Tag Archives: Lenin

Review of the Year – 2014

Ireland Inch Beach

As we nail down 2014, 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 back 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 have posted 320 times and the total number of visits is recorded as just over 101,000 so there has been some significant recovery.  My other companion blogs, Scrap Book Project and Another Bag More Travel have recorded about 105,000 hits between them.

Interestingly, WordPress statistics reports are consistently lower than third party statistics counters but I am reporting here on the official site numbers.

These are the Top Ten posts of 2014:

No. 1 

Casa Batlo Barcelona Gaudi

Catalonia, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

A newcomer to the top ten and straight in at number 1 with 5,430 visits.  I posted this in August 2013 following a week touring Catalonia in the North-East of Spain 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 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

Cathedral Wieliczka Salt Mine

Krakow, Wieliczka Salt Mine

This post is down from number 1 in 2013 to number 2 this year with 4,010 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.  Once again it is probably the image but interest in this post however is on the slide because someone stole the image and their version of it now comes up before mine in a Google search.  How annoying is that!

No. 3

Buckingham Palace 1

Royal Garden Party

3,300 hits, staying in the Top Ten and up three places from number 6 represents a very successful year for this post.  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. I think people assume that I have connections with the Royal Family and can be of some assistance.

No. 4

Lenin Mausoleum

Moscow and Lenin’s Mausoleum

This post stays in the Top 10 for a second year with 2,225 visits after an original posting in July 2012.  Cameras and mobile phones are strictly forbidden inside the Mausoleum because the Russian authorities don’t want snapshots of the great man turning up on the internet in people’s 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!  I shamelessly stole this one – well, people steal mine!

No. 5

Vesuvius the crater

Mount Vesuvius

1,330  hits and a fourth year in the Top Ten but dropping three places and presently running out of steam.  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. 6

Andalusia 196 Seville Cathedral

The Twelve Treasures of Spain – Seville Cathedral

This year’s second new entry with 1,050 visits.  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.  Third in the competition was the mighty Spanish Cathedral in Seville, Andalusia..

No. 7

Travel Journal 2

Travel Journal

Seventh place with 1,005  hits which demonstrates the importance of an ‘About’ page.

Completing the Top 10 this year are three more newcomers:

No. 8

Ballyvaughan Ireland

Weekly Photo Challenge – Signs

I try and regularly take part in the Weekly Photo Challenge and often use it to provide a link to an older post.  I get a respectable amount of visits but they are rather like a Mayfly and only live for a day but for some reason this one has just kept on going.  Only posted in October 2014 it has attracted 905 visits and has muscled its way into the top 10.  It is a signpost in the village of Ballyvaughan in Southern Ireland and I can think of no reason why it has been so successful.

No. 9

Antoni Gaudi and me

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

A second top 10 appearance 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 it has made its way into the top 10 with 820 hits.

No. 10

Benidorm Bar c1960

Every Picture Tells a Story – Benidorm c1960

I posted this in March 2010 so it has taken a long time to get to the top 10.  It is actually one of my personal favourites.  It has crept in this year with 765 visits but I have no explanation about why it should suddenly spike like that!  It 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.

Dropping out of the Top Ten this year were:  Norway, Europe’s most Expensive Country, Travel Tips when Flying Budget Airlines, Danger in Naples, Camorra, Vesuvius and Pollution, Onyx UK  and an Inappropriate Visit to the Moulin Rouge and Twelve Treasures of Spain – Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

If you have read one of these posts or any of the 1,475 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.”  

I’d be interested to know about other people’s most popular posts in 2014 and the possible explanations why?  Comment and let me know.  I’m a sucker for statistics!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Containers

Lenin Mausoleum

Queuing up like this to spend a few seconds looking at a mummified corpse might seem like a strange thing to do but I was fascinated to be able to do this and to be able to see for myself one of the men who shaped the twentieth century and the cold war world of my childhood – a world of spies and espionage, nuclear weapons, underground fallout shelters for the great and the good and the constant nagging fear of Armageddon.  Of course I wanted to see him, I’d go and see the preserved body of Adolf Hitler if someone hadn’t poured petrol on it and set it alight!

