• St. Gallen

    Tiina Kivelä

    In our series of urban hiking, history lessons and life lessons – St. Gallen.

    Recently, on a hot and lazy Sunday (no mountains this time), I sat in the old town of St. Gallen, next to the Abbey of St. Gall (UNESCO World Heritage site, btw), and procrastinated read about the St. Gall guy, from whom the city has gotten its name. It’s a funny and strange story, of a man who spent a hermit life in the woods near Lake Constance, and for whom the Cathedral and other stuff have been built, and whose statue now stands there in the middle of that fountain.

    You should check the story out (I’m too lazy to copy it here but) – it’s interesting how strange origins some places and names have.

    And I guess I should also tell you to check the city itself out. Though, I myself would have never thought I’d end up living in St. Gallen before I found myself living in here. It’s been strange spring and summer and I still don’t know exactly why I’m here and for how long I’m going to stay in here. But still, I guess after these kinda ok months I can say it’s worth a visit.

    By now, I have checked the cathedral of St. Gallen (very posh) and noted how there’s a good free public WiFi in the yard of it (note). I’ve also checked the Stifstbibliothek (more than posh), in where photographing is unfortunately prohibited (damn, all the missed Instagram moments), and I’ve been to the Textilmuseum and Drei Weieren badi, though for my taste the waters of those outdoor pools (artificial ponds of some kind) are too murky for to actually swim in there.

    And the colorful church roof there in the last picture. You know, for years already, I’ve been looking at these roofs all over Switzerland, on churches and other buildings, and thought that it’s a paint.  All this time.

    Well, now I know it’s not. The patterns, and sometimes writings, are done with varied coloured tiles. I know, should have seen it. But I should have also been wearing my classes more often…

    Also, note the excellent patio and creatively hidden dumpsters.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Tiina Kivelä

    Where: St. Gallen Altstadt/Gallusplatz, Switzerland


  • BLOG
  • Good Running Flow in St. Gallen

    Tiina Kivelä

    As some might have guessed already, I’ve found my new swiss home in St. Gallen this spring. And in here I’ve also found myself more than enough on the running trails and roads. Back to basics, so to speak.

    While living in Interlaken, my original swiss basecamp, the choices for running were mainly flat to the lake / around the lake, or flat to Lauterbrunnen and up the almost 2000m to Kleine Scheideggen, like on the Jungfrau Marathon. Or then there was the killer steep uphill to Harder Kulm or likes (any HC uphill runner familiar with Strava should check and try the Harder Kulm segments and top times). And in dear Lapland, it was all slippery, snowy and icy the past half a year,  although beautiful, and the xc skiing was more tempting activity when it wasn’t too cold for any high-intensity outdoor activity whatsoever (more of the Lapland trails coming soon in a separate post).

    In St. Gallen on the other hand, it’s nicely rolling, downhill to the Lake Constance / Bodensee or up the mellow (well mellow in Swiss standards) hills on both sides of the town, which has made me run a lot again. In here and well, in this weather, it’s easy to gain km’s and even though not the easiest place in Switzerland to gain elevation, it’s not too big of a problem either. And with the elevation in here, you get kinda good views as well, to the lake and/or to he Alpstein massive and Appenzellerland. And without extra elevation, this time of the year, you get these pretty blossoming trees. Yes, those are the reason for the strange split times, hard to resist taking pics of the prettiest ones.

    Tiina Kivelä

    Basics of running in Switzerland

    As always in Switzerland, I run mainly on the wanderwege aka on the yellow signposted hiking trails (pic above), along which (and in the villages) you also find water posts for drinking, which is just so great. And if not with own snacks, carry some money for the restaurants and kiosks if and when on a long run; those aren’t too far from the trails either.

    You may find the trails on a map in here, ticking the box “hiking trails”, and as you see in the pic the signs also show the direction (and time!) to the nearest public transport station and train or bus. Sometimes I even do the Swiss train run; run a long way to one direction and then take the train back, as on Friday when I run 15km+ to Lake Constance from St. Gallen, a few km’s by the shore and then took the train back from Rorschach, which btw offers for less active sweaty visitors interesting Würth Haus Rorschach with some art and stuff.

    For tracking and inspiration (hopefully to others too) I’ve been tracking my running on Strava (links on the menu on side), though it’s been annoyingly buggy lately and therefore I’m now testing other apps and looking for suggestions on the best multi/mountain sports tracking app and compatible watch (iOS preferably) there is – please leave your comments and advice below or email me directly – any suggestions will be highly appreciated.

    And to not just ask but also give, I would be more than happy to help you if you are interested in running in Switzerland, so please just ask directly by email or leave your comments below. Or it would be also cool if you happen to come to Switzerland / St. Gallen / around and looking for a running mate and would let me know about it, so I could volunteer for running and after run drinks company (and no worries, the non-running readers and friends, the same trails and company works for hiking too, as always).

    If and when we don’t have the change to run or drink together the next weeks, I wish you all have as flowy spring as I have, running or whatever way and wherever you prefer. These weeks, as I finally have the time, I’ll come here with a lot of stories, way more than the past months, from Switzerland and Lapland. But before that, it’s time to give the running legs well deserved rest and work on the tan, as it’s promising amazingly beautiful and warm spring weekend in here.

    Take care, stay strong and talk to you soon!