Renae & Dwayne Knowles

Renae and Dwayne Knowles

Renae & Dwayne Knowles

Obviously we love to travel - who doesn't?!!.

Each traveller has their own style and I describe them in three styles - McDonalds, Cafe & Degustation.
1) McDonald's - country hopping in a drive thru fashion
2) Cafe - choosing a smaller region to linger and explore
3) Degustation - choosing a town and living like a local

Our travel style is Cafe - choosing a smaller region to explore and soak up the atmosphere in. I like to journal my experiences and thoughts and share them with friends and family. And I like to revisit the memories once we're home, reading and reminiscing on what we shared.

I hope you enjoy reading our tales as much as I enjoy writing them, and the ultimate joy for us would be that you find inspiration and ideas for your own trip.

Asia » Hong Kong June 6th 2018

Wednesday, 30 May – Hong Kong via Doha The abominable flight from Athens to Doha, which left at 01:15 in the morning and landed 6 hours later, was mostly bearable thanks to the lie flat seats on Qatar. Their business seat is definitely the best of the airlines we’ve sampled. We only wish it had been a longer flight because 3hrs sleep isn’t long enough for anyone and due to the lateness of the flight, neither of us felt interested in sampling the dining menu. Regardless, we landed at Doha and relaxed in the absolutely massive lounge, was disappointed in the quality of the restaurant, loved the showers and set off for Hong Kong. Flight to Hong Kong was 7.5hrs so we ate and again was not really that impressed with the breakfast and lunch menu ... read more
Peak tram to Victoria Peak
Hong Kong
Interesting cloud formation

Europe » Greece » North Aegean June 5th 2018

Friday, 18 May – Santorini, Cyclades (Greek Islands) The trip from Lucerne to Zurich Airport by train was pretty, and we thought it was quite cool that they had a train that went direct to the airport from half way across the country. Those Swiss have thought of everything! The flight from Zurich to Santorini was scenic as we flew over the Italian and Austrian Alps, Venice and down the Croatian coastline. I really liked the fact that the captain did the welcome in person at the front of the cabin prior to departure, and provided intermittent sightseeing tips along the way. Things like “Ladies and Gentlemen, if you are in the right side of the plane you will see that we’re flying over the Croatian Islands, with Split coming up. On the left you’ll get ... read more
Santorini caldera
Greek windmill on Santorini
View from Oia, Santorini

Europe » Switzerland May 23rd 2018

Tuesday, 8 May – Bern Today was a strike day on the French rail networks but luckily for us, our train was one of 3 that ran that day (out of a usual 8). The ride to Switzerland was smooth and scenic as we shot past French villages, green pastures and pretty woodlands. The architecture morphed from classic French to Swiss chalets and before long we were pulling in to Basel. We collected our half fare cards and were soon on our way to Bern. Dwayne and I have never been to Bern but I’d heard good things about it and I’m glad we did. As one expects from Switzerland, it’s picture-perfect postcard. The capital city is surrounded by snow-capped mountains and a mesmerising turquoise river that gets its colour from the glacial flour in the ... read more
Bern at lunch time
Vegetable Rosti
Bern bears

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris May 15th 2018

Friday, 4 May – Paris Rose arrived in Paris, Mum and Dad went to Versailles for the day, we went to the Louvre. Unfortunately the Egyptian rooms were closed, so after seeing a Sphinx we wandered into the Mesopotamia rooms instead. This was a series of amazing exhibits with artefacts from Ninevah, Babylon and Persia – many of them in better condition than Roman and Greek artefacts despite being 10 times older. Two rooms in particular were phenomenal – the Babylon palace and Darius’s palace. The statues in the Babylon palace were incredibly preserved for their age and the glazed coloured tiles from Darius’s palace were also incredibly preserved and vibrant in colour for being thousands of years old. It was good to be able to tie it in to what I’ve read in the Bible ... read more
Egyptian Sphinx - 2600BC
Code of Hammurabi - Babylonian code of law from 1754BC
Assyrian Palace - 713BC

Europe » France » Upper Normandy May 6th 2018

Wednesday, 25 April – ANZAC Day Centenary Dawn Service, Villers-Brettoneaux 1am is a horrible time to get up, but it was a necessary evil to make the dawn service. It was the big Centenary celebration – the 2nd biggest Aussie pilgrimage behind Gallipoli – and we’d been told that security would be tight and that if we aren’t in and seated by 4.45am, we would miss out. By 1.20am we were hooting along tiny French lanes to our parking area, followed by a pleasant 1.7km walk to the memorial site. All you could see on the road was silent pilgrims making their way to the hill. The fields surrounding the monument lay cold and silent in darkness, hoarding their secrets and bodies from the past. Security was tight but we were seated by 2.45am. Thankfully, the ... read more
We laid flowers
The walk back to our car after the service
The view from the Australian War Memorial tower

