Just an innocent snap of Cerro Rico, Potosi, Bolivia.

Bus Rides, Street Assaults and Heavy Metal Murals – Piran Café’s Top 10 Posts of 2013

This is a shot of Cerro Rico, the unfortunate mountain that towers over Potosi, Bolivia, that I snapped just before I was punched in the crotch by a four-and-a-half tall grandmother wrapped in brightly colored clothes. I’m delighted to report that a post recounting the incident back in March was among the ten most visited on Piran Café this past year. I’m not sure if I should be glad or disappointed that it didn’t come in at No. 1.

I hit the road for seven months at the tail end of January, so not surprisingly Piran Cafe focused almost exclusively on my overland jaunt through eight South and Central American countries –seven of those for the first time– which boosted my countries-visited tally to 51.

Eight of the top 10 posts for the year were filed in South America, on topics as disparate as the locales they reported on. Two of the top three were practical (and of course, entertaining) in nature, providing readers and travelers with bus information for routes where such info remains difficult to find or obtain. Interests noted; more variations on the theme to come in 2014, promise.

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t post as much or as often as I wanted to from the road. I couldn’t quite find the right balance between blogging and collecting notes for my book manuscript, but I still plan to do plenty of catching up over the next several months as I continue working on the book.

So, for those of you may have missed some –and some of you quite likely did– here’s my annual rundown of the most read posts from the past year.

10. Bringing Hopper’s Work to Life – Shirley: Visions of Reality, a 90-Second Review

I attended 26 screenings at the Ljubljana International Film Festival in November, and this film by Austrian architect/experimental artist Gustav Deutsch was among the most memorable. A monumentally ambitious visual and intellectual feast.

9. So John Lennon and Che Guevara Walk Into a Bar…

A brief rumination on a photo of a Lennon and Guevara jam session. What songs would be on their playlist?

8. Patterns on a Wall, and Through History

Mural by Guache, Lima, Peru 2013
Mural by Guache, Lima, Peru 2013

A post about the most stunning piece of street art I had the pleasure to see in 2013.

7. March Against Monsanto in Quito – Notebook and 22 Photos

On May 25 demonstrations against the production and use of genetically modified crops were held in 436 cities in 52 countries. I attended the action in Quito. Video, too.

6. Punched in the Crotch by a 4 1/2 Foot Tall Woman, or the Dangers of Street Photography in Potosi

As mentioned above, a streetside smackdown at the hand of a 70-year-old grandmother.

5. All the World’s a Page – 16 snaps from the El Ateneo Bookstore

El Ateneo bookstore, Buenos Aires, 23-Jan-2013
El Ateneo bookstore, Buenos Aires, 23-Jan-2013

The next time you’re in Buenos Aires, make time for a visit to one of the coolest bookstores in the world. Coming here really was on my List of Things to See Before I Die.

4. Bootleg Barbies, an Inauguration, a March Against Monsanto and the Coolest Floor in the World – RTW Week #18

The first and most popular of my weekly roundup posts; this one began in Manta, Ecuador and ended in Quito. I was pretty good about compiling them for a few weeks until hepatitis A stopped me in my tracks.

3. Los Libertadores Pass – Mendoza to Santiago by Bus

If any bus ride can be forgiven for being stretched from seven hours to nearly 11, it’s this one, linking Mendoza, Argentina and Santiago, the Chilean capital, via a pass through some of the highest peaks in the Andes.

2. Kavarna’s Heavy Metal Murals

Billy Idol mural in Kavarna, Bulgaria
Rebel Yell

Info and pics of a heavy metal urban beautification project in the Bulgarian Black Sea coastal town of Kavarna. The place to go if you want to see three-story high murals of Ronnie James Dio and Billy Idol. Visited in late 2012, but posted in January.

1. Minefields, Guanaco, and the Magellan Strait – Ushuaia to Punta Arenas by Bus

Details and info on the bus route linking these cities in the far reaches of Patagonia. Highlights? Guanaco and nandu sightings galore, crossing the Magellan Strait and driving alongside Chilean minefields.

What to expect in 2014? Bar none, the best year ever for Piran Café! That’s a promise I intend to keep. As always, thanks for visiting, and enjoy the pic gallery below. And if you missed yesterday’s 2013 photography flashback, check that one out too. And if you’re not already, please consider following me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Peace and a wonderful 2014 to you all!


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