MCoA - Vienna My Corner of Austria

My Corner of Austria: Richard Kerr in the Döblinger Cottage (19th District, Vienna)

Richard Kerr introduces us to his corner of Austria – Döblinger Cottage in Vienna’s 19th district.

What brought you to your corner of Austria?

I moved out to Vienna in the early 1990s and after number of flats in a few other districts, I settled with my wife in the Döblinger Cottageviertel almost 20 years ago. We’d been looking for a flat in an outer district and settled for the 19th when a place with character came up for sale privately through a friend (this is Austria after all!).

We’d lived in a number of other outer districts and we fancied a greener area, but also a part of the 19th that wasn’t too far from the city centre and wasn’t quite too touristy or half way up a hill without a Winterdienst. It nearly didn’t happen though, as initially I (incorrectly) presumed that the Cottageviertel was another part of Lower Austria alongside the Industrie-, Wein-, Most- and Waldvierteln.

What tradition or custom is typical for your corner of Austria?

The 19th district is associated with Heurigen and Buschenschank, and there are a number of vineyards in the district. We enjoy going to the smaller places that aren’t overrun with tourists, rather than some of the ones that get full up with coach parties. Weinhof Zimmermann is one we have always be fond of. We are lucky to have bus routes that take us to Neustift am Walde as well as bus and trams through to Grinzing or Nussdorf.

Neustift am Walde hosts the Neustifter Kirtag in August, but as someone not so good with crowds even before the pandemic, I avoid it, as it attracts massive crowds from all over the city. The street market has become quite tacky too. I prefer Neustift am Walde when it is less busy. I regularly head up by the 35A bus to the end stop in Salmannsdorf just past Neustift and walk back through the vineyards and along the Hackenbergweg through Untersievering.

Another of the events that attract the droves is the Weinwanderweg from Neustift to Nussdorf – Route 1 out of the four that are operated – in late September. It can be gloriously sunny and there are some good wines to taste (or grape juice for the more abstemious).

What would you recommend to a visitor who was visiting to see and do?

The Cottageviertel is well known for its villas – the oldest of which are soon to celebrate their 150th anniversaries, and the tree-lined streets look very pretty in the spring when the blossoms come out. I usually have just have a bit of a wander around some of the streets with visitors and let them admire some of the impressively restored and maintained villas.

The Zacherlfabrik was where Zacherlin, an insecticide, used to be produced. For a number of years there were all sorts of cultural events at the orientalist style building in Oberdöbling, but unfortunately that stopped. The building is occasionally open as part of the Open House Architecture Project.

We are also not too far away from the Japanese gardens (Setagayapark) which are particularly spectacular in the spring and autumn. We are also very close to the Türkenschanzpark which is a very popular park for joggers and Nordic walkers. The Sternwartepark (named after the observatory located there) is also a pleasant place to walk.

In absolute contrast architecturally, yet only a few minutes away by train on the S45, at Heiligenstadt there is the Karl-Marx-Hof, which is a great example of “Red Vienna” from the inter-war years, and also where there was fighting during the Austrian Civil War of 1934.

Where do you recommend to go to eat or to have a drink?

Döblinger Cottageviertel is sadly very “under-catered” although the district of Döbling has a lot of places to eat of varying price ranges. I am hoping that the Fischerbräu will re-open soon as it used to be well known for its Jazz-Fruhschoppen (jazz brunch).

Within walking distance from the Cottageviertel (or a couple of stops up the 40a), there is also the Salettl Pavillion up on Hartäckergasse by the Hugo-Wolf-Park, which is nice and local and good for a sundowner.

Over in Sievering there is a very pleasant restaurant, Eckel, which has been serving since 1901. Down on Döblinger Hauptstrasse, there is the very upmarket Brasserie Casino Zögernitz, although I haven’t been there.

How can your corner of Austria be reached (by car or public transport)?

From the U6 station at Nußdorferstrasse, on the Gürtel, there are a number of routes into the Cottageviertel, e.g. by tram (38 tram to Gatterburggasse) or bus (40a to Gregor-Mendel-Gasse). From Heiligenstadt (U4 terminus), the 10a bus runs up through the Cottageviertel and onto Türkenschanzpark and then all the way through to Meidling, and the S45 towards Hütteldorf stops at Oberdöbling and Krottenbachstrasse or Gersthof (having gone under the Türkenschanzpark) that allow access to the Cottageviertel.

Does anyone famous come from your corner of Austria?

Actress Romy Schneider was born in what is now the Rudolfinerspital, and a number of friends have ruled her as coming from Döbling. Hedy Lamarr, another star of the silver screen and latterly credited as an inventor also lived in Döbling for a while.

The Cottageviertel used to be home to Felix Salten (on Colloredogasse, of Bambi fame) and Arthur Schnitzler (author of Traumnovelle, which inspired Eyes Wide Shut, among other books), so has a certain literary charm to it.

Enjoyed reading this “My Corner of Austria”?

Richard Kerr has been writing his blog, The Curmudgeon in the Cottage, since 2017. He writes about his peeves, politics, Powidl, scandals and occasionally on topics of even less importance, like skiing and Felix Salten. As a soon prospective septuagenarian, he is in the prime of life in the Cottageviertel, old enough to twitch curtains and complain about prices, but youthful enough not to be offered a seat on the bus.

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