Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Titlis caving



While skiing on the rainy Titlis, I saw a crack cave by the slopes, and also visited an ice for tourists.

The crack was tight, I wasn't able to enter it in my ski gear for more than a foot or two, but I suspect one might be able to enter it in the summer. The crack was pretty big though, high, long, and also open from the other end.

The ice cave was a nice experience -- also free -- but felt a bit artificial. It is in fact under an (artificially?) piled area of snow and ice next to the top station. But inside the frozen blocks of ice, with flowers inside were very beautiful.

Coordinates for the crack cave: N 46.78861 E 8.41332. The ice cave is at N 46.77087 E 8.42355, at the top of Titlis, accessible from the lowest level of the lift & restaurant building.



Beautiful frozen flowers at the ice cave at the top of Titlis:



Ice age!


See more caving stories at planetcaver.net, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Rainy day



When an opportunity opens up, one has to take it, even if the weather is -- as the Engelberg tourist office said -- "very bad".  I had a couple of friends joining the trip, originally, but they all bailed out citing "heavy rain" and "100 km/h winds" as reasons. But, I had a nice ski day.

The day was nice because I had good clothing and the visor helmet that protects me from getting wet better than regular goggles. And because the mountain was still skiable, there really wasn't any crowds anywhere, because i managed to see a small crack cave next to the slopes, and because at the top of Titlis there's an ice cave that tourists can walk through. And because there was a nice sauna at the airport Hilton in Zürich, the base where I'll be staying during my meeting week. Not bad for this weather!

Also, I saved the testing of my new yellow Everest jacket for a rainy day. It worked, even if the weather was this bad. A bit warm jacket though, can only be used in colder days. My old ski pants on the other hand, were leaking somewhat. Perhaps I should re-treat them with the suitable chemicals.

Here's how it looked from the lift:


I rented a car to Engelberg from Hertz, and they were nice enough to give me a brand new Mercedes 350, with a heads-up display and other goodies:


Lunch at the top of Titlis, with a view (?):


More rainy pictures:




The walkway towards the Titlis top lift:


Discussions with the tourist office, and webcam pictures:



Bus at the end of the ski run:



The author, dripping wet:



This article has also been published at TGR. And all skiing articles are of course at Planetskier.net! You can also read all the Planetskier and Planetcaver articles at Blogspot and TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Saunas at the Hilton Zürich Airport



It seems insane to stay at airport hotels, but this time it worked well for me. Convenient for the early morning departure, free train ticket to my meeting site, and, most importantly, a nice sauna department!

There were two saunas, a steam room and. then a Finnish type sauna. Or rather, a Swiss type sauna, with the heater under the benches, and pouring water to a small bucket on the wall will feed the heater.


More sauna stories at Saunablogger.cool! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All sauna photos are taken with permission, when there have been no other guests, or when the facilities have been closed.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Damn parking ticket


I got a parking ticket today on my work trip in Stockholm. Grr...

I wanted to park on the city parking places, but the app they are using, Betala P, was "not available in your country" according to Google appstore. WTF...

So I opted for the commercial parking but then forgot to extend the parking time. Sigh. Forgetfullness cost 900 SEK this time. Grr...

Text and photos (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Ariston Hotell sauna. Or is there one?



I always book different hotels on my trips to Sweden, to try out different areas for fun, but also to test drive different saunas. This time I booked the Ariston Hotell in Lidingö, a nice island community near Stockholm. With ski a ski hill... no snow during this bad winter though.

The hotel promised a sauna on their booking.com page, although it turned out that it is actually a sauna in the next-door gym, and it costs a small fee (50 SEK, or about 5€) to use it.

No sauna or ski hill can be entirely bad, though this one wasn't great, but it was ok. I mean it is actually great that there's a full-blown gym facility next to the hotel, literally 1 meter away. But about the sauna itself: For some reason there was a slight draft next to the walls when you're sitting in the sauna, which you could feel in your back. Otherwise the sauna was hot enough.

Overall conclusion: this is one of the cheapest hotels in the Stockholm area, I think I paid less than 60€ per night, and for this price what you get is actually very good value.The breakfast is great, for instance. But the sauna isn't one of the best ones that I've been to.

Oddly, the hotel seems to advertise Pommac:


Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. And more sauna stories can be found from saunablogger.cool, of course!

Forest Powder in Kopaonik, Serbia



Kopaonik is the premier ski resort in Serbia. And I got the premier weather arriving there, in heavy snowfall.

I had fun cruising the powdery closed runs and thick forests.

My only regret is not visiting Kosovo on the same trip...




There was also an abandoned ski lodge at the top of the mountain:


To get to Kopaonik, one has to drive. It was fun watching the various cars in the heavy snowfall. My car was a brand new Mercedes (even if I had reserved the smallest possible car, thanks, Sixt!) but its sensors kept going crazy. It was not too difficult to see why, the outside of the car was cover in literally an inch of ice.

Here's a fun mini:


And of course, car adventures are not complete without having to observe the antics of Tesla drivers. How's this for parking style?


But I really loved the trees:


I also checked the Goulash index, by checking the price of soup at the ski area. 300 local or about 2.9€. Cheap! The soup was also good.



This article has also been published at TGR. And all skiing articles are of course at Planetskier.net! You can also read all the Planetskier and Planetcaver articles at Blogspot and TGR. Photos, videos, and text (c) 2019 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Kopaonik Spa Experience



While in Serbia I stayed at the Dvori apartments, about 10 kilometres from the ski slopes. They had a quite nice spa area, with a jacuzzi and four saunas. Very relaxing!

Saunas, the infrared, Finnish, steam, and salt room:





More pool pictures:



More sauna and swimming stories at Saunablogger.cool and Planetswimmer.com! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. All pool and sauna photos are taken with permission, when there have been no other guests, or when the facilities have been closed.

Vela Spila, Korčula



It feels like I'm destined to find closed caves during the winter period. This time I wanted to visit the Vela Spila cave, an archaeologic cave site near Vela Luka, on the island of Korčula in the Croatian archipelago. But, it was closed. Figures.

But I did get to see most of the cave through the gate, and hiked also to the top to view the cave from the large roof holes. It is an interesting place -- on the hills above Vela Luka, with great views and big enough cave to easily support ancient groups of cave dwellers. With the top holes, it would also have been easy to keep a fire going in the cave.

The digs are continuing on the site, and despite being 10 meters down, they have not yet reached the rock at bottom or run out of signs of human inhabitation. It is exciting to see what they will find as the digging continues.

It was also very nice to visit the Korčula island, with its ancient and picturesque towns:


Sunset from the cave:


Cave gate:


The inner area, photographed through the gate:


The inner area, from the top openings:


See more caving stories at planetcaver.net, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Vrnjača špilja



Google maps promised that it would be open. And it took hours for me to get there. But, no, in the winter season there's no one at the Vrnjača špiljar or the Vranjaca cave, and the gates are closed. What a disappointment!

Of course, there seemed to be a way to walk in anyway. At least to the final gate that closes off the stalactite parts of the cave. So the trip was not a total loss.





Split is also a very nice city. Some views:



See more caving stories at planetcaver.net, and see other articles by the planetskier at Blogspot and TGR! Photos and text (c) 2020 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.