Best of Piran Café
First time here?
Welcome to Piran Café, and thanks so much for stopping by!
There are more than 2,200 posts on Piran Café, so you’re forgiven for not knowing exactly where to begin exploring. I enjoy playing tour guide so let me offer a few suggestions.
But first you have to look at this photo of some of the nearly 4,000 penguins that greeted me when I stepped foot onto Martillo Island on the Beagle Channel.
Great, thanks. 🙂
For starters, a dozen popular posts, in no particular order:
- Punched in the Crotch by a 4 1/2 Foot Tall Woman, or the Dangers of Street Photography in Potosi. Self-explanatory.
- The one about the time a fisherman in Essaouira, Morocco, threw a sardine at me after he noticed me taking his photo. It led to a brief rumination about asking permission before taking a photo.
- Twenty Minutes in a Pair of Nanning Markets. Don’t click this link if you don’t want to see a boiled dog on display at a small butcher shop.
- I Wanted to Visit Ho Chi Minh Today, But He Wasn’t There. It was apparently facelift time.
- I’ve covered the last three Summer Olympic Games. The most memorable Closing Ceremonies? The rock concert that was the London Games’ farewell. Includes live video footage of The Who performing My Generation.
- Kavarna’s Heavy Metal Murals. Among other things, this Bulgarian Black Sea coastal town is home to a collection of the largest depictions of heavy metal stars on the planet. And the world’s only memorial to heavy metal icon Ronnie James Dio.
- Chile’s Chaitén Volcano, Five Years Later. A tour of the surreal landscape left in the wake of a massive eruption in southern Chile.
- Want to see some blue-footed boobies I hung out with on Ecuador’s Isla de la Plata? I thought you would.
- And closer to home, here’s a guide for a day trip to Slovenia’s breath-taking Triglav Lakes Valley
- Sometimes I publish reviews. Looking for a long-term travel bag? Check out my detailed write-up of my favorite bag that’s still going very strong: 11,000km Later: an Osprey Sojourn 25 Review.
- Looking for travel tips? Five Ways to Find Authenticity on the Road begins with:
Leave your expectations and stereotypes at the unclaimed baggage counter or dump them in the non-recyclables bin before passing through security, and don’t look back.
Next, a few more recently published posts that in my humble opinion warrant your attention:
- Auschwitz-Birkenau: From Memory To History. On the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Some thoughts and photos from a visit to one the planet’s largest cemeteries.
- On the Job with Guache in Barrio Las Cruces. On site with one of Latin America’s finest contemporary street muralists.
- I spent the last three months of 2014 in Cleveland where I covered the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who was holding what turned out to be a toy airsoft gun when he was shot by a police officer at a community park. Here are some images from a memorial on the site where he was shot and another story on a demonstration just a few days before Christmas to protest the shooting. (I cover and shoot protests and demonstrations whenever I can.)
I visit lots of museums and exhibits. Sometimes I’ll blog about them. Like the Museum of Too Modern Art in a small rural village in Slovenia. Or The Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, architecturally, one of my favorite museums on the planet. Or, exhibits like this comprehensive Stanley Kubrick retrospective at the National Museum in Krakow or a visit with the Mummies of Sucre.
I’m often asked what my favorite place on the planet is. It’s a tough call but usually I answer Patagonia. Both Argentine and Chilean. Some evidence:
- Hiking Patagonia’s Fitz Roy Trail: El Chalten Day Hike 1
- Patagonia’s Laguna Torre Trail – El Chalten Day Hike 2
- Patagonia’s Laguna Torre and Glaciar Grande
- The Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers in Chile’s Last Hope Sound: a Tour in Four Videos and 40 Photos
- Living up to a Name: Chilean Patagonia’s Enchanted Forest Trail, and
- Minefields, Guanaco, and the Magellan Strait – Ushuaia to Punta Arenas by Bus. Practical info on getting from Tierra del Fuego’s southernmost point to one that’s slightly less southernmost. One of the blog’s most visited posts for the past two years.
Do you like to visit cities?
I do to. Here’s a notebook entry looking back at eight days in the Argentine capital, Leaving Nostalgia Behind – A Buenos Aires Notebook. And here’s one on the time I visited Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany’s premiere winter sports center, in early February when there wasn’t any snow.
And from my occasional City Quickie video series, here are fairly brief but busy looks at Berlin, Doha, Qatar‘s West Bay area and the Moroccan capital, Rabat. And among my personal favorites, this time lapse video I shot in Sarajevo.
From the War and Conflict Archives
Just a handful to start:
- Remembering Argentina’s Dirty War. Memorials for the 30,000 that perished at the hand of the right-wing military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.
- Hoa Lo, aka The Hanoi Hilton: an Abbreviated Tour. Hoa Lo means ‘fiery furnace’, an apt name for this prison built to house those fighting the French and then later U.S. soldiers during the American war, or the Vietnam War.
- 60 Second Kobarid Museum Advisor. A museum in northwest Slovenia dedicated to chronicling the Twelve Battles of Isonzo Front which were later immortalized by Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms.
- Sarajevo Olympic Bobsled Run, 30 Years Later. A photo and video tour of Trebević Mountain, which in 1984 hosted the Olympic bobsled and luge competition and less than a decade later served as a Bosnian Serb artillery position during the siege of Sarajevo. A surreal stroll.
- And Agent Orange’s Golden Anniversary, an account of a visit to the Thanhxuan Peace Village, or Lang Hoa Binh Than Xuan, an orphanage, school and clinic in Hanoi set up specifically for victims of Agent Orange. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t think about this afternoon visit with the Agent Orange’s third generation.
The All-Time No. 1
And finally, the most visited post here: Did Anyone Tell the Amazon Swimmer About the Candirú?
Published in January 2007 –yes, the first full month that this blog existed– it went semi-viral in less than 24 hours and attracted nearly 30,000 visitors that day. Lesson learned? Posts about an obscure spiny fish that painfully lodges itself into a penis will attract a crowd. And still does.