There is no real Piran Café, nor is this one located in Piran, the millennium-old Adriatic seaside city that rests at the tip of a peninsula at the easternmost edge of Slovenia. For the moment this one sits, rather restlessly, in Ljubljana, Slovenia‘s capital, some 130 kilometers from Piran. I once seriously considered opening a café in a relatively quiet seaside setting, where I would graciously host weary travelers, underemployed artists and musicians, poets, priests, prisoners and politicians, and other voices of desperate illumination.

That real Piran Café is now the destination.

I’m a reporter, photographer, digital nomad and blogger driven by a lust for travel, art, culture and justice. When those passions meet and intersect, that’s what you’ll find on Piran Café.

To date I’ve visited 54 countries and travel regularly, but Piran Café is not a typical travel blog. Since its unceremonious launch on a cold early winter night in 2006, the blog has taken on and somehow survived numerous incarnations, to gradually evolve into a notebook, a collection of experiences, moments and vignettes, both long-form and short, connected and propelled by those primary passions and published here to inform, engage and hopefully entertain.

I roam often so a mixture of travel-related tips, stories and advice and the occasional review, are a natural fit here. You’ll also find posts, stories and updates that delve more deeply into the history, culture and politics of whatever area I’m living in or traveling through at the time. And, just to keep search engine algorithms confused, I’ll publish posts and updates on just about anything I damn well please that sparks my interest, from racism and wine party lists to film reviews and a weekly spotlight on blighted mannequins.

You won’t find reviews that have been bought by others or sponsored links that have been sold to me. Click bait lists, as tempting as they are to produce, will be few and far between.

The site is also evolving into a more permanent home for my travel and editorial stock images. I’m hoping to launch soon a practical and easy-to-use search function for the photography section of the site, which now hosts more than 5,000 images.

More about me?

I was born in Piran, at the time part of Yugoslavia, but spent virtually all of my life in the U.S., mainly in Ohio. Choosing to watch George W. Bush’s re-election from afar, I relocated to Slovenia in May 2004.

From 2000 through 2012, I focused professionally almost exclusively on coverage of international track & field and distance running. I covered the last three summer Olympic Games, several World Championships and dozens of other international, continental and regional competitions on four continents. My work appeared regularly in dozens of magazines, newspapers and websites and I also served as the website editor for track and field’s international governing body, IAAF.org, where I was in charge of the site’s day-to-day editorial duties for more than six years.

In September 2013 I wrapped up a seven-month overland trip from Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost reaches of Argentina, to San Jose, Costa Rica, where I was halted by a bout of Hepatitis A. Initially I began recounting the journey for a book. But since the trip was forced to end prematurely, I decided to set aside the manuscript idea and instead focus on publishing various accounts on this site.

Photography

I received a Kodak 110 Instamatic camera for my tenth birthday. That was winter 1975. I’ve been taking photos since and I don’t plan on ever stopping.

Student demonstrator, Managua, April 1999.

All the photos appearing in Piran Café, unless otherwise specified, are my own. Most I like a lot, some not so much, while still others are stock images that populate my flickr stream which as of November 20,2013, is home to 3,881. It’s no longer updated regularly but I was pretty good about keeping them organized; check here for search suggestions.

Nearly half of those photos are now available under a Creative Commons license for non-commercial use. If you use any photo within the terms of the license or make special arrangements to use any photo, the photo credit should be listed as Bob Ramsak / piran café with a link embedded in the credit back to this site, pirancafe.com. A quick note to let me know would be most appreciated as well.

I spend a lot of my online time looking at other photographers’ photos and share those I enjoy and appreciate via twitter. I’d be delighted if you would join me there, too. I’m also connecting with more photographers via Google+ and posting images regularly there as well. We can also connect on Instagram.

Usain Bolt meeting the press in Ostrava

Usain Bolt, Ostrava, Czech Republic, 2011

Equipment:

I’ve been using Canon equipment since the mid 1990s.My most recent upgrade came in late 2012 with the purchase of a 60D and a small assortment of lenses. After watching one too many cool short videos, I picked up a Sony HDR CX350VE and began playing with that, too. In late 2011 I added a GoPro II to the collection which so far has been primarily used for stills and timelapses. I use Vimeo and Youtube to host videos, most of which are short visual notebooks with a smattering of vidblogs tossed into the mix.

If you’re interested in photo usage terms or would like to purchase a print, take a look at the Piran Café shop page or get in touch. I can arrange shipping from either Slovenia or the U.S. and payment to be made via Paypal.

 

This café went live on 19-December-2006 at 1.34 am. Everything prior to 19-Dec-06 is/will be backdated, when time allows — mainly photographs, travel tidbits, mini-travelogues, some posts from my (3) now-defunct blogs and (5) unfinished manuscripts, and other notes from the road. None of the backdated entries have been/will be changed with the benefit of hindsight. The backdating is simply a chronological reference to some of the stories I want to share, presenting information that I hope will be useful and/or entertaining.

Enjoy, and bring a friend.

