Review of The Year – 2013

Writing Paper and Pen

Please excuse me a self-indulgent blog to begin the new year as I look back over the previous one.

The top ten most hit blog pages in 2013 on my Travel Blog have mostly surprised me but then I don’t understand how search engines work.  I say hit blog pages rather than read because I am neither conceited enough of sufficiently naive to claim that a hit equals a read.

In 2012 the blog recorded 170,889 hits and the upward trend continued into January and I was optimistic that this number was just going to keep going up but then Google changed their search criteria it stopped and fell back and has never recovered.  I have finished the year with less than half of the previous year total with only 79,450 hits but in November I did manage to limp past half a million in total.

These are the Top Ten blogs of 2013:

No. 1 

Krakow,  Salt Mine

Cathedral Wieliczka Salt Mine

First posted on April 6th 2010

This post is up from number 3 in 2012 to number 1 this year with 5,030 hits. I posted this in April 2010 after returning from a visit to Krakow in Poland.  It was a good trip but I am not sure why so many people would hit on it.  It is not as interesting as my trip to Auschwitz or the Crazy Mike Communist Tour.

No. 2

Mount Vesuvius

Vesuvius still smoking and active

First posted on March 25th 2010

4,220 hits and a second year in the Top Ten and up three places.  A bit of a surprise because this is the account of a day trip to Mount Vesuvius whilst on a holiday to Sorrento in 1976 with my dad.  From my memories of the same holiday I posted several blogs about visits to CapriNaplesPompeiiThe Amalfi Drive and Rome but these have only achieved a handful of hits between them.

No. 3

Moscow and Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin Mausoleum

First posted on July 6th 2012

Strait in this one at number 3 with 1,740 hits.  Cameras and mobile phones are strictly forbidden because the authorities don’t want snapshots of Comrade Lenin turning up on the internet in peoples’ Blogs or Trip Advisor reviews so they have to be left in a locker room and if anyone tries to defy this and is caught by the thorough security checks then there punishment is to be sent to the back of the queue!  It seems however that a couple of visitors have somehow sneaked a camera in and I found the pictures through Google and I assume people find my post in the same way.

No. 4

Norway, Europe’s most Expensive Country


First posted on February 15th 2011

1,510 hits – that’s about 2,000 less than the previous year but still holding on to fourth place.  This was a second blog about my trip to Haugesund in January 2011. It contains some interesting facts and figures which might explain the number of hits that it has received but I am not really convinced that this is the reason unless top European economists are using it for research purposes!

No. 5

Travel Journal 2

Fifth place with 1,060 hits and which demonstrates the importance of an About page.

No. 6

Royal Garden Party

Palace Invite 3

First posted on June 26th 2009 and therefore the oldest post in the top ten.

1,000 hits and staying in the Top Ten and up one place from number 7.  This one has always been popular especially around the Spring and Summer when invitations to the Royal Garden Party are going out and when people are wondering how to get one or what to wear if they have one.

No. 7

Travel Tips when Flying Budget Airlines

Ryanair over the Alps

First posted on August 2nd 2011.

940  hits and also going up one place.  I first wrote on this subject in 2009 and it immediately started getting hundreds of hits and then in 2011 it just stopped completely.  I reviewed and reposted it and changed the title from the specific ‘Travel Tips when Flying Ryanair’ to the more general title that it has now and hey presto the hits started coming again.

No. 8

Twelve Treasures of Spain – Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Sagrada Familia Cathedral Barcelona

First posted on March 2nd 2013 so the most recent post in the top ten so at under a year I will be interested to see what happens to this one in 2014.

With 750 posts a newcomer in the top 10 this year.  The “Twelve Treasures of the Kingdom of Spain” was a contest/poll that was conducted by the Spanish Television Company Antena 3 and the radio broadcaster Cope. The final results were announced on 31st December 2007.  I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the eight out of the twelve that I have visited.  Tenth in the competition and the final Cathedral in the list is the unfinished Gaudi masterpiece Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

No. 9

Onyx UK and an Inappropriate Visit to the Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge Naked Dancers

First posted on August 23rd 2011.

Another post devastated by Google changes and only 696 this year so dropping like a stone from number 2 to number 9. I have written a few times about my recollections of working in waste management in the private sector in the 1990s.  All of the posts manage a respectable number of hits but this one gets the most.  I don’t suppose for one minute that people are interested in my stories of mismanagement, incompetence and rubbish collection but they do like to read about dancing on a nightclub stage in Paris.

