About Piran Café

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, 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.

So what, more precisely, will you find here?

To date I’ve visited 55 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 and grow 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, advice and the occasional review are a natural fit here. But 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.

You won’t find reviews that have been bought by others or sponsored links that have been sold to me.

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.


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 in Ostrava 2011


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. Anything that appears prior to 19-Dec-06 is, will be or was backdated — 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.



visited 55 states (24.4%)
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