Vienna's Schoenbrunn Palace

Austria & Vienna

Looking for a romantic weekend destination, I always opted for Paris and went there numerous times. I recently discovered another gem in Europe. A destination that combines easily with some genuine Bond location hunting: Vienna, the capital of Austria and home to the Habsburg dynasty.

While the country itself is mostly known for its mountains (Europeans like to hike and ski in the Alps), Austria has much more to offer. This is the country that gave us romantic, classical music. Birthplace of famous composers like Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Mahler and Strauss, Austria leans heavily on its cultural heritage. And for a good reason. Even though Salzburg is Austria's musical capital, Vienna is a good second, beating the other cities on many other territories. All in all it makes a great holiday destination, and the fact that large parts of The Living Daylights (1987) and SPECTRE (2015) were filmed here, only adds to it.
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Austria's central European location has always made the country an interesting ally and many powers have successfully tried this tactic over the years. After being part of the 'Holy Roman Empire' until the early 1800's, Austria formed a dual-monarchy with Hungary in 1867. In this form it joined forces with Germany in World War 1. After the defeat of the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Turkish 'Ottoman' Empire), the country became a republic until 1933. Once again, Austria turned to Germany and was annexed in the Greater German Empire. The country fought alongside the Axis Powers (Germany and Italy) in World War II, and after the end of war it was occupied by the Allies until 1955. Austria then became an independent republic and joined the United Nations. In 1999, the country became part of the European Union.

While I have to admit this travel story's title fits the city of Berlin better, it does seem to apply to Vienna as well. Due to its proximity to the former Eastern European border (Hungary's Bratislava is only 60 km away) Vienna has a certain Eastern European atmosphere. This was very well understood by EON's film crew back in 1986, when they were in full preparation for their latest James Bond film "The Living Daylights". In Ian Fleming's original short story, the main location is Berlin, but since Octopussy had recently been filmed there, director John Glen had to look elsewhere. In Vienna he found two cities he needed for the newly written script: Romantic Vienna and dark Bratislava.
The Volkoper, from where Koskov escaped to the West in The Living Daylights (1987)
The Antonigasse, where the tram scenes and Kara's apartment were filmed for The Living Daylights (1987)
When you return to the U-bahn line 6, go one station back, towards Siebenhirten. Exit at station Michelbeuern - Allgemeines Krankenhaus. Leave the station and do not cross the street towards the hospital, but go to the other side of the street. There you will find the Antonigasse where Kara's apartment is located. The Antonigasse is a long road and it takes about 30 minutes to walk to the apartment, since it is located all the way at the other end. But it's worth the walk.

You might remember the old Eastern European look the street once had, with its cobble stones. These have mostly disappeared and can only be found on the parking spaces on both sides of the modernised street. You will also remember the tram line driving past Kara's apartment, and you will probably wonder, like I did, why there is no visible tram line track on the Antonigasse. Are we on the wrong road then?

Truth is, as you will notice, the tram line actually runs through Kreuzgasse, the street running parallel to the Antonigasse. But all the way at the end, the tram line leaves the Kreuzgasse and runs for just one block through the Antonigasse, to return to the Kreuzgasse immediately afterwards. Here's where you will find Kara's apartment.


This and much more can be found in the chapter 'Where East meets West' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected hotels:

Palais Schwarzenberg

Vienna, Austria
The elegant and baroque hotel 'Im Palais Schwarzenberg' was Bond'& Kara's hotel in Vienna, in The Living Daylights. The hotel has been closed for many years, due to a total renovation. It is unclear when it will reopen.
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