Read the full story…

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

epcot-norway-viking

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

Vikings

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

More Garibaldi – Giuseppe v Lenin

Lenin

Fellow Blogger, Richard Tulloch said:                                                                                  “I’ve still seen more statues of Lenin than of anybody else, though not all of them so proudly displayed as Garibaldi is.”

Is he right?

If this were a boxing match then they would both be in the red corner of course.

During the Soviet period, many statues of Lenin were erected across Eastern Europe but many of the statues have subsequently been removed.  Russian lawmakers from the ruling United Russia party and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) have agreed a proposal to remove all statues of Lenin from Russian cities, citing high maintenance costs and vandalism concerns as some of the main reasons. Not surprisingly the proposal is being strongly opposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Another one bites the dust… Kiev, December 2013:

Lenin Deposed

Read the full story…

And when (if) you come back be sure to drop by this post by Richard …

http://richardtullochwriter.com/2010/06/12/cesis-latvia-where-lenin-is-lying-in-crate/

More Garibaldi – Giuseppe and Others…

Giuseppe Garibaldi Molfetta Puglia Italy

A few posts ago I speculated on whether Giuseppe Garibaldi may be the most celebrated secular man ever to be recreated in statue form across the World and I thought then, before declaring him the outright winner,  that it may be appropriate to take a look at the other contenders.

Some have gone already as they have been airbrushed out of history because surely the public likenesses of Lenin, Stalin, Franco, Tito and Napoleon Bonaparte would have challenged for this accolade and some will have their likenesses in bronze and stone but perhaps in a more limited way and I include here Nelson Mandela, Kemal Ataturk and Don Quixote.

La Colonne de la Grande Armée Boulogne France

So, where does that lead me?  There is no definite list as I can see but here are my suggestions for the top 5:

  1. My favourite – Garibaldi (of course)
  2. The first American President – George Washington.
  3. Another American President  – Abraham Lincoln
  4. The hero of Indian independence – Mahatma Ghandi
  5. Britain’s greatest ever hero – Winston Churchill

These are just my thoughts and I would be pleased to receive any alternative suggestions in your comments.

Mount Rushmore

Russia, Lenin’s Mausoleum

Lenin, Rotting Corpse or Waxwork…

It was quite an early start this morning because our first visit of the day was to the Lenin Mausoleum in Red Square and we were warned that there was a strong possibility of long queues.

Since Perestroika fewer Russian people bother to visit the permanently preserved body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin lying in State in his glass coffin but there are still large visitor numbers every day which are swollen by several dozen coach loads of tourists because this is now a top Moscow mawkish visitor attraction.

Visiting the Lenin Mausoleum…

It is only open for four days a week and the opening hours are short so if you get there too late then it is possible to line up for an hour or two and then reach the front of the queue only to coincide with closing time and be turned away so Galina was mindful of this when she hurried us from the coach and to the back of the queue lining up at the entrance to Red Square.

It wasn’t a long queue but the army guards on duty only allowed a few people through at a time and this was only to go through the first check point to get to a second three hundred metres in front.  This meant that progress was tediously slow and it was about now that we discovered that Russian people are equally as bad as French or Greeks when it comes to line discipline and waiting times didn’t really matter to them so we had to be on our guard to make sure people didn’t push in.

Eventually it was our turn to go through the gate in the metal security fence and we made our way to the more rigorous checkpoint at the entrance to the mausoleum gardens.  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 their punishment is to be sent to the back of the queue to start lining up all over again!

Sticking to the rules we got through without incident and made our way past the gardens with their memorials and wall plaques commemorating the lives of previous Soviet leaders and monsters and dubious heroes of the USSR and approached the mausoleum where there was a third and final check by army guards before being allowed to go through the entrance.

