Back To The Past
07 October, 2015
Dornbirn is a town in the administrative district of the same name, located in the federal state of Vorarlberg in Austria. it lies south of Bregenz, near the borders of Switzerland, Germany and Liechtenstein. The Dornbirner Ach river flows through the town before draining into Lake Constance. Dornbirn is the largest town in Vorarlberg and an important hub of trade. It is the regional site of ORF (the Austrian Radio and Television Service), the Fachhochschule (Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences) and other institutions. The town was a major centre of the textile industry until its decline in the 1980s.
The Martinimarkt (St Martin’s Market) of Dornbirn is one of the leading markets in Austria. Participants include exhibitors, schools, clubs and restaurants from all over the district. The hallmark of this market is its pronounced nostalgic character, as everyone dresses up in costumes from the early 19th century. This year’s theme is “sharing” as legend has it that St Martin shared his cloak with a beggar. This has prompted merchants to offer visitors their regional or homemade wares. Schools and clubs make special offers on that day, too, and workshops are held to show how hand-made or recycled products are crafted. As in previous years, the Martinimarkt is held in the town centre, which turns into a huge stage hosting a mass tableau vivant.
The day starts early. At 8.45 a.m. everyone converges around the clock tower, adjoining the market square, where free coffee is served. This is the gesture by which the merchants welcome their visitors. At 10 o’clock, the mayor, attired in period costume, presides over the official opening ceremony by delivering a speech from the Red House staircase.
Afterwards, to get into the swing of things, you either wander around the street stalls or stand and watch people filing past. It is like going back in time to a period in which the word “motor” meant as little as “iPhone 7”. Here, you can find anything – and try everything, too! When it comes to cuisine, pride of place is given to traditional local cooking: coffee, käsfladen (flat bread and cheese typical of the region), noodle soup, apple fritters, potato balls, etc. The entertainment part includes a dance floor for participating in the local folk dances, with live music provided by a band, making for a setting seemingly having leaped out of a romantic novel, while children can have a whale of a time in the antique fairground. One of the most popular games here is the wheel of fortune, the proceeds of which are earmarked for charity.
Dinner and Overnight
After a day packed with emotions, your legs start feeling heavy as evening approaches. At this stage, the best thing is to get your strength back and have a hearty dinner. Here are some recommendations in the fascinating town of Dornbirn.
1. Rotes Haus
If you want to discover local cuisine in all its splendour, head for Rotes Haus. This restaurant is a classic. What’s more, it is located next to the market square, so you can’t get any closer than that. When we went there, we ordered a consommé with panqueque (a South American variation on the pancake) with grated local herbs, and a breaded beef escalope with parsley potatoes and cranberries – we loved this typical local dish!
2. Zum Verwalter
This is actually a boutique hotel gourmet-restaurant. The establishment is a lovely timber house which will wow enthusiasts of interior design, as all the rooms are done out in different décor. Each space is a story on its own. The gourmet restaurant is on the ground floor. It is certainly unique as far as local catering is concerned. The restaurant enjoys long-standing acclaim, thanks to its marked admix of traditional cuisine, striking a marked contrast with the young catering staff. They offer locally sourced market produce. Their meat is outstanding, while the roast beef is spectacular!
3. Pasta Fresca da Giovanni
This is clearly the best value-for-money option. Located on the Stadtstrasse, this restaurant is conveniently situated next to the main road going through the town. The interior is very relaxing as the decoration is sparse. We recommend you order the pasta of the house, as they make it themselves. The ravioli stuffed with plum and the cheese-fondue potatoes are unbeatable.
All aboard for your trip back in time… check out our flights.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
Images by Jerey Keith, Pasta Fresca da Giovanni, Zum Verwalter
07 October, 2015