• 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)

  • Bern
  • Best in Switzerland – Aareschlucht

    Tiina Kivelä

    This was soooo good. Aareschlucht (Aare Gorge) between Meiringen and Innertkirchen in Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.

    For over a year I lived in Interlaken, not far (appr. 30 min by train) from this awesome place, but never visited. (Interlaken really has that kind of first world problem, that of so many cool things to do in less than an hour train ride radius that one lifetime rarely is enough for experiencing all of it.)

    But finally, this weekend, motivated by the rainy gloomy weather, we took the train from Interlaken to Meiringen and walked to the Aareschlucht, one of the best things I’ve seen in Switzerland. Or well, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in whole Europe.

    The gorge, between Meiringen and Innertkirchen in the Haslital valley, includes about 1,4k  walking path (or 2,8km if both ways) by the wild river (glacial water) and extremely cool wonders (for 9chf entrance fee).

    And now I’ll let the pics speak for themselves.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Ps.  The town on the other end of the gorge, Meiringen, is worth a stop too, with some Sherlock Holmes references and interesting history of local alpinists. Oh, and eat the meringue. Meiringen / meringue, you see…


    Where: Aareschlucht, Meiringen, Haslital, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland (map)

  • FINLAND
  • Rovaniemi – Hipster’s Paradise

    Tiina Kivelä

    That was a brief two-week visit to Finland and now I’m already back in the camp II. But before I turn this site back to the mountain lifestyle blog it also is, I present you with some snapshots from the Arctic hipster capital aka Rovaniemi.

    Just add the influencer to the Gelateria pic and the hiker with the Fjällräven backpack to the nature pics. Or an alligator, as I always imagine this kind of place to include all the scenes from the jungle book or Out of Africa.

    Except this jungle’s in the Arctic and really a tundra.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä


    Where: Rovaniemi, in summer

    Café Bar 21 Gelateria & Kiosk – Angry Birds Park, Valtakatu 4 / Lordi’s Square, Maakuntakatu / Open (on a good weather): mon-sat 11-20 sun 12-20

    Koivusaari Nature Trail, Sodankyläntie 137,  Open 24/7