Between Trieste and Monfalcone
Between Trieste and Monfalcone

Stolen Phones and Flinging Fish – Blog Report for September 2014

I’m finishing up this monthly report on a train from Trieste bound for Venice. I’m flying to the US tomorrow morning, where I’ll be based for the next handful of months, so this will almost certainly be my last rail trip until I return to Europe. That will be, at the very soonest, one year from now, so I’m savoring the route, which at least at its initial stages, is among my favorites in this part of Europe.

For the first 15 minutes after leaving Trieste Centrale, the tracks closely hug this stretch of northern Adriatic coastline, as do numerous cargo ships and freighters this side of the horizon. The area’s faded majesty is kept somewhat fresh by the Miramare Palace that takes pride of place on a promontory a few kilometers northwest of the city. Seen from a distant window of a passing train, it radiates Mediterranean charm.

The pleasant early autumn afternoon and the bright sun overhead neatly conspire with the train’s gentle sway to blanket the beginnings of my journey from the continent in a pensive, nostalgic mood. Trieste Centrale was my home station for the year that I lived on Slovenia’s coast in Piran. That was nine years ago; most of the memories have long since faded even if it doesn’t seem like so long ago.

I note how Trieste the city has picked itself up a bit over the past decade, managing to unearth at least some of the polish that shined brightly a century ago when it served as Austria’s chief port.

At Monfalcone, where the tracks head inland, a massive cruise ship is under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard, one of eight shipyards in the network that make up the largest shipbuilding group in the Mediterranean. Massively out of proportion to its surroundings, the ship manages to ruin one of the last views of the sea before the tracks settle for good in the Veneto flatlands.

In contrast, on the back of a house hangs a rainbow-colored banner reading Pace, or Peace. It’s facing the tracks, making it visible only to those passengers who happen to be glancing through windows of moving trains at precisely the right moment. I decide that it was put there for me.

***

Along with the change in seasons –at least on paper— September also brought with it an unexpected shift in direction. A family emergency arose which made me decide to relocate to the U.S. for the next handful of months so I could help out. (All is progressing well now, thanks for asking.) That meant sorting, organizing, packing and moving my earthly possessions from my apartment in Ljubljana back into storage over the course of just one week. It was exhausting, but it got done.

Top 5 Posts for September 2014

Just prior to the move I spent 11 days in Morocco where, among other things, my phone was stolen and a fisherman angrily threw a fish at me. Not surprisingly, three of the month’s top-five posts for September originated in Marrakech. The monthly run-down, all self-explanatory:

5. The Finest Orange Juice Seller on the Planet
4. Dragons and Virgins in Ljubljana
3. Waiting for the Lunch Rush, Hanoi
2. A Stolen Phone and a Marrakech Souvenir
1. Ruffling a Fisherman’s Feathers in Essaouira – On Asking Permission to Take a Photo

Newsletter Re-Inauguration (again) and a monthly drawing for a free 8×10 print

Before life got in the way, I was planning to relaunch The Piran Café Reader, my site’s companion weekly newsletter, last month. Now that I’m resettled, the relaunch will happen next week. As already promised, subscribers will automatically be entered in monthly drawings for a free 8×10 print of their choice from my Redbubble portfolio. Yes. Free. Postpaid. Anywhere in the world. Because I like giving things away.

Sign up here. It’s quite painless, I promise.

By the Numbers

.. And for the record, some website facts and figures:

Traffic-wise September was roughly equal to the rest of the summer months, with just under 4,000 views by 2,424 visitors. Considering that I haven’t had time to post very much and even less time to promote what little I did post, I find that consistency a positive.

My streak of months in which I made some photos sales directly from the site continues – THANK YOU!—which only shows that the quality of visitors remains quite good. In short, beautiful human beings continue to visit. Thank you. Please don’t stop. And please consider inviting other beautiful human beings.

In the spirit of transparency, a few more numbers I’m compelled to share:

– Page Authority: 49, a slight drop from last month’s all-time high of 51;
Domain Authority: down slightly to 39 from August’s 42, also the highest it’s ever been; and
– Klout: up another notch to 65. But still, with each passing month I’m becoming less of a fan.

And for the record again, some social media numbers as of Wednesday morning 1 October:

Google+ followers: 8,941, up from 8,802 (1 Sep), 8,673 (1 Aug), 8,516 (1 Jul), and 7,990 on 1 June – (1,274 1 Jan)
Twitter followers: 3,454, up from 3,436 (1 Sep), 3,321 (1 Aug), 3,242 (1 Jul), and 3,106 on 1 June – (1,098 1 Jan)
Instagram followers: 130, up from 117 (1 Sep), which was up from the 92 that I reported in June when I finally opened an account. As I reported my mobile phone was stolen in Marrakech last month, which has and will continue to stall my Instagram interactions until I get another phone.

And, while I retired my Piran Café Facebook page back in the waning days of March but by all means, feel free to follow or friend me via my personal Facebook account.

Looking ahead

I’ll be spending the autumn and early winter months in northeast Ohio, with trips planned to southeast Ohio, western Michigan and the North Carolina coast. I haven’t spent a prolonged period of time along the shores of Lake Erie since I moved to Europe a decade ago, so I plan to do plenty of exploring to reintegrate myself, even if just briefly. In February, I’ll be returning to South America for at least six months. Oh, I’ll also be hopping on the first local bus to Venice where I’ll spend a couple hours strolling. For old times sake.

As always, thanks for stopping by. I trust you’re enjoying the fall. Or spring, down under. 🙂

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