Welcome to Dodgy Knees
Welcome to Dodgy Knees Travel Blog. We spent 2016 and the first half of 2017 traveling through the Western Hemisphere - South, Central and North America and the Caribbean. The last part of the trip, through May and June 2017 was a trip from Amsterdam to Athens in Europe before returning to Australia.
We started in South America in January 2016. The posts on this page are in the order of our travels with the most recent at the top. There is also information about us towards the bottom of this page and in the sidebar on the right. We hope you find it interesting. If you do, feel free to sign up for our monthly email updates.
Ken and Cally Hardaker
Posts from Europe
This pictorial post consists of some of our favourite shots taken while travelling around Italy during late May and early June 2017. On the trip we visited Trieste, Florence, Rome (chiefly the Vatican), Syracuse in Sicily and Naples (including Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast).
The Path of the Gods (Sentiero degli Dei) is a walking trail that runs along the monumental cliffs of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. It is 6 kilometres of some of the most spectacular coastal scenery you’re likely to see anywhere in the world.
We were keen to do the walk, which takes 2 – 3 hours, and to do it as a day trip from Naples where we were based. This post describes how we went about it and some comments on the walk.
This was our first visit to Malta. Ken’s dad, Don had moved there two years ago so our main motivation for the trip was to see him. We had just four days there but learned a lot about this small and fascinating island nation in that time. It has a very complex and interesting history along with a few quirky features that make it like no other Mediterranean destination.
Here are ten things we learned during our stay that helped to make it so enjoyable.
How can you be in Italy, yet not be in Italy? OK, so smarty pants people will immediately say “the Vatican”, and yes they are correct. But what about another country? What about tiny San Marino, embedded in the north east of Italy? It's full title is "The Most Serene Republic of San Marino". At only 61 square kms it’s one of Europe’s smallest nations. We felt that we just had to pay it a visit.
Slovenia is a small, fascinating and beautiful country in south east Europe. It has rugged mountains, a tiny Mediterranean coast, and spectacular lakes, and throughout its landscape are scenic and historic towns and villages. We spent some very full and rewarding days visiting some old friends who showed us around their interesting and friendly country.
This post covers a trip from Amsterdam to Salzburg in Austria through some iconic European cities and a couple of less well known places. The post is largely images, many of which will be familiar, such as the canals of Amsterdam, architecture of Bruges and mountains and castle of Salzburg.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, is an interesting and attractive city. There is Viking history, world famous art, ancient castles, and excellent parks, just to name a few possibilities. But Oslo can be an expensive city, one of the costliest to visit in Europe. While you won’t get by without spending any money, here are five things to do in Oslo that are affordable for most people and represent some of Oslo’s main attractions.
Posts from USA and Canada
After our time in Central America we headed for USA and Canada. We started with a road trip from Los Angeles to New York and then back to LA. Next was a trip to Alaska to see the Northern Lights and the amazing Alaskan landscape.
Special Post, A Travel Memoir from 2011 - A Weekend in São Tomé
For over 20 years I'd dreamed of visiting the obscure, tiny African nation of São Tomé and Principé. In 2011 the chance finally came, but missed flights and an overly officious immigration offical almost prevented it. Here's the story of what happened.
Posts from Central America and Mexico
Having completed our travels through the Caribbean which started in Aruba and ended in Cuba we flew to Panama City to commence our trip through Central America. We planned to travel from Panama City to Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico then back down through Belize to reenter Guatemala and Honduras before making our way up through Mexico heading eventually to the US and Canada in early 2017. Here are our posts from the trip.
Cuba is currently one of the World's 'must visit' travel destinations. With 3 - 4 million visitors each year it is not exactly undiscovered. But that doesn't stop it being a fascinating and unique place. We were keen to see for ourselves and so spent two weeks there. Cuba is bigger than you may think (around 1200 km long) so we decided to restrict our travels to the west of the island. We visited Havana, Cienfuegos, Trinidad and Viñales.
At the end of the trip we reflected upon our time in Cuba and put together our post Impressions of Cuba along with some useful tips. This is our first post on Cuba. In addition we are posting four “Postcards” from Cuba on each of the places we visited. These are largely photo posts as our main information about Cuba is contatined in the Impressions of Cuba post. We hope you find them interesting.
Oh yes, and our advice overall - VISIT CUBA!!
After just over four months travelling through South America (Jan to May 2016) we embarked on a three and a half month trip through the Caribbean (mid May to the end of August). We started in Aruba and Curaçao in the SW, just to the north of Venezuela, then headed across to Barbados, in the Windward Islands. From there we island hopped (by boat or plane) through the Windwards, French Antilles, Leeward Islands, the British and US Virgin Islands, then on to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and finally Jamaica.
Caribbean island hopping is usually associated with private yachting trips or expensive cruises. We'd aimed to show that it was doable on a modest, mid-range budget (i.e. a maximum of $AUS300/$US220 per day for a couple, inclusive of all accommodation, meals, transport and activities).
In our final post from the Caribbean we tell you how we went and we also provide our top tips for Caribbean Island hopping on a mid-range budget.
Hi, We're Ken and Cally Hardaker. We're 50 something empty nesters who love travelling. But when we're not on the road we are at home in, Australia - a fabulous place to live.
We're going to spend 2016 having a Gap Year travelling through South, Central and North America and the Caribbean. If you want to follow or travels or to know about past adventures in Tassie and beyond you might find our blog of interest.
This is a new blog being launched January 2016. We've put in some posts of past travels to give you an idea of where we've been so far and also a feel for the style.
We'll be building the blog as we go, regularly adding content through out our travels. And while we hope you will find these interesting we also want to hear from other travellers with tips and stories of their travels.
The central message of our blog is that older travellers (we've called this the 50 and overs for want of a better description) can travel independently, just as younger travellers do. With a bit of planning and a few handy tools, you can do it on a budget, and go to places you thought you could only go to on an organised group trip.
If you fill in the email contact box on the right we'll keep you posted. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram and this way receive updates in real time.
We have found that a lot of people our age think that traveling independently, especially to places outside of Western Europe, North America of other obvious tourist locations (such as Fiji and Bali) is risky and difficult.
And while a little more planning is needed at times to visit more remote or less developed countries it is quite doable and opens up so many possibilities for travel. In our blog we'll provide some information about how we approach planning for our trips as well as blog posts on a wide range of destinations.
Tasmania is Australia's smallest state and an island. It has some of the best bushwalking and wilderness in the world. It also has a growing reputation as a clean, green location with excellent food and wine. On top of that it has some world class places to visit including Cradle Mountain, Wine Glass Bay, Port Arthur, the Bay of Fires and MONA (Museum of Old and New Art). When we're not traveling we'll write about Tassie and some of our favourite places.