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Travelling Istria

Today mostly part of Croatia the Istrian peninsula was known for its beauty and fertility already in ancient times. Travelling around you’ll discover Venetian architecture, green landscapes and deep blue beaches. It is the Mediterranean through and through with friendly people and good food. A place worth to discover.



Cathedrals of the Working Class: Rabenhof in Early Spring

After the devastations of World War I and facing huge societal and economic challenges the people of Vienna craved for change. A special problem were the poor living conditions of the working class, which very often lived in large tenements without warm water and communal toilets on the corridors. Large families lived in small apartments and very often they had to accomodate additional roomers to afford the overpriced rent. For these and other reasons the Socialist Party of Austria (SPÖ) was voted into power and planned a radical rethinking of the city in the 1920s. Large and modern communal building called Gemeindebauten were to be built with large inner yards for the workers to gather and thick walls to protect them. Among the first ones to be built was the Rabenhof in the 3rd Viennese district. Today known among Austrians mostly for the theater with the same name, which is located at the spot were the gathering hall for the workers used to be. The rent in these buildings was much lower and affordable, at the same time though the standard of living was much higher with private toilets, launderettes, private parks and a kindergarten. The same is true today as every 4th Viennese of different economic backgrounds lives in a Gemeindewohnung, around 3.500 of them in the Rabenhof building.


Urban Discoveries: Karma Ramen

Asked about a common Japanese dish most people would say Sushi instantly. Travelling Japan though you notice that Sushi is not as prevalent as you would think (though when you get it it’s so much better! A must at the fish market in Tokyo) and you learn that the true Japanese national dish is something else and it is called Ramen. Japanese people really love Ramen.

Basically Ramen are noodles in a bowl. They are sold in small restaurants specialised just in this particular dish. These places are very cozy and often run by families. Sometimes you pay at a machine and make your order there handing the receipt from the machine directly to the cook. Better known in the West is the instant variation of the dish: Instant Ramen.

But the real thing is so much better. In Vienna you can try them at Karma Ramen close to Kettenbrückengasse (subway U4). Not only you get delicious food there but also a nice atmosphere. The place celebrates Japanese influenced pop culture with posters and Godzilla. Because there is never enough Godzilla. Right?

Karma Ramen is open from Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 14:30 pm and from 18:00 pm to 23:00 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am to 16:00 pm.


The Bone Chapel

The Bone Chapel in Kutna Chora, Czech Republic can truly be a frighting place for some people. It is a Catholic church in a small town just one hour away from Prague with a very particular interior. The remains of 40,000 to 70,000 people decorate this chapel. Like in a Castlevania game there is an enormous chandelier of bones, which contains at least one of every bone in the human body, there is also a coat of arms made out of human remains and many other oddities. Come down with me and take a look at this very special place – but beware of the walking skeletons!














Tokyo After Dusk

After the sun sets and the electric lights turn on the city of Tokyo changes its form. While during the day the seemingly endless sea of concrete and glass is roamed by people it gets surprisingly quiet by night. Unlike New York or other so called world capitals Tokyo generally sleeps at night. Japanese people work a lot and additional office hours are common, so sleep is valued highly. Hard to belief but even the sprawling subway system is shutting down service for night time, so it can be cleaned and maintained for the upcoming day. Of course there are exceptions as no city with the size and proportions of Tokyo can truly go to bed. Like in a fever dream people continue playing and gambling in places like the entertainment district Akihabara or go to Izakayas, a kind of Japanese pub, to meet people, eat and drink. And of course there are the lights illuminating the allies and streets of Tokyo, bringing day into the night.



Urban Discoveries: Onisando 鬼サンド

Before we start I’d like to introduce to you a new series on In Urban Discoveries I am going to present interesting places to eat, drink and generally have a good time in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe. There is no regularity here and mostly my usual photography series will fill the pages, but this is definitely a new addition to the site. To continue my Japanese theme I followed over the winter (one more series is due!) let’s start with a Japanese place in good ol’ Vienna.

Onisando is a pretty fresh endeavour by the guys behind Karma Ramen. Like Japanese noodles the roots of the dish lie in late 19th century Japan. In the Meji restoration period as this time is referred to by historians the country opened up after a prolonged period of reclusiveness and let in foreign influences in culture, religion and cuisine. Katsu as the sandwiches Onisando are offering are called were probably invented in a restaurant in Tokyo in 1899 called Rengatei. Orinally it was a Japanese version of a very European dish – beef or pork cutlet with breadcrumbs. Hence the Japanese word katsuretsu for cutlet, or just short katsu. Later customers demanded  a takeaway version of the dish and so Tonkatsu was created, basically Japanese style cutlets served with cabbage in a sandwich topped with sauces.

And that’s exactly what you get at Onisando for prices around 7 to 10 Euro for a set with Miso soup and apple. There are a couple of staple sets with meat, vegetarian and dish options and limited editions which change around twice a month. Very delicious was a Matcha desert I got to try which is still in development and not yet finalized (last picture). Very interesting too is the general style of the shop. It’s quite small and cozy and hence very Japanese. But the art envisioned by the Polish artist NDZW merges Austrian with Japanese culture by placing Katsu sandwiches in different very Viennese spots – like for example the ferris wheel Riesenrad. Notable too are the strict geometric forms like you seem them very often in the land of the rising sun.

All in all Onisando is a very nice experience with good food and affordable prices. It is open weekdays from 11:30 to 15:00 at Fleischmarkt 26, 1010 Vienna. For more info please visit Thanks for inviting @kju_rose an me in.


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