Best of Bond
How does James Bond manage such an opulent lifestyle on the British Government? It's true that sometimes he's sleeping rough under the stars – but there's many a night where he seems to be sleeping in five star plus luxury hotel rooms.
However he did it – from his winnings on the casino tables he so often frequents, alongside villains, to a the most generous expense account in the world – there's a lot about the Bond lifestyle to aspire to. So why not take some travel tips from this international traveller and consider one of the locations 007 has made famous for your next break?
If your first meeting with Bond was in Her Majesty's Secret Service, and you were immediately impressed with his prowess on the snowfields then it'll be the Inferno run scene you'll be wanting to reproduce. This scene, and most of the others in this film - including the ones in the very famous Piz Gloria revolving restaurant which 'played' Blofeld's alpine lair, was shot at Mürren, near Grindelwald, Switzerland. As well as stunt skiiers, Swiss Olympic athletes helped out with the filming. These days you still can't reach Mürren by public road, and you'll do most of your travelling around here by romantic cable car.
If you first met Bond in Moonraker, then you'll want to visit Rio's Sugar Loaf Mountain, scene of Bond's dramatic cable car borne fight with Jaws.
If you came to Bond later, around GoldenEye, then you might have been more impressed by the bungee jump off Verzasca Dam. This has been voted the best movie stunt of all time – and it's not beyond us mere mortals to recreate it. Apparently you soar as close to the surface of the dam as Bond does, for all 220 metres of the drop. The dam is close to Locarno, Switzerland, so you could ski and jump.
If you're more into the luxury side of the Bond experience then Château de Chantilly will probably be more your sort of thing. This wonderful palace, now also a very well recognised art gallery, was used as another lair, this time belonging to Max Zorin in A View to a Kill. Or consider visiting the incredibly positioned Agia Triada Monastery on Crete, which appears in the final scenes of For Your Eyes Only.
As well as visiting places where the films have been, well, filmed, a Bond-o-phile could visit places that have taken Bond's name, like James Bond Beach near Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and close to Flemming's holiday home 'Goldeneye', where you can now stay and where he wrote many of the Bond novels. For added Bond themed luxury, this beach, which has man made dunes to make them look extra perfect, has a beach bar and grill called 'Moonraker'.
Or visit James Bond Island, which juts out of Thailand's Andaman Sea. This location got its Bond credit in 1974 in The Man with the Golden Gun, where it's yet another exotically located lair, this time belonging to Scaramanga.
You probably couldn't plan a Bond holiday without visiting at least one casino, where you'll, of course, need to order one of his favourite tipples. The most famous Bond casino is the Casino Royale, but there's contention in the Bond camp about which real life casino best deserves to be on the James Bond pilgrimage trail. Estoril Casino in Lisbon, is certainly a contender. It was a well known secret agent hang out - if such a thing could exist - and Flemming's story is said to come from a selection of true events that took place here during his Navy days – one of them about being taken to the cleaners by German spies while playing baccarat. The other three casinos claiming links to the royale one are the Casino de Cayeux sur Mer, which is in about the right location, the Casino Royale Montenegro, where the most recent version of the film was shot, and the Monte Carlo Casino - which is where most of us already probably thought the book and film were set anyway, and where scenes from both GoldenEye and Never Say Never Again were shot.
Where ever your adventures take you may Bond's luck be with you.
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