schuhservice no5

schuhservice no7

schuhservice no9

schuhservice no10

schuhservice no11

If you were looking at these pictures without knowing really where it is, where would you think you are?

I spent a half hour in this magic place the other evening. I knew I was late, past opening hours. In Austria, most services are not open past 6pm. The door was wide open, although it was dark inside. As I walked in I noticed a light still on in the back and cigarette smoke seeped and curled my way from behind a curtain.

The space was inviting, yet surreal at the same time. The mannequin standing beside me was staring aimlessly at the space just above my head, and shoes displayed in the window had a layer of dust on them. Perfectly retro, I was considering whether I could buy them. Second-hand is becoming my forte, you see (more to come on that subject later).

The posters and the funky out-of-place objects, such as the piggie-bank (an elephant in this case), the owl with wide eyes fit in just right.

I said “Halo,” and a voice replied, “Halo,” without any movement from behind the curtain separating the shop from the back room.

I asked, “Are you still open,” and the voice answered “Yes” (in German, which fit perfectly in the surreal environment). Still no sign of an actual human being. After what felt like a long time, the shop owner, with a big head of gray hair and huge hands covered in ink and dirt, showed up. He put his foot on the counter tying his shoe as he continued talking to me.

Even before I started writing, I had digressed, I realize.  But my experience at the cobbler was a memorable one. I am having my new, cool, chocolate-leather-brown boots (with a perfect heel) altered a bit, and I was hoping this cobbler would have the creative mind to do it…

We just have to wait and see the results. Enjoy the scene.

Photos by: Lauren Brassaw