Every now and again, blog post roundups take the travel blogging world by storm. We don’t participate often, but when we were nominated by Women on the Road to share our Best Dozen Posts of 2012, it seemed like a great way to reflect on the last year. Especially since we officially just celebrated our one year blogaversary of the launch of JdombsTravels.com. So here are our Best Dozen Posts of 2012:
1. Most Popular Post
One of the great things about living so close to Venice is discovering all the best festivals that you’ve never heard of. Perhaps that’s why our post on the Festa del Redentore was our most popular post in 2012. I discovered the festival back in 2010 when I spent six month exploring all the off-the-beaten-path towns and festivals in Italy. Venetians are still celebrating the end of the plague in a massive party culminating in a 45-minute long firework display. We now go every year.
2. Most Helpful Travel Tip
After near daily messages from readers, I compiled all my best tips for Easy Ways to Save on Your Next Flight into one post. Tips like when the best time to search for flights, when sales are released, and how to use split fares (one of my favorite ways ever to save BIG) gave the Festa del Rendentore post a run for its’ money.
We’d been living in Italy for nearly three years before we had our first meal at an agriturismo. Just a few weeks after our first visit to one just outside of San Gimignano, we were driving to the beach and Tim nearly put us into a ditch to turn around for lunch at another agriturismo near our house. We loved the food THAT much and I just had to write about the Home Cooked Deliciousness found at Agriturismos!
4. A Post I Thought Was Underrated
Everyone has stood on the Rialto and visited San Marco in Venice. Don’t get me wrong. These spots are beautiful and must sees in Venice, but I can only take so much of elbowing my way through the crowd. My absolute favorite spots are off-the-beaten-path and I shared how I Discovered Venice Like a Local on a cicchetti tour through hidden Venice. Doesn’t everyone want to find the best places to eat in Venice on the cheap without fighting a crowd?
I wrote about how Plitvice Lakes Let Me Down and man, oh, man did I ignite a fire on our Facebook page! I don’t announce very often that Tim is in the military and we’re part of a military community at Aviano Air Base. Plitvice is probably one of the top visited attractions by the military community here and everyone is always raving about it. We found it overcrowded and, quite frankly, have seen far more spectacular places. It’s just our opinion and as I always say on this blog, we give it to you straight and all opinions are entirely our own!
6. Most Amusing
We made it 363 days without any major travel mishaps. And then we (well, Tim) filled our SADCars Landcruiser with gasoline. It was a diesel engine. Whoops! A tow and $250 later I wrote about how we are dumbasses in Our Biggest Travel Mishap of 2012…and prayed SADCars wouldn’t take back the Landcruiser they had so generously provided us complimentary for our trip.
7. The Post I’m Most Proud Of
I dished about why I originally started our blog, first called Living in Italy, a little more than three years ago and how I never imagined it would evolve into what it did. I’m most proud of the post How We’re Helping Military Overseas Travel because we’ve been able to help a lot of people get out and see things they might not otherwise have and even sent one military family to Vienna over Thanksgiving!
8. Best Travel Story or Travel Perspective
Imagine living in a city that became a prison; a city with no escape where you fear for your life every second of every day. Imagine that hundreds of shells from machine gun fire raining down as rockets lit up the sky was part of normal daily life. That snipers were just waiting for you to step outside as you got in line for a ration of bread and water. That all resources including electricity, food, and water had been cut off from the city you called home. That you helplessly watched friends, family, even children senselessly murdered in massacres. No need to imagine; just visit Sarajevo and its residents will regale you with tales of the Siege of Sarajevo.
9. Best Travel Adventure
I’m a contributor for Johnny Jet and I wrote about our best travel adventure there. I got the idea to visit Svalbard when I was in Finland at the end of 2011. Tim’s reaction? “Where the hell is Svalbard?!” Well, if you scroll way, WAY to the top of Google Maps, you’ll see it hanging out there just a mere 600 miles from the North Pole. So off we went on our Polar Expedition to an island where you can’t walk outside without a high powered rifle because a hungry polar bear might just be lurking about.
10. Best Cultural Perspective or Insights
Like I mentioned before, I love using split fares to save money on flights. When we were invited to the Maldives, courtesy of Anantara Kihavah Villas, we just had to fly ourselves there. Getting to the Maldives isn’t cheap, but it was a lot less expensive to fly from Dubai than from Venice. So we extended our trip to include a few days in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. We happened to be there on their independence day and Celebrated UAE National Day on The Corniche. We’ve quite literally never seen saw a display of national pride!
Iceland is just stunning with its contrasts of ice, snow, and green. We went glacier hiking on the Sólheimajökull glacier tongue, the southwestern outlet of the Myrdalsjokull icecap. The wind was blasting us that day, especially as we hiked higher and higher up to the summit of the glacier, but the views stretching out to the Atlantic Ocean and the Westman Islands were worth being a little cold.
If these photos of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast don’t convince you to visit, I’m not sure what would! Just skip Plitvice Lakes when you do go to Croatia.
And now the fun part…
Part of these roundups is showcasing some of our favorite blogger’s own roundup of posts. I’m nominating five of my own favorite blogger’s to tell us their Best Dozen Posts of 2012. And if you’re not already reading their blogs, go check them out!
Beth and Randy of Beers and Beans
Peter Parkorr (or is he really Shane?) of Travel Unmasked
Arianwen of Beyond Blighty
Simon of Wild About Travel
Ali of Ali’s Adventures