Here’s a countdown of my ten most-often-viewed blog posts in the year 2021, as tabulated by WordPress and delivered to me through the Jetpack plugin by Automattic Inc. (Five of these posts were also on my top ten list for 2020.)
# 10 — Picnic by the Eiffel Tower. In September 2011 we had a very successful VirtualTourist meeting in Paris, with at least 37 members in attendance. A decade later, this post on our picnic by the Eiffel Tower was my tenth most-often-viewed blog post in the year 2021.
# 9 — Childhood home of the Brothers Grimm. In the 1790s, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm spent the five most idyllic years of their childhood in a town called Steinau, in the Kinzig Valley some 60 km northeast of Frankfurt. Later they became famous as professors of linguistics and German literature, and especially as the collectors and editors of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, including such classics as Hänsel and Gretel, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Rumpelstiltskin and Little Red Riding Hood. Their childhood home in Steinau is now a museum, and my post on it was my ninth most-often-viewed post in 2021.
# 8 — Travel by way of Cherbourg in 1931. Like most people in 2021, I had to cancel most of my travel plans because of the coronavirus pandemic. But I did manage to visit the French port city of Cherbourg, to see where my father departed as an emigrant in 1928, and where he returned on a business trip just three years later. I have written several blog posts about Cherbourg, and this one became my eighth most-often-viewed post for 2021, even though it was only online for less than a third of the year.
#7 — Stone of Bordeaux. The city of Bordeaux, in the southwest corner of France, is surrounded by nearly 1,400 quarries in the nearby countryside. The white stone from these quarries was the city’s main building material in the 18th and 19th centuries, giving Bordeaux its elegant, solid and substantial look that it still has today. The downside of this is that many of these quarries were underground and are now abandoned and in danger of collapse, posing serious risks for people and property in these outlying areas.
# 6 — The Legend of the Titanic Organ. This is a follow-up on an earlier post about the German Museum of Mechanical Musical Instruments in Bruchsal Palace. Among the five hundred (or so) historical musical devices on display in the museum is a large self-playing organ which was formerly thought to have been commissioned by the White Star Line for use in the first-class dining room of its luxurious new steamship the RMS Titanic. But there had been some sort of delay at the factory, supposedly, so the organ could not be delivered on time for the Titanic’s maiden voyage in April 1912. Later research failed to find any connection between this organ and the Titanic, so they now prefer to call it the “Bruchsal Organ” rather than the “Titanic Organ”. (Was # 3 in 2020.)
# 5 — Jacques Brel’s Marieke in Brugge/Bruges. This is about one of my favorite songs by Jacques Brel (1929-1978). In this post, I also give my answer to the age-old question of why the lovely young ladies in French love songs are always twenty years old, rather than nineteen or twenty-one. (Was also # 5 in 2020.)
# 4 — About me. Most blogging websites have a post (or a page, but mine is a post) called “About” or “About me”, and mine is no exception. Here I have attempted to summarize my life and hard times in 1,230 words and fifteen images. This is my own view of myself, obviously, but I have tried to keep it realistic. Occasionally I have to go back and update this post by changing the tense of certain verbs from the present to the past. (Was also # 4 in 2020.)
# 3 — Dionysian frenzy. This has been one of my more popular posts ever since I first uploaded it in 2018. I hope people who click on it aren’t disappointed to find that it deals with an ancient Greek vase from the personal collection of the Duke of Luynes, decorated mainly with pictures of the god Dionysus and his followers. (Was # 2 in 2020.)
# 2 — Seating in the Arena. Of the five posts I have written about open-air opera performances in the Arena of Verona, Italy, this is the one that always seems to get the most views. I try to keep it up-to-date, to avoid misinforming anyone, but during the coronavirus pandemic everything is subject to frequent change, so I can’t guarantee that today’s information will still be valid tomorrow.
# 1 — Opern-Gespräche. Again in 2021, as in the four previous years (i.e. ever since I started this website in 2017) my most-often-viewed blog post was this one about the German-language opera appreciation courses that I conducted at the Frankfurt Adult Education Center for over twenty years, from 1999 to 2020.
This is my only post that is written in German, the other 969 being in English. The post includes a list of the 243 singers, musicians and other opera professionals who came to my German-language opera courses over the years as our featured guests, to talk with us and answer our questions about Frankfurt opera productions and about life on the international opera circuit.
In March 2020, the 41st semester of the Opern-Gespräche was ended prematurely after only two course meetings, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
See also: Frankfurt OperaTalk (my 219th most-often-viewed post in 2021).