A must-visit in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Obviously.

Closing the Book on February and a Winter Blogging Notebook

Like the past month, this report will be short and relatively sweet. I’ve got a manuscript draft to finish.

Spring is in the air; that seasonal change was my self-imposed deadline for the first draft of my 2013 Americas road trip manuscript and knowing that I likely won’t be meeting it is starting to cause an obnoxious bout of pre-anxiety. I don’t like anxiety. It kills creativity and focus and isn’t healthy. I try to do whatever I can to avoid it. Beginning with nipping obnoxious bouts of pre-anxiety in the bud.

On the road

I spent 10 days in the U.S. to join in the celebration of my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Coming less than six weeks after my holiday visit, it was almost as though I hadn’t left. We had an amazing time: a wonderful dinner, an eventful after party at the house and a 1983 late harvest ranina, an autochthonous white varietal, from the Ljutomer winery in northeast Slovenia.

For the party, I tried to track down a drinkable Slovenian bottle from the 1964 vintage. I was directed away from that year by a few merchants that I trust, who suggested 1983 instead, Slovenia’s vintage of the last century. They didn’t steer me wrong. I was pleased and my parents were delighted. On their day, that’s all that mattered. Thanks Mom and Dad for everything. You are an inspiration and you rock.

On my return to Europe I flew as far as Munich from where I hopped on a train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. It was unseasonably warm and wet ruining my one serious attempt at skiing this winter. But I nonetheless made the most of the three nights I stayed in there. A couple posts from GaPa forthcoming.

February’s Top Five Posts

Speaking of posts, here are February’s Fantastic Five, which don’t need further explanation:

5. Atop the Brandenburg Gate (Pic du Jour)
4. Hiking Patagonia’s Fitz Roy Trail: El Chalten Day Hike 1
3. Photo Exhibit Chronicling Tarkovsky Masterpiece ‘Nostalghia’ Makes World Premiere in Ljubljana
2. Sarajevo Olympic Bobsled Run, 30 Years Later
and
1. Moto taxi, Zorritos, Peru (Pic du Jour)

Besides organic visits (search engines) StumbleUpon remained a strong source of traffic last month, but a stronger presence on twitter and gradually growing numbers on Facebook are bringing in visitors as well.

The anniversary party, coupled with a fatal spill that forced me to purchase a new laptop well before it was time, conspired to allow little time to produce lengthier posts here, yet I still managed to attract about 4,500 visitors and just under 7,000 page views. The actual numbers are off due to another migration snafu that lingered into the first days of February. Beginning with the March wrap-up, I’ll be reporting more accurate and detailed figures from Google Analytics.

Socializing

Don’t believe the spammy hype. Improving your engagement and reach on social media takes a hefty investment in time. I didn’t really start paying much attention or making much of an effort until late last fall. It’s a ton of work actually and isn’t swift, but it does payoff. And –get this— you actually do meet and get to know some incredibly interesting and passionate people.

As reflected in the figures below, I’m really enjoying Google+. I’ve finally gathered a stronger appreciation for Twitter, and it’s showing there, too.

Regarding twitter, for the record: I’ve decided against automated systems like Triberr. I insist on reading everything I retweet and share; not doing so simply contributes to the noise that’s already polluting that platform.

I do use Hootsuite to schedule some tweets. Certain tweets are primarily directed to friends and followers in different corners of the globe which makes scheduling a no-brainer. Hootsuite makes that process simple, more efficient and more useful to everyone involved.

And for the record again, the social media numbers as of Tuesday morning 4 March, are as follows:

Google+ followers: 6,081 – up from 4,554 at end of January (1,853 December, 1,261 November).
Twitter followers:  1,897 – up from 1,184 at end of January (1,098 December,  927 November)
Piran Café Facebook page fans: 601 – up from 468 last month (392 December, 327 November)

You can also find me on StumbleUpon, Pinterest and Foursquare. On the latter, I’m Mayor of Ljubljana’s Central Market and visit with my constituents there six days a week.

Additions to the Tool Chest

Besides the new laptop I mentioned above, a brand spanking new Macbook Pro, I also added a few more tools to the arsenal which I’ll be introducing throughout the spring. I will mention now that I’ve decided to get serious about Google Hangouts on Air, which added a better webcam and microphone to the tool chest. More on that coming soon.

Happy March, and thanks for reading.

Cheers,
Bob

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