There was bright sunshine in Red Square but inside it was dark and gloomy so because of the contrast it took our eyes a while to adjust and this was rather dangerous because almost immediately we had to follow some black dog-leg marble stairs down into the underground chamber where Lenin is lying in his glass tomb.

Lenin, Lying In State – Forever…

It is quite common of course for World leaders, heroes and famous people to lie in State in this way so that the public can pay their last respects but usually it is only for a few days until a proper funeral can be arranged but poor old Vladimir Ilyich Lenin has suffered the indignity of being on continuous display in this way for almost ninety years!

Exhibiting his body like this was totally against his wishes and those of his family but his successor Stalin overruled this and when he was satisfied that the preservation process had been successful arranged for him to go on permanent display with what I detected as “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” sort of look on his troubled and chemically embalmed face.

Lenin Mausoleum

Queuing up like this to spend a few seconds looking at a mummified corpse might seem like a strange thing to do but I was fascinated to be able to do this and to be able to see for myself one of the men who shaped the twentieth century and the cold war world of my childhood – a world of spies and espionage, nuclear weapons, underground fallout shelters for the great and the good and the constant nagging fear of Armageddon.

Of course I wanted to see him, I’d go and see the preserved body of Adolf Hitler if someone hadn’t poured petrol on it and set it alight!

When Lenin died in January 1924 he was acclaimed as ‘the greatest genius of mankind’ and ‘the leader and teacher of the people’s of the whole world’.  Time Magazine named him one of the one hundred most important people of the twentieth century (Albert Einstein was first and Mahatma Ghandi and Theodore Roosevelt close runners-up).  According to the article in Encyclopaedia Britannica: ‘If the Bolshevik Revolution is, as some people have called it, the most significant political event of the twentieth century, then Lenin must for good or ill be considered the century’s most significant political leader… he has been regarded as both the greatest revolutionary leader and revolutionary statesman in history, as well as the greatest revolutionary thinker since Marx’.

Lenin's Mausoleum

The Statue Legacy of Lenin…

Russia chooses to continue to remember Lenin in this way where elsewhere the legacy is being systematically dismantled. During the Soviet period, many statues of Lenin  were erected across Eastern Europe but many of these have subsequently been removed.  Russian lawmakers from the ruling United Russia party and the opposition Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) have agreed a proposal to remove all statues of Lenin from Russian cities, citing high maintenance costs and vandalism concerns as some of the main reasons. The proposal is being strongly opposed by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

Many places and entities were named in honour of Lenin. The city of Saint Petersburg, the site where both February and October revolutions started, was renamed Leningrad in 1924, four days after Lenin’s death but in 1991 after a contested vote between Communists and liberals, the Leningrad government reverted the city’s name to Saint Petersburg.

For a man responsible for the revolution and its legacy and the bloody elimination of the Romanovs he looked paradoxically rather gentle lying there with outstretched arms, one clenched in continuous communist defiance, in his black suit and favourite white spotted tie, his carefully groomed ginger beard and a slightly yellowing skin.

The body is removed every few months for running repairs, the application of more preservation chemicals and to be fitted up in a new suit.  There are rumours, stridently denied by the authorities, that this isn’t the body of Lenin at all and that the preservation process owes more to Madame Tussauds than the skill of the laboratory embalmer but it would be impossible to do a detailed investigation or stop for a while and look for waxy evidence because if anyone pauses for even a moment there is a guard in the room who immediately instructs them to move on and this means that time in the chamber is no longer than a few seconds before ascending the stairs on the opposite side and emerging blinking back into the sunlight.

We left the mausoleum gardens and went back into Red Square and went to get our cameras.  This meant going back out of the security fencing and once I had retrieved our property was refused entry back inside without going through the queuing up and security process all over again all of which seemed a bit unnecessary but appeared rather dangerous to argue with the armed guards and thankfully it didn’t take too long.