I went to Austria, but not to shop. I went to a Strugar shoes promotion in Vienna. I promised him I’d take photos of the event but also help with loading/unloading stuff so that people wouldn’t say I go to the gym in vain. For some of you who still don’t know, Strugar is the most famous Croatian handmade men shoes manufacturer and currently one of the TOP500 shoe makers in the world.

I have arrived to Vienna at three am via bus and instead of Mozart, I was greeted by the sounds of Balkan from a Mercedes parked nearby. Since the subway didn’t drive at those small hours, I got in the parked taxi and conversed in fluent Serbian with the nice cabbie who told me a touching Gastarbeiter story. I shall write more about that in my column about the Arcotel hotel where I stayed during my time at the Austrian metropolis (I definitely recommend it to everyone).

I woke up early in the morning in order to catch breakfast at the hotel. Oh Chucherye God of meat, please forgive me for this vegetarian meal I am about to eat. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!

After the breakfast, I headed for the city to take some photos of it, but also help Strugar’s wife unload the van.

Unfortunately, Neno Strugar had to stay at his Zagreb shop, but the two of us got to work. It was a scene much like you would see in the show Only fools and horses. Only, I don’t know who was little Rodney and who Delboy. I suppose the photo will answer that question.

As you can see, one of my tasks was to ensure the chairs and the tables were carried at the right angle. When we (it sounds better when I use plural) unloaded the entire truck, we went to the film prop studio. We were supposed to get two more antique tables over there. The only problem was that we had half an hour to get there before it closed and the GPS was leading us everywhere except for our wished destination. In the end we shut Doris off and navigated on our own. We got there at the last second and were greeted at the entrance by a kind Montenegro gentleman saying: “Take it easy, bro. Where’s the hurry?”. Honestly, this Vienna is a small Yugoslavia.

This time I helped unload the tables and came back tomorrow morning at 10 am when the event: Strugar Handmade Shoes Pop – Up in Vienna 2017 officially started. The shoes were displayed at a gorgeous apartment situated at the very center of Vienna in the Strobelgasse 2 street. Across from the apartment was the very place Mozart spent a part of his life at, but I was much more impressed by the Mozart chocolates on the kitchen table.

The Austrians are very conservative when it comes to shoes so it was interesting to observe all of these grown, serious people and successful businessmen acting like little kids when they saw the Strugar shoes. The moment you walked into the room, you realized this was not about shoes – these were little works of art. People were taking photos with them, trying them on, arranging them around the carpet, observing from every angle and didn’t take smiles off their faces. It was a bigger problem for their wives who recognized themselves in their husbands. They were asking why there weren’t any female models. Here are a few photos so you can see what it all looked like and you can also notice how I couldn’t resist trying on some of the shoes either. In the end I gave in and ordered another pair of Strugar shoes.

The event went great. There were even some ideas about opening a Strugar shoes store there so don’t be surprised if there is a new event in Vienna promoting Strugars new shop. For all of you who haven’t had a chance to be in Vienna, feel free to stop by the Strugar shop in Zagreb or Belgrade and in the meantime, check this video from Vienna and enjoy the perfection of the design and master craft.


Zagreb, Ilica 33

tel: 01 483 3344


Beograd, ulica Cara Lazara 10

tel: 060 4 22 11 87


PS: Special thanks to Canon Croatia – Canon EOS 6D camera and the Arcotel hotel

Author: Joe Novosel aka Dear Leader, selfeffacing lover of busses, a member of a magazine “Loan sharks are humans too”, a friend of the wealthy, above all a human, at last but not least a taycoon and a snob.

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