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Bordeaux April 30th 2018

Friday, 20 April – Bordeaux, France We boarded a bus for the French border and again admired the green, mountainous region of norther Spain as we journeyed to San Sebastian and the border town of Irun, Spain. From there we caught the metro from one side of the river to the other, depositing us in Hendaya, France. We purchased our TGV tickets, having just missed a connection by 1 minute, so with the wait of 45 minutes I found a boulangerie (bakery), had my first real chocolate éclair and munched on our lunch until the train came. We were expecting a bullet train and whilst the train was, the ride was not. Disappointingly, we never got above 120kph on the standard rails. 3hrs later we arrived in Bordeaux and instantly loved it. Sandstone buildings, wrought iron ... read more
The view from our window in Bordeaux
Bordeaux markets
Ponte Pierre over the Garonne River

Europe » Spain » Galicia April 22nd 2018

Sabbath, 14 April – Santiago de Compostela, Spain It was an overcast day for a change, so we slept in and then wandered around Santiago de Compostela. This is the end of the famous Camino Trail – a traditional pilgrimage originated in the 9th century by Christians to the alleged burial place of St James (son of Zebedee, brother of John). It is highly unlikely that he is buried here, given he was beheaded in Jerusalem in AD44, but local tradition says his body was brought here after his death so people believed it and followed. These days, many pilgrims are less interested in the religious aspect of the trail and more interested in challenging themselves or taking time out to reflect and find perspective. The old town has a distinct French/British feel to it, with ... read more
The end of the Camino Trail
A Galician wedding
The stressed florist hurries past with the bridal entry arch

Europe » Portugal April 14th 2018

Friday 6 April – Batalha It was a transit day and you know what that means? Rain…and plenty of it. We left Lisbon under threatening clouds and made our way to a magical kingdom called Sintra. This town was the summer retreat for Portuguese nobility and is famous for at least 8 castles and a landscape that feels overgrown with old, crooked trees and an overdose of thick moss and enchanting views. The walls that divide property or mark a paddock, are made of stone, similar to those found in England and Scotland. Against the backdrop of eerie forest, the rough grey stone adds to the feeling of age. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Rain started just out of Lisbon and continued well into Sintra. We went to our chosen castle which was the most ... read more
Walls of Obidos
Gotta love the 30-foot drop off the wall on the left!
View from Obidos

Europe » Portugal » Lisboa April 9th 2018

Monday, 2 April – Lisbon, Portugal We picked up a car at the Seville train station and drove to Lisbon, through what was a scenic drive. There landscape leaving Seville was hills and trees, and about 1.5hrs north the trees stopped on an invisible line and paved the way for endless km’s of farming fields. We turned off the main highway at that point and headed west to Portugal. The scenery only got more charming with super green hills, lots of small dams and farming animals dotted amongst huge tree groves. We think they were olives but unlike Spain where the olives are in neat rows and the ground is dirt, in Portugal they are left to grow naturally so they cover the landscape in an ad hoc fashion and have the loveliest green carpet of ... read more
Portuguese countryside after crossing the border
Cromeleque dos Almendres (their version of Stonehenge)
25 April bridge, crossing over into Lisbon. It was the Golden Gate we never got to see!

Europe » Spain » Andalusia April 2nd 2018

Monday, 26 March – Granada It is so good to be in Spain after our time in Morocco! We’ve never been to this part of Spain before but just being on the European continent is like coming home. Most people in Granada speak or at least understand English so getting around has been easier than anticipated. The streets are clean, every dog and cat has an owner, the buildings are pretty and shop owners don’t bug us to come inside and look at their wares. Having said that, Granada is an interesting mix of Berber and Spanish influences. There are lots of shops selling Moroccan stuff as well as every second restaurant offering tajines and couscous. Our apartment is on Calle Elvira (Calle means street), only 50m away from Puerta del Elvira (Elvira Gate). This gate ... read more
One of the herb shops - if you look closely you'll see Cannabis tea!
Alhambra during the day, with the Sierra Nevada range in the background

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