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My 7 Links: A Year of Travels

Select 7 of your favourite posts in different categories, and tag up to 5 of your fellow bloggers to do the same.

It may sound like a chain letter, but Tripbase’s “My 7 Links” project is a call for bloggers to showcase their best entries and connect with other writers. Two weeks ago I had my first glimpse on spunky, hilarious Candice Does The World; it was a thoughtful recap on her two years as a travel blogger.

Over the weekend, Debra from Bagni di Lucca and Beyond has kindly given me a nomination. I feel like this is a belated one-year anniversary celebration of Plus Ultra, and a look at how far it has come.

1. Most beautiful post:

Salamanca Spring: a photojournal

As much as I love to write, there are certain things that only pictures can express. The way the afternoon sun strikes the sandstone of Salamanca’s Plaza Mayor. Vivid spring flowers and verdant leaves. Gentle ripples on a languid river. This is my photographic tribute to one of Spain’s most beautiful cities – and home base for my great Iberian adventure.

2. Most popular post:

More than a Second City – Porto, Portugal.

This one was a real surprise. Just last week I logged in to find hundreds of new hits on a post that I had written back in March. Within the space of a few hours the surge in traffic had broken the previous record of daily views, an event that was very nearly repeated the following day. It’s a complete mystery as to how they found me, but Visit Portugal liked what they saw and it wasn’t long before they had this posted to their official Facebook page. Now I’m not a big believer in karma, but this may be what you get for celebrating your birthday in a swanky Portuguese restaurant just weeks beforehand…

3. Most controversial post:

Bullfighting at Las Ventas

No doubt the most controversial post I’ve ever written, and perhaps one which will not be surpassed for quite some time. Because of its subject matter it nearly didn’t make it to the (figurative) publishing table. But travelling often has the habit of pushing you outside your comfort zone – sometimes it may even force you to confront your own moral principles.

4. Most helpful post:

Valencianos love to blow things up.

I’ve been to Valencia so many times that I might as well move there. In March I attended Las Fallas for the second consecutive year, dodging kids with firecrackers and trying not to get pushed over by some very determined senior citizens (who wanted a better spot for watching the fireworks). This is my detailed account of the rambunctious, explosive festival – the perfect place to unleash your inner pyromaniac.

5. Most surprisingly successful post:

Liver Birds and Lambananas – Liverpool, England.

Liverpool still gets its share of bad press despite a major overhaul in recent years. Few people see it as a worthy destination (even though it is) and even fewer could understand why it won the bid to be European Capital of Culture in 2008. Despite the overwhelming number of Spanish entries, this is the third most-viewed post on Plus Ultra. It would have been a close second if Porto hadn’t suddenly taken the crown.

6. Most underrated post:

Chasing the Dragon, Hong Kong.

With the exception of my entry on Tai O, the posts on Hong Kong generally attract less interest. This particular entry – one of my personal favourites – is proof that age-old traditions still live on amid the dizzying concrete jungle. In spite of its iPhones, I-Banks and neon lights, Hong Kong takes its Chinese festivals very seriously.

7. Post I am most proud of:

Awestruck: the Great Mosque of Córdoba

I came very close to choosing Las Fallas: 48 Hours in Valencia as it was the post that launched this blog in earnest. But with the next Fallas-themed entry selected as the “most helpful”, I picked the one which combined my love of architecture and my first real encounter with Spain’s Moorish heritage. Like the more famous Alhambra, Córdoba’s Great Mosque is an otherworldly creation that speaks more of Morocco than Western Europe.

Passing it On

Tina’s Travelling Tales

Tina is a travel-savvy, engaging writer who is prone to waxing lyrical about that time she stumbled across one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls in Guyana or when she found herself getting stamped into the breakaway republic of Transdniestr (I’m not even going to attempt to pronounce that one).

The Pleasures of Eating

Jace’s philosophy is simple – we live to eat. Her irresistible, mouth-watering entries are not recommended on an empty stomach, especially if you live in a place with very little Asian cuisine. Based out of Hong Kong, where she covers some of the newest restaurants, Jace’s recent travels have taken her to Paris and South Korea.

the only one I’ve got

Minh is a recent graduate who has just returned from a year spent in Lyon, France, where she attended crêpe parties, hiked up the city’s hills and smelled the flowers by the Rhône. Her European travels took her to other parts of the country, as well as nearby Spain, Germany, Britain and Switzerland. Not one to stay idle, Minh has just completed a 6-week road trip across the United States.

Dakota .D Journal

Dakota is owner of one of the most beautiful photoblogs I’ve ever seen. A self-taught photographer from New Zealand, he is now living in the wine capital of  Bordeaux. From capturing the vibrant colours of Spanish cuisine, to his wistful observations on a train journey in Sicily, Dakota brings readers a stunning set of images from his European travels.

Chronicles of a year-long break-up

Gary & Ro are a formidable team from Ireland who have recently finished a Round-the-World trip via Japan, China, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and various parts of South America. Reading their entries was perhaps the driving inspiration in the early days of Plus Ultra.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Aw, thanks for making me think about my blog 😉
    Where are your travels taking you next? Please travel often and blog lots so I can live vicariously through you!

    August 3, 2011
    • You’re welcome Minh. 😀
      It looks like I will be staying put in Hong Kong for the next year or so – hopefully that means a couple of trips into China and Southeast Asia!

      August 3, 2011
      • Fantastic! Looking forward to learning more about Asia.

        August 4, 2011
  2. This is a great selection. I’m so glad you did it. I remember most of them, but there are a couple I missed and I will take another look.
    I nominated Dakota too, let’s hope we can get him to do this.
    I love your blog!

    August 3, 2011
    • Thanks again for the nomination Debra, it was great to have a look back through the archives!

      August 3, 2011
  3. tinastravellingtales #

    Aww thanks for the mention again James! I will endeavor to do the same on my blog 🙂

    August 4, 2011
    • You’re very welcome Tina, hope you liked the little blurb. 😉

      August 4, 2011
  4. A really good idea – travellers should always stick together. I like the bull fight blog, it’s on my to do list this year and I really want to go to Seville if I can find the right priced air fares.

    August 16, 2011
    • I think every aficionado of Spain or Spanish culture should see a bullfight at least once. Witnessing it firsthand is a real eye-opener – there’s something about it that speaks deeply into the Spanish psyche.

      August 16, 2011
  5. You’re such a diligent James for making this post. It was great! I love reading post with pictures on it especially when it talks about places, it makes people realize how wonderful world we have.

    September 7, 2011
  6. Que tal mi amigo James!
    Estas de viaje? hace días que no posteas 😛

    quizá hagas como yo, que posteo una o dos veces cada semana.

    Your photographs are faboulous so far. This is a great recopilation of your blog James, congrats for your work, well done. Hong Kong…me gustaría ir allí algún día, my friend 🙂

    See you!

    September 16, 2011
  7. Wooohoo! Glad to be influential, at least even in a little. 😉 What a year of travel!

    November 22, 2011
    • Well Candice, your blog is pretty darn inspiring! Thanks for dropping by. 😉

      November 22, 2011

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