 2018)

    Säntis & Ebenalp for views and sweat (summer for hiking, winter for skiing)

    SBB for getting there

    Instagram for inspiration