Best of the Blog 2015: The Top 10 Faves

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Wow! We can’t believe we’ve been blogging for 5 years. Over the years your feedback has been amazing and you’ve done a great job of letting us know what you enjoy. So without further ado, here are your top 10 favorite posts for the year.

Small house

1. Iceland’s Quaint Corrugated Construction: From Mundane to MarvelousOur most popular post struck a surprising chord. Yep, that roulette effect. Iceland was our first exposure to such extensive use of architectural corrugated metal, and we were amazed and fascinated. It appears that we weren’t the only ones.

Riga Face

2. A Face-Off on the Façade: Riga’s Art Nouveau Masterpiece. This fabulous building is one of our favorites in the world, and because it’s so unique and creatively done, we were rooting for this post to get lots of hits – and it did.

Refugee Family in Belgrade Tent City

3. Serbia: At the Crossroads of Europe’s Refugee Crisis. The refugee crisis in Europe was one of the most extensively covered news stories of the year, so it was no surprise that this post had so many views and comments. We talked long and hard about how to handle this post, and in the end, decided to write about what we observed, and to bring to light a few of the specific issues in Serbia. If this post raises awareness just a little bit we’ll be happy.

Saint Mundita

4. Religious Relics: A Hot Commodity in The Middle Ages. As writers, it’s fun to stray off the reservation now and then, and this post was exactly that. Every culture in every period of history has its oddball traditions, and we’re happy that the relic creep-factor appealed to lots of our readers as well.

Rothenberg Gargoyle

5. Gurgling Gargoyles: Artfully Draining Water. Our blogging buddy and frequent commenter Chris said it best: “From little things big things grow.” Frequently, on the long road, serendipity plays a role. And an unplanned collection of gargoyle photos becomes a theme.

Flesh Eating Fish

6. Skin-Eating Fish Gain A Foothold in Cambodia. We’re sure that like us, most bloggers struggle week after week to come up with interesting and unique post topics. And it’s pure mana from heaven when we bump into a sight or situation where our first thought is: “We absolutely MUST write a post about this.” Voila! Skin-eating fish.

Open Window 2

7. Kotor, Montenegro: Meander Through Medieval Magic. Without a doubt, undiscovered places are becoming harder to find in the world. Kotor is far from undiscovered, but it may be off the radar for some travelers. Our hope is that this post will inspire a few folks to visit this lovely part of the Adriatic coast.

Raichle Palace 1

8. Upstarts and Ingrates: Art Nouveau in Subotica, Serbia. Simply put, for us, Art Nouveau architecture is so whimsical and creative, that it’s difficult not to write about. It will be a sad year when we don’t discover another colorful collection of Art Nouveau buildings.

Bárðarbunga_Volcano, - Version 2

9. Architecture Imitates Nature in the Land of Fire and IceOne of James’ unofficial roles on the blog is as geological ambassador. And it warms the cockles of his heart and renews his faith in mankind to know that a geeky post about rocks and plate tectonics wormed its way into our top 10.

Guanajuato Market Hearts

10. Capturing Hearts Across the Globe! It’s always pleasing when a Valentine’s Day post, that’s pure fun, shows up on our most popular list. We photographed hearts around the world – pure color and romance. Is there a better combination?

So it’s another year under the belt at Gallivance. We’d truly like to thank all our regular readers as well as the new folks who’ve decided to follow along. We wish all of you happy blogging and best wishes for a fabulous 2016.

* * * * *

So, that’s it for us this year. Did we miss any of your personal faves? Just let us know! 

Happy New Year,
Terri & JamesLittle girl 1

Photo Credits:
10. Peter Hartree via Wikimedia Commons


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

49 thoughts

  1. I love reading your posts about what makes a city unique and, like you, Art Nouveau architecture always captures our interest because of its ability to surprise us. Your post on religious relics was also a fave of mine as are any posts where you showcase a collection of photos. Looking forward to reading more of your stories in 2016. Anita

    1. Thanks Anita. These annual blog retrospectives are educational and fun for us. Before we look at the stats we try to make predictions, which are only about 50% correct. The actual results really are like throwing the dice. All the best for you and Richard in 2016. ~James

  2. I’ve missed so many of your posts this year! Never enough time, but I’m going to make 5 minutes now to go and see that amazing face in Riga 🙂 Very best wishes to you and James, Terri! Hope 2016 finds you healthy and happy.

    1. Thanks Jo. This is a fabulous building, and is one a many in Riga. If you get to that part of the world, the Art Nouveau alone is worth a stop. Wishing you all the best for 2016. ~James

  3. I am a big fan of your writting and have not missed a post since starting to follow your blog in 2015. I am looking forward to 2016 and I hope that it will be a year of great adventures for you both.

  4. I’m always surprised when a post a gets record number of hits and reads. I love getting the chime on my phone “Your stats are booming” You certainly wrote some wonderful posts in 2015. May 2016 bring even more adventure. All the best to you.

    1. Thanks Laura. We’ve talked about these mysterious spikes in the past, and despite research and input from other bloggers, normally, we can’t understand why they happen. BTW, I see that winter in returning to the NE, so stay warm and all the best for you in 2016. ~James

    1. We really enjoyed our time in Serbia Peggy, but what we saw of the refugees was very sobering. As I’m sure you’ve seen many times in your travels, people live in all sorts of conditions, and frequently not happy ones. It’s just a part of the travel experience that raises awareness. All the best for a happy and healthy 2016. ~James

  5. Great round-up, and looking forward to more art nouveau, amphibious sightings, architectural marvels, and lots more. May your 2016 adventures be as festive, fruitful and fun 😉

    1. Thanks Amit. The new year is always a good time for reflection, and looking back over our list of posts is a great reminder of our travels and year. We hope that 2016 brings you happiness, health and peace. ~James

  6. I really enjoyed your top 10 review of 2015. What a great way to reflect on the year 🙂
    You have so much interesting material and fabulous photos, putting this together must be a lot of fun for you.
    Quite frankly I’d be just as interested in the bottom 10 because I’m confident there are real treasures in there 🙂

    … and the building with a face? I LOVE that stuff!!