Cheers,

Bob


visited 54 states (24%)
Create your own visited map of The World or Amsterdam travel guide for Android


visited 39 states (78%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or Brazil travel guide for Android

 

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80 comments

  1. Cool, love what you are doing here on this site and that it is not just chit-chat. I am also trying to do something similar with my site and am from Columbus OH though unfortunately without hereditary roots to this region, though my heart is very much a part of this land and what I aim to do with my site and share this with the world.
    May I link to this site? I will come back and read more of your posts when I have time.

  2. hola.
    yesterday friend of mine sent your blog’s link and i love it. loads of interesting information and lovely pictures.
    regards from ljubljana
    maarja

  3. Sandra Lanzetta

    My mother was born in Rome, however my maternal grandparents are from Pirano, (Piranesi). I also have family living in Trieste and the Veneto region of Italy. I love Pirano. It is breathtaking with it’s spectacular rich Architecture and great Venetian roots.
    I’ve been there already three times and plan to return again. My grandparents and other relatives are buried there. I’m so proud of my roots! Here’s to amazing Pirano!
    Sandra Lanzetta

  4. Paul

    Hello, I found your site though Google as it is related to my own travel site. I wanted to ask if you would be interested in a link exchange as I have some high ranking travel blogs many with a PageRank of 3 or more.

    I have a list of my sites here: http://www.migranchile.com/mysites.html

    I have been swapping links for while now and have found it very beneficial to search engine rankings for everyone. If you are interested just mail me back and I can show you my sites and hopefully give you some links asap.

    Thanks for your time.
    Paul

  5. Hi there,

    I found your details on your blog, I hope you might be able to help me with my strange request!

    I am a Producer working on a television show called House Hunters International in New York which follows English speaking expats in their quest to purchase a house abroad. I am hoping to find an English speaking expat to profile who has moved to and bought property in Slovenia within the last few years. I wonder if you or anyone you might know might be interested in getting involved?! Please find a little blurb about the show below:

    House Hunters International is a half-hour program currently airing on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV). The program is a spin-off of the popular House Hunters and has spent the last several seasons exploring the idiosyncrasies of buying real estate in other countries. HHI is about a personal journey of discovery and the making of life-long dreams.

    The series is designed to de-mystify the international home-buying process by going behind the scenes of a house hunt where buyers and their real estate agents tour 3 homes. At its core, House Hunters International is a travel show concentrating on the idiosyncrasies of the locales and what makes them special and different. A great deal of effort will be made to capture rich visuals and to provide sequences where viewers will be exposed to local vistas, traditions, lifestyles and architecture.

    Please get in touch if you have any more questions about the show. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best wishes and many thanks,

    Michelle

    Michelle James
    ASSOCIATE PRODUCER LEOPARD FILMS
    1-3 St Peter’s Street, London N1 8JD – +44 20 7288 2184
    michelle.james@leopardfilms.com
    http://www.leopardfilms.com

  6. Hello,

    I just came across this today when poking around on the “Newly Posted” links on WordPress. I noticed the name and knew it had to be related to Slovenia somehow. My boyfriend’s father is Slovenian and very very proud of it, and he works hard to make more people aware of how wonderful a place he’s from. (If you want to check out one of his projects, you can check out Slovenian Premium Wines. No soliciting, I promise – just an fyi :). He also works with the salt producers in Piran. That’s some amazing stuff.

    When I saw that this was mostly a photo blog, I also became interested, as photography is my second love (after languages and linguistics). I had the absolute pleasure and honor of meeting Joco Znidarsic (sorry, no accent marks on my keyboard!) and I have a book of his work on the Lippizan horses – so gorgeous. I’ve only been to Slovenia once – so far! – and can’t wait to go again. I’ve never felt as good as I have after a week swimming in the Adriatic in Piran! (Sorry – I can’t say the same for Ohio – especially since my boyfriend’s mother went to Michigan ;)

    Just wanted to say hello and say that I find your work very interesting. I look forward to seeing more.
    Leonore

  7. 45 countries and counting, ahh, I missed the boat. Admire your writing, very entertaining. Oh, Ljubljana is amazing city, I was there in 2009 (from Venice) . Stay in touch

  8. Thomas

    On the search for the Anonymous message to Slovenia, I found it at Piran Café. Bless you!
    My father’s parents emigrated from Bela Krajina to the US in the 1890s. I completed the circle by immigrating to Slovenia in 1996. Will never leave. BTW, I lived in Piran for four years. So many happy memories.
    Into my bookmarks with you!

  9. Hi Thomas – thanks for the note. Always glad to come across others who have gone full circle as well. :)
    Cheers,
    Bob

  10. I love your project! Noticed that you have a link up on your site to my blog at http://www.drowningislands.com, and so I wanted to check your site out. Beautiful pictures and a lovely premise. Keep up all the great traveling and photo-journalism!

    • Thanks, Brook, MUCH appreciated, it’s all still very much evolving. :) I enjoy checking out your blog, excellent job.

  11. Thanks for the follow! So glad you stopped by my blog! You have a nice one here. I’ll make sure to stay tuned for upcoming posts!

  12. My pleasure, and you’re most welcome to follow/subscribe here as well. Big changes on the horizon! :)

  13. Love the photos and the fascinating commentary. So interesting! I’m glad you stumbled across my blog, so I could have opportunity to stumble across yours. Thank you.

