Tag Archives: Freshly Pressed

Review of 2015 – Top Ten Posts

Ireland Inch Beach

As we nail down 2015, please excuse my annual self-indulgent post to begin the new year as I look back over the last one.  I have ignored the WordPress annual statement to produce my own review.

The top ten most visited posts on my Travel Blog always surprise me but then I don’t pretend to understand how search engines work.  I say visited pages rather than read because I am neither conceited enough or sufficiently naive to claim that a visit equals a read.  I know that a lot of people will arrive here by mistake and swiftly reverse back out via the escape button!

Just to go back a bit, in 2012 the site recorded 170,900 visits and I was optimistic that as I kept posting this number was just going to keep going up but then in February 2013 Google made some devastating changes to its search algorithms and the numbers halved overnight and have never fully recovered. I finished 2013 with 79,470, a decrease of 115%.

I thought it was important to keep going so in 2014 I posted 320 times and the total number of visits recorded was just over 101,000 so there was some significant recovery.  2015 has not seen the same level of improvement but there has been consolidation.  I have posted 311 times and the number of reported visits is 106,600, an increase of just 5.5%.

These are the Top Ten posts of 2015:

No. 1 

Gaudi Casa Batlo Barcelona Catalonia Spain

Catalonia, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

No change at the top this year and this post has recorded 8,715 visits which is over 3,000 more than last.  I posted this in August 2013 following a week touring Catalonia and pulling in a visit to Barcelona along the way.

I’d like to think that this is because it is a knowledgeable and scholarly assessment of Gaudi’s architectural contribution to the urban World but I think it is more likely because the image attracts visitors as it easily found in a Google search and people seem to like it because it has been copied several times!

No. 2


Royal Garden Party

5,870 hits, up from 3,300 and staying in the Top Ten for the sixth successive year which by that measure makes it my most successful post.

In total it has 17,800 visits which makes all time second after my post about  Norway, Haugesund and the Vikings. This one has been around for a long time ( since June 2009) and 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. 3

Vesuvius Naples Italy

Mount Vesuvius

This one has been around a while as well and with 1,610 hits and a fifth year in the Top Ten is becoming a stubborn stayer.  A bit of a surprise to me really 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. 4

Antoni Gaudi and me

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

A second top ten appearance again this year for the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi  (maybe I am an expert on Gaudi after all).  After I had taken a look at the official Twelve Treasures of Spain I thought it might be fun to draw up my own personal alternative list.  I included Antoni Gaudi in a general rather than a specific way.  I posted this in March 2013 and this year with 1,455 visits it has risen five places to number four.

No. 5

Angry Man Skelligs Viewpoint Kerry Ireland

Ireland, Ring of Kerry and I Temporarily Overcome My Fear of Dogs.

This is the first of this year’s new entries with a surprising 1,325 visits and no convincing explanation why that should be.

I visited Southern Ireland in June 2014 and wrote several posts that I personally would consider more interesting than this encounter with a grumpy street entertainer and a worn out old collie dog.  Once again, and rather disappointingly, I suspect it isn’t the words but the picture that grabs attention.  It was a map of the Ring of Kerry which I noticed displayed on the front of a shop.

No. 6

L'Escala Costa Brava

Catalonia, In Search of Norman Lewis

The second of this year’s new entries and I must confess that I am rather pleased about this one.

There are some posts that I have written that I would like people to read and this is one of few that have achieved that. Before visiting Catalonia in 2014 I read the book ‘Voices of the Old Sea’ by Norman Lewis which is an account of the Costa Brava in the 1940s and the approach of mass tourism.  In this post I attempted some research and some interpretation of the book and the area.  It has recorded 977 visits and in this case I like to think that this is because of the subject rather than the pictures.

No. 7

wieliczka salt mine

Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine

This post has also been a consistent performer with five years in the top ten but in terms of visits is this year’s biggest loser, down almost 3,200 hits to just 790, dropping four places from last year’s number two and if that slide continues I expect it to be gone next year.  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. 8

Benidorm Hotel Terrace c1960 

Every Picture Tells a Story – Benidorm c1960

I posted this in March 2010 and it finally made the top ten last year and I am glad to see it there for a second year. It has stayed in this year with 740 visits.   It is actually one of my personal favourites  and is a story about the Spanish seaside resort of  Benidorm inspired by some photographs that I came across of my grandparents on holiday there in about 1960.

No. 9

Volare Domenigo Modungo Polignano a Mare

Italy and Puglia, Domenico Modungo and the Eurovision Song Contest

The last of the new entries and another one that I am pleased about. This is the story of the Italian singer Domenico Modungo.   Domenico who? I hear you ask.  Well, let me tell you that Domenico is renowned for writing and performing what is claimed to be the most famous, most copied, most successful ever Eurovision Song Contest entry and most lucrative in terms of revenue, Italian popular music songs of all time.  Think about it…have you got it…

“Nel blu dipinto di blu” or most popularly known as “Volare”.  With 656 visits it has only just about crept in to the top ten but I am happy to see it there.

No. 10

Tourists The Grand Tour of Europe

Travel Journal

Seventh place with 636 hits and four years in the top ten which demonstrates the importance of an ‘About’ page.

Dropping out of the Top Ten this year are:  Moscow and Lenin’s Mausoleum, The Twelve Treasures of Spain – Seville Cathedral and Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 1,785 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.”  

On reflection, not a bad year but I still haven’t been Freshly Pressed (Discovered).  Do I care? Well, maybe a little bit!

I’d be interested to know about other people’s most popular posts in 2015 and the possible explanations why?  Comment and let me know.  I’m a sucker for statistics!