    1. Thanks so much for you kind words Joanne. These are fun to put together, and it’s always interesting to see the surprises. But I must admit that trying to pick the most popular posts is a bit like that old Wall Street joke about the monkey throwing darts at a list of stocks. And re: the bottom 10, I can usually tell why they’re on the bottom. 🙂 ~James

  7. James & Terri, thank you for sharing your incredible experiences as you continue your journey. I look so forward to reading more in the coming year. Wishing you both a wonderful new year, filled with adventure, health & peace!

    1. Thanks so much Lynn. It’s gratifying to hear such nice words from a fellow adventurer and blogger. It’s been a fun year for us, and we look forward to following your adventures in the coming year. Happy New Year to you and your family. ~James

  8. Thanks for this review of some of your fascinating posts. I remember some, and this was inspiration to check them out again, as I appreciate the opportunity to learn about unknown places in such a positive way. Keep traveling and writing!

    1. Thanks Marilyn. It’s having great blogging friends like you that keep us going. Our blog has always been a fun creative outlet and the connections that we’ve made over the years are a wonderful side benefit. We truly appreciate your continuing to follow along. Prospero año en 2016! ~James

  9. For anyone who loves to travel (as do Florence and I) or who is thinking about traveling, your blog is better than most any guide book. I love that we have shared some of the same or similar sights as you two have, in many cases because you shared your travel stories.

    Mostly, I am impressed that you keep writing. I have not been able to sustain my writing initiative. I am still trying to figure out if I am meant to write. Clearly, you are. Keep up the good work, and thanks for all the great photos!

    Happy New Year to you both. – Mike

    1. Thanks so much Mike. These kind words mean a lot to us coming from you. Terri and I never take for granted that we blog as a team and can share the load. It usually works out that when one of us isn’t motivated, the other one is, and that makes all the difference. As a writer, one of my main foibles is that I can be amazingly uncreative if I have to write as opposed to want to write. And actually, Terri and I have had an agreement from the beginning, that if we don’t want to work on the blog, we don’t. The blog has turned out about 100 times more popular than we ever expected and that’s thanks to long-time followers like you and Florence. Thanks for continuing to follow along. Happy New Year and best of luck in Greenville. ~James

  10. I vividly remember many of these posts but would have been hard pressed to come up with my own top 10 since I enjoy every one! Good thing wordpress has an algorithm for doing that tough chore. All the best for 2016 to you both and I look forward to following your future posts.

    1. Thanks so much – we’re thrilled that you found posts that you enjoyed. We’ve learned over the years that sometimes the WordPress algorithm is fallible – it only ranks posts by their number of views (and we all know how dicey that can be)! We also factor in the number and quality of the comments a post draws – that really tells us what people found engaging. James and I want to thank you for all of your excellent comments this year – you sparked so many great conversations! 🙂 Wishing you all the best in the new year. ~Terri

    1. Thanks for your kind words Darlene. Praise like this from a professional writer are gratifying to say the least. We’re very happy and flattered that you continue to follow along, and we wish you all the best in 2016. ~James

  11. You had a lot of great posts as usual. The Serbia post was my favorite but in a sad way. I appreciate your post humanizing the crisis. I also really like #1 and #2 with the photos of the buildings and faces. I look forward to seeing what 2016 has to offer!

    1. Thanks Jeff. This Riga building is so photogenic. With a zoom lens, and a decent weather day, I could hardly go wrong. Terri and I truly appreciate your continuing to follow along, and we wish you all the best for 2016. ~James

  12. Elegant photography that takes my breath away and secret places that still exist in a world on fire with misery. Thank you Terri and James for the light, the hope and the joy your posts brought this year.

    1. Thanks Martha. You know, you’re right. There are still lots of secret places in the world, and with the right mindset, just about anywhere can be a secret place. Terri and I truly appreciate your continuing to follow along, and we hope that you have a fun, happy, and healthy 2016. ~James

  13. Always fun (and often educational) to see what you have to offer James and Terri. Thanks for a great year’s worth of blogs, and I am looking eagerly forward to next years. Happy New Year. –Curt

    1. Thanks Curt. It’s another good year under the belt for us Curt, and it’s been a pleasure following along in your and Peggy’s footsteps in 2015. We’re already looking forward to the next installment of Burning Man. Thanks for continuing to follow along, and we wish both you and Peggy happiness and health in the coming year. ~James

    1. Thanks Mekala. Such attractive corrugated buildings were a real surprise for us, and as always, travel opened our eyes to doing things differently. All the best to you for a fun and healthy 2016. ~James

  14. There are so many top-notch posts on your blog, and I look forward to poking around the old stuff someday when I have some more time! I find keeping up with my favorite bloggers’ posts to be quite time-consuming, but yours are most definitely a priority! Happy travels and times in 2016!

    1. Lexie believe me, we totally understand how time consuming blogging can be, and despite our best efforts, keeping up with loyal follower’s blogs as well as comments can be tough. We don’t judge and we’re just glad when people drop by. And FYI, Terri just finished a revamp of our Start Here page, and when you do get a bit of time, you could pick and choose some of what we consider our fun stuff. In the meantime, Happy Trails in 2016. ~James

  15. Wonderful post! I realize there are so fantastic ones I have missed reading so thanks for sharing. I love your blog and am looking forward to what is in store for 2016!

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