No. 10

Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius – Living on the Edge of Disaster

52 Naples

First posted on March 23rd 2013, two days before the Vesuvius post at no. 2.

This one surprised me with 690 hits and a first show in the annual top ten because it is an old post from May 2010 which only goes to show that old material sometimes has legs.

There is a famous phrase that says ‘See Naples and die!’ which originated under the Bourbon regime and means that before you die you must experience the beauty and magnificence of Naples.  Some, less charitable, now say that the city is so mad, dangerous and polluted that death might possibly be a consequence of a visit there and my post is about Vesuvius, Pollution, Pizzas and Crime!

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 1,140 others on my site ‘Have Bag, Will Travel’then thank you very much!  I guess it proves that George Bailey (It’s A Wonderful Life) was right when he said: “The three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors and train whistles.”  

Dropping out of the Top Ten this year were:  Norway, Haugesund and the Vikings,  Pula, Croatia and Onyx UK and the Dog Poo Solution


Roman Amphitheatre Pula Croatia  Dog Mess Solution

And just ‘bubbling under’ …

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni GaudiGermany, Triberg the Cuckoo Clock Capital of the WorldTwelve Treasures of Spain – Seville Cathedral and Russia, Tsars in our Eyes – The Grand Palace at Peterhof

23 responses to “Review of The Year – 2013

  1. WOW! How inspiring are those stats?! Huge congrats on capturing a massive audience. I, for one, am hooked! Looking forward to your posts in 2014.


  2. I wonder if Comrade Lenin still lies there? Have the Ukrainians got to the “bedpost”? I wonder 😀 Great posts Andrew! Oh, and I’ve asked my friend who has a dog and complains about poop-scooping to check out the picture on your blog and see that independent dogs do exist 😀


  3. Happy, and Healthy New year to you.


  4. Hi Andrew. Recently you were asking about Word Press stats and some weird ‘inconsistencies’. I’ve had a few odd things happen like that too.

    My partner Tony says that he thinks it’s caused by bots or spiders trawling through Word Press – this adds to your stats but may look like it’s boosting your readings artificially. I don’t understand the technicals of it fully (I’m not a geek!) but it may explain why Word Press is so good at SEO and doesn’t always match up high stats with the comparable number of likes and comments. What do you reckon?

    Tammy Tour Guide


  5. I don’t understand search engines either but the results ARE odd. I like to stack up numbers that add up and when they don’t I like to sort out why. In this case, I agree, it seems impossible to understand. 😛


  6. Keep up the great work, Andrew, and happy travels in 2014.


  7. My top post ie most visited continues to be olive pate from 2011, with only a few comments. It does come up on the first google search page in first position though, and has an inviting title – quick, cheap, easy and excellent. It’s got more than 8000 views. To my utter surprise.

    After that, they drop down into the hundreds, and the next most popular post, as you would expect 😀 is my about page. Then all the other pages come after that. I’m wondering if I should do a blog of nothing but pages!


    • I remain very sceptical about the statistics. Look at this from – is ranked 18 in the world (among the 30 million domains), a low rank means that this website gets lots of visitors. This site is estimated worth $30522655341USD.
      I must take a look at your top post and give it another hit!


  8. Great post Andrew! Isn’t it fascinating how these statistics shift from year to year. I loved your Twelve Treasures of Spain post and am glad to see it made your top 10. And I read your excellent Krakow Salt Mine post before visiting. Now I can see I have a lot of fun catching up to do. Happy New Year! ~Terri


    • What gets attention and what doesn’t never fails to surprise me and the fact that some older posts continue to get page hits. What has been your most popular? And did you like the Krakow salt mine?


      • Andrew, our two most popular posts are Monopoly: Gotta Love Baltic Avenue which I wrote for a trip to the Baltic region in September of 2012 and Savannah’s Tiny Cottages: Total Charm in 300 Square Feet. I think both posts tapped into some kind of nostalgia. And yes we loved the salt mine – your post was our inspiration to go. Thanks. ~Terri


  9. Any monopoly is bad and Google’s monopoly too.


  10. We were in Sintra and then traveled in region between Coimbra and Monsanto. Overall mileage is 1.500 km.


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