  14. mac

    Great blog – and thanks for the follow! :)

    • Thanks! And thanks for dropping by. :)

  15. Hey Bob – great blog. Looking forward to more pictures!

    • Thanks, and thanks for coming by!

  16. Víctor Fenés

    You have another follower Bob! Hugs!

    • Hola! Thanks for stopping by. :) Let’s keep in touch, and be well!

  17. howdy….thanks for the like………..interesting blog…im in south africa…………..id like to extend your pic sharing idea with the same conditions………..what the point of cool pics if people cant see them…………

    • Exactly. Creative Commons has been nothing but a good experience for me.
      Thanks for dropping by!

  18. A great blog with very beautiful pictures!! I Like!
    Thanks for stopping by on my “Photos On The Go” – I´m glad if you like my pictures!

    Greetings,
    Sunelly Sims

    • Thanks so much for stopping by. Don’t be a stranger. :)

  19. Great to have a different voice to read and see (we’ll forgive you your pre-Solvinia days:) )!.

  20. Great page you have here my friend , I update my about page too LOL,
    More power to your blog :)

  21. Inspiring potos! Thanks for stopping by our blog and liking the post “Photos about Nothing”. It’s much appreciated and a great encouragement for us. Cheers, BollyChees in Paris.

  22. Hello Bob, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award! You can go tohttp://recoverythrumylens.wordpress.com/2012/08/03/awards/ to pick it up.

  23. Just discovered your blog, I love it. And your travelling plans! I also just started with my own blog and I hope to improve on my writing skills. As my blog will mainly be about glimpses of my life in Ljubljana, I would dare to ask you for the permission to from time to time use one of your photos. I will of course link back to you.

    • Hi Marusa – Thanks for visiting and for the note. Good luck with the blog, and of course, feel free to use photos. I’ve got lots on CC images my flickr stream as well. :)

      Ciao!
      Bob

  24. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and for the follow

  25. Hi. That’s great because you have already visited Japan. :)

    • Yes, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be returning again. :)

  26. I never feel more alive that when I’m travelling.
    … or more educated.

  27. Thanks for following me. although I’m not as prolific as you seem to be. Best regards … Frank

    • BobR

      And not nearly as prolific as I wish I was. :)
      Cheers,
      Bob

  28. I like what you’ve got going here. Keep it up BobR!

    • Hey, thanks! And I shall! :)

  29. Hi Bob! Nice meeting you and your interesting blog! many thanx for the follow :) (PS: Ljubljana – divan grad…. some drops of my own blood came from there around…. :) )

  30. Bob, it’s been a long time in coming, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for following my blog! I also wanted to say “huzzah” on your upcoming RTW in 2013! I’m about to finish my year-long RTW, and it’s been one heckuva journey. I could’ve always done more, but I have absolutely zero regrets about what I did and all the friends with whom I stayed along the way. Take care!

  31. Thanks for your Follow, be certain to look for some sand between the toes on your coming round the world, good luck. ~Ron

    • Thanks Ron, much appreciated. And yes, there will definitely at least a bit of sand involved. :)

  32. I like your coverage of the Ljubljana protests.

    • Thanks, much appreciated. I haven’t had much time to delve into them beyond this somewhat superficial level – hopefully in the future. There will be more. :)

    • Thanks so much for the kind words and nomination, much too kind!

    • Thanks, and please do! :)

  33. Thanks for becoming a “Follower.” I really like your work and am enjoying your way of seeing the world.

    • Thank you as well, much appreciated. And Happy New Year to you! :)

  34. “We must believe in free will. We have no choice.” – Isaac B. Singer
    Have a great NEW YEAR !

    • Thanks, and to you as well! I’m fairly certain it’s going to be the best one ever. :)

  35. Hi Bob, I am a friend of Lisa Brunetti and live in Buenos Aires. Not hesitate to contact me here in my city.
    Cruz del Sur
    Carlos

    • Hola Carlos,
      Many thanks for the note. I’d love to meet – I can’t find contact info on your blog. can you send me an email via the email link on the main page? I’m in BA until the morning of Jan 30, staying very close to the Plaza/Park Almagro, not far from Medrano subte station.
      Cheers,
      Bob

      • Bob, I already sent you an e-mail to your email. We will be in touch.

  36. …and if you get near Gold Beach, Oregon, USA give a holler!

    • Many thanks, and will do!

    • Thanks so much, Jim, very much appreciated. But I can’t participate at the moment – I’m on fairly slow connections these days and only going online a couple times a day.

  37. By the way, Bob, I’d love to treat you to a coffee if you find yourself in Amman, Jordan!

    • Many thanks, Jim, when that day comes I will certainly look forward to taking you up on that!

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  40. I’ve been wanting to go on a trip around the world for ages now. (Sigh. Maybe someday.) Enjoy your trip! If you happen to notice that you’re coming upon a small town in indiana called “Jeffersonville”- don’t stop- lest you be sucked into its vortex and never returned to the real world. Besides, there’s nothing here but cows and corn. ;0)