Midsummer in Sweden

Midsummer in Sweden

We landed in Sweden and took a taxi to the archipelago, an area just minutes from Stockholm comprised of nearly 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks.  We spent a week on Ytterby, a tiny island near the main hub of the archipelago, Vaxholm.  We rented a cottage that used to be the village bakery house.

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Finding Our Comfort Zone

Finding Our Comfort Zone

We've been in Amsterdam for a week and I feel more relaxed here than I've felt since we left Kauai almost four months ago.  The sensation of having just taken a deep breath and exhaled came over me as soon as we arrived, which is saying something following 16 hours of flying and a 7-hour time zone change.  I've been pondering why that is while I'm riding along the canals of this gorgeous city or running through its numerous parks and I think the reason is threefold.

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Travel Notes: Kanazawa, Japan

Travel Notes: Kanazawa, Japan

We spent five days in Kanazawa and it was my favorite city that we visited during our seven weeks in the country.  Kanazawa sits on the western coast of Honshu and has only been accessible by bullet train since 2015 (it takes just 2½ hours from Tokyo).  It's a bustling, busy city for sure, but much quieter, more compact, and easy to explore than Tokyo or Kyoto.  The Japan Alps lie to the east of the city and the coast to the west, plus the heart of the city is bordered by two parallel rivers, the Sai and the Asano. 

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Slowing Down

Slowing Down

Today is our last day in Kyoto.  We've been here for two weeks and I can count on one hand the number of tourist sites we've visited.  On the other hand, I've been to the nearby Umejenko Park almost every day, we've ridden bikes all over the city, we've cooked several dinners and breakfast each morning, and Rob and I have both been working out regularly.  It feels about as normal as life can on the road and it is just what we need right now.

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Travel Notes: The Japan Alps

Travel Notes: The Japan Alps

After leaving Tokyo, we headed northwest into the mountainous region known as the Japan Alps. We spent time in a remote village called Kijimadaira northeast of Nagano (where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held), traveled to the mountain town of Takayama by way of Morimoto Castle, and then headed west for Kanazawa.  We rode bikes in Hida, went to our first onsen at Maguse Onsen, met some macaque monkeys (or snow monkeys) in Jigokudani Yaen-koen, and ate our first soba noodles and roasted green tea ice cream.

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