How We Balance Down Time and Tourism

Have you ever felt more tired after a vacation? We sure have!

Being on the road we are constantly in new places with new sights to see and it is easy to fall into the habit of constantly go-go-going. We have found that it is important to balance the continual urge to see it all with the need for down time. Much like being at home, we sometimes need breaks during the day, relaxing evening, a good night sleep, and “weekends” to unwind from a week of doing.  

 Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach, Vík, Iclenad, 2016
Relaxing on the Black Sand Beach, Vík, Iclenad, 2016

We have learned how significant regular breaks during the day can be. Not only do we get to rest our feet, but we get to rest our minds. An easy way for us to do this is to find a café, have a cup of coffee, and people watch. Sitting in silence and letting our mind slow down gives us a second wind for more sight-seeing. 

 Coffee Date. Oslo, Norway, 2016
Coffee Date. Oslo, Norway, 2016

Every night cannot be a night on the town.  Sometimes the best remedy for a long day is a relaxing evening. Dive into a good book, relax in a park, binge watch a tv show, or even nodding off into an early sleep. 

 Kevin relaxing while listening to a good book. Ålä, Sweden, 2016
Kevin relaxing while listening to a good book. Ålä, Sweden, 2016

Another way we have learned to balance our downtime with our tourism is by allowing ourselves to not set wakeup alarms and simply sleeping in. Before traveling the world, we always heard how not getting enough sleep can effect many aspects of your life and it is very true. A good night’s sleep is essential for a good day of sight-seeing.

 Seeing the sights after a good night sleep. Iceland, 2016
Seeing the sights after a good night sleep. Iceland, 2016

Too many consecutive days of being on the go can lead to getting burnt out. After a few weeks of not having a day off from traveling and sight seeing it was time for us to take a weekend. Two consecutive days of hanging around with nothing planned was pure bliss. It reinvigorated us. From that point on we decided that allowing ourselves to have weekends was one of the most important ways of balancing downtime with our tourism. 

 Enjoying a weekend with nothing planned. Copenhagen, Denmark
Enjoying a weekend with nothing planned. Copenhagen, Denmark

We had to let go of being on a schedule to see everything, rather, experience the place we are visiting. A good way to do this is to balance being a tourist with simple being someone living on the move.     

We are two en route for balanced travel.

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Stockholm’s Underground Art Scene

Stockholm claims the title “Capital of Scandinavia.”  It is the largest city with some of the most beautiful architecture and has an extensive collection of galleried art. However, did you know some of the most fascinating art can be found underground? You literally have to go under the city and into the subways to find it. 

On our first trip into the subway, when we arrived into Stockholm, we noticed something was different. The walls were alive with interest. From that moment, we decided to do a little research and found out that 90% of Stockholm’s subway stations host some of the coolest and most unique works of art. A few days into our stay we decided to hop from station to station to feast our eyes on more. Here are a few of our favorites. Enjoy!

 Stadion Station - Red Line
Stadion Station – Red Line
 Stadion Station - Red Line
Stadion Station – Red Line
 Hötorget Station - Green Line
Hötorget Station – Green Line
 T-Centralen Station - Blue Line
T-Centralen Station – Blue Line
 T-Centralen Station - Blue Line
T-Centralen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Stadshagen Station - Blue Line
Stadshagen Station – Blue Line
 Kungsträdgården Station - Blue Line
Kungsträdgården Station – Blue Line
 Kungsträdgården Station - Blue Line
Kungsträdgården Station – Blue Line

We are two en route to explore more underground art. 

7 of Our Favorite Churches around Iceland

As we spent the last week driving around the entire country of Iceland, which is about as big as the state of Ohio, we noticed that everywhere we looked we saw a church. It kind of felt like we were back home in Texas. No matter how big or small the town we were in, there a church stood. Here are 7 of our favorite churches around Iceland.  

1. Búðir

Búðir is a small church located in the west of Iceland. It was completed in 1847 and stands at the end of a peninsula with the ocean to one side and mountains to the other. We love how it is painted black which sets it off from the colorful background of nature. 

2. Stykkishólmskirkja

This church is very modern in the rustic port town of Stykkishólmur. The swooping bell tower is representative of a whale’s vertebra. Inside is a fantastic painting of Madonna. The ceiling sparkles with hundreds of exposed hanging Edison style light bulbs. 

3. Siglufjarðarkirkja

Not only is this a spectacular church with parts of it’s history dating back to the 16th century, it also doubles as the towns high school. The church is in the town of Siglufjörður which sits in a beautiful Fjörd. 

4. Akureyrarkirkj

The Church of Akureyri is in the center of town on top of a hill. When we ascended the steps the church began to become even grander. As we walked through the door we noticed refreshing modern stain glass windows and nods to Iceland’s Nordic history all around. 

5. Seyðisfjörður Kirkjan

What makes this church one of our favorites was the unique powder blue color. Seyðisfjörður is located in the north east of Iceland nestled in a fjörd. This vibrant city and unique church is a must see. 

6. Hellnar Church

Not at all a famous church or even a church that is the center of attention. What caught our eye is how this church shows the wear time has on a building. Located in Hellnar, an other fishing town in the west of Iceland, this church sits off by itself serving as a constant reminder of time. 

7. Hallgrimskirkja

Probably Iceland’s most iconic church, Hallgrimskirkja is at the center of Reykjavik. The design of this church is supposed to be symbolic of the basalts you see coming out of the ocean onto the coast from around the country. It connects with the heart of Iceland’s volcanic history.

From the spectacular displays of nature to the man made structures, we can not get enough of Iceland!

We are two en route to explore Iceland’s churches