WordPress.com or WordPress.con?


Sometimes I worry about WordPress.  Is it all a big con?  Are those of us who use it, coming up with new material and spend hours preparing, reviewing and posting all collectively part of a huge high school joke?

Why do I say this?

Well consider this:

In the early hours of 30th December I received 124 hits in one hour on a post about the film ‘Shirley Valentine’ and the Greek Island of Mykonos on my archive blog ‘Another bag, more travel’ http://anotherbagmoretravel.wordpress.com/2011/12/19/the-greek-islands-mykonos-and-shirley-valentine/.

WordPress even sent me a congratulatory note to say that my hits were booming – up from an average of 3 an hour to over 130 in this short snapshot!

I was delighted of course but suspicious.  Unbelievable – that’s exactly what I thought.

What is interesting is that the film ‘film ‘Shirley Valentine’ was shown on UK television late the previous evening and the search engine terms feature seemed to suggest that this might be a factor especially when linked to the fact that most of these hits apparently came from the UK.

Of course I was almost ecstatic about this but when I checked the post I began to become sceptical.  I checked the search engine terms through Google and none of them led to my blog.  Out of 124 hits there was not a single comment, no additional likes, no clicks and no new post ratings and I find that rather strange.  124 people allegedly came to my post and not one of them left a single footprint.  Don’t you think that is odd?  Usually when I visit a post I leave a comment or a like (unless I really don’t like it) because it just seems to be good manners.  Is it possible that 124 people visited this page and none of them liked it, none of them wanted to leave a comment?  Not even to say that it was rubbish?

So now I am getting very suspicious.

This probably shouldn’t be a surprise but when I search the site I have noticed that the same few bloggers appear over and again.  Perhaps this is inevitable because, after all, I am fishing in a big pond for people and blogs with similar interests to my own, they comment on mine, I comment on theirs, they like mine and I like theirs and so on.  So where do all these other hits come from and why do they leave no apparent trail?  Maybe there are really only a couple of hundred of us here banging out daily posts and looking at each others posts, commenting and liking!

Do you think I am being paranoid, am I a conspiracy theorist?  Well now consider this:

According to WordPress stats my most popular post is https://apetcher.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/norway-haugesund-and-the-vikings/ with a massive 24,048 (well, I think it is massive) hits since I posted it on March 2nd 2011 but despite that huge number it has only 16 comments (and 6 of these are mine in response to others) and only 34 likes – just .14%!

On a second blogging site ‘New Light through Old Windows’ I have a post about the Robin (the bird not the Reliant or Batman’s pal) and WordPress tells me that it has 27,477 hits (3,000 more than the popular Vikings post on ‘Have Bag, will Travel’) and I think you will agree with me that that is a lot but this has only 9 comments and 4 of them are mine and only 13 likes (only .05% of all the people who stopped by here).

I have raised the issue with WordPress through the support forum but whilst some topics get an immediate response to all sorts of dopey questions my enquiry has been left hanging without a reply.  Somebody just got a response after 3 seconds to the question ‘features not functioning’.  Or did they? Have I uncovered something sinister?

Makes you think doesn’t it?  Are we all wasting our time?  I would be interested in your views…



Favourite Blogs of 2013

Spain Tapas Bar


I have had a really good year at the keyboard and posting my blogs but I have also enjoyed reading other work just as much.  Some catch the eye straight away, some can be found indirectly through others, some appear like shooting stars and disappear without a trace whilst some continue to get better and better.

I thought it would be nice to share with you my favourite blogs of 2013.  Seven of my favourites reappear on the list from 2012 but there are three new ones which replace some that have sadly slipped away into blogging oblivion!

Don’t panic anyone – this is not an Awards Blog so it does not come with any requirement to display anything, reveal embarrassing facts or to pass it on to anyone else.

They are in no particular order except this one, which is my favourite.  We have fallen out with each other a couple of times but I still keep going back for another spat and for more of this post about ex-pat life in Gibraltar:


Author Richard Tulloch writes about his travels:


Adrian shares his excellent pictures:


I like this one even though there seemed to be fewer posts this year:


Great pictures here from Gunta in the USA, especially the surf and the sunsets:


A lovely recollections and memories blog:


Great posts about one of my favourite countries – Portugal – and a lot more besides, including a shared obsession with windows and doors:


and then a new one for 2013 – a gentle pot-pourri of good stories from an Englisman living the good life in Turkey:


Also new for this year more travel tales from:


and finally a blog  from Canada with some excellent short stories:


Apologies if I didn’t include you in my top ten this year, it’s nothing personal and I still enjoy your posts – I will review the list at the around the same time next year!

One final thing – this is not really a blog so I can’t include it in my blogging top ten but I have to mention my friend Dai Woosnam who comments regularly on my posts and writes an excellent monthly on-line magazine full of articles, anecdotes and links called Daigressing – if you write to him at DaiW@gmx.com, then he will add you to the mailing list.

One final, final thing – if any of you in my top ten get ‘Freshly Pressed’ then you will be removed from it immediately! 


Writing Paper and Pen

Freshly Pressed


WordPress seem to go to a lot of trouble to convince users that ‘Freshly Pressed’ is fair, impartial and based on critical selection.

Consider this then from a blog page I chanced upon…

“It has been interesting to look back over 2012 to see which posts were the most popular. Bagni di Lucca and Beyond has been Freshly Pressed twice this year, which has been great fun. Thank you WordPress for choosing.”

It is a nice blog but it isn’t brilliant (sorry).

I say no more…