CommanderBond.net
  1. Piz Gloria about to receive ‘face lift’ – and OHMSS too!

    Piz Gloria

    Austrian newspaper ‘der Standard’ this week had a short feature about plans to give the Bond experience atop the Schilthorn in the Swiss Alps – legendary mountain lair of Blofeld in 1969’s ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ – a major overhaul. While first rumours about this project – aptly named ‘Bond World’ – appeared as early as February, this time the report adds some interesting titbits that are likely to make fans’ mouths water.

    The famous Piz Gloria revolving restaurant and cable car station offer a spectacular mountain panorama with Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau and a range of over 200 further Alpine summits surrounding the Schilthorn. At just a tad short of 11,500 ft. this James Bond location is truly breathtaking in more than just visual terms.

    Yet it must be noted that the actual Bond element at Piz Gloria has  become just a tiny bit dated and frayed at the edges. A seminar room with a couple of wall charts, a roll-down screen where a digest of familiar Bond scenes are shown – not exactly what you’d call up-to-date in the 21st century.

    Well, according to der Standard that’s about to change drastically. The start of summer hiking/climbing season 2013 will see the grand opening of the ‘Bond World’ at Piz Gloria, with a Bond cinema, 400 square metres of multimedia area with interactive elements and an option to even have your own face copied into the famous ski chases of ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. Finally the Bond actors will unite on the observation deck/helipad – as waxworks. Still, when are you ever likely to see all the Bond actors in one place?

    ‘Bond World’ at the Piz Gloria summit station is set to open on 28th June 2013,  and in the real-life presence of George Lazenby, who returns for this event to the location of his sole entry in the Bond series.

    Helmut Schierer @ 2013-03-23
  2. Boats and Trains and Planes – and a Taxi

    tangier_open2
    James Bond creator Ian Fleming has been criticized for the open racism and snobism in the above quote, but to be honest, on my first visit in Tangier twenty-two years ago, I initially found it to be not that far from how Fleming described it. Arriving at the port, one could see dozens of people waiting for the tourist ferries, and after disembarking, passengers found themselves harassed by hustlers who wanted to sell trinkets, carpets or kif (hashish), be their guide or just begging (more or less aggressively) for a Dirham (the local currency) or two. Despite looking great from the sea, the town didn’t make a very much inviting impression but more that of a faded grandeur, and until a few years ago, travelers were advised not to stay there for long if it can be avoided. I remember that two kilometer walk from the pier to the old train station as quite an ordeal, and we were happy to get out of town quickly, with only one from our backpackers group of five being ripped off in a dark alley, where he found himself getting “convinced” to buy an overpriced souvenir with a knife as an argument. And it certainly wasn’t better in the 1950’s when Fleming wrote this.

    HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco

    Today, all this has changed very much – for the better. They say the old King Hasan II didn’t like Tangier very much and neglected it. People were to look more or less after themselves, which is always a good breeding ground for hustlers, crime and dubious business. King Mohammad VI (enthroned in 1999), was well aware of the city’s bad reputation, and as Tangier still is a main gate to Morocco from Europe, he rightfully assumed that it would rub off on the rest of the country. He had the hustlers and con-men cleaned out and started a modernisation project coinciding with Tangier’s bid to host the 2012 International Exposition (for which the final vote went to Yeosu/South Korea). Today, Tangier is safe for tourists to visit as can be. Once all the new buildings are completed and some of the old ones received a new coat of paint, it will certainly become a popular traveling destination in Morocco – even though it will have lost a lot of it’s old magic by then.

    A Night in CasablancaJust a few more words before I get to the point: I always wanted to return and pay Morocco a proper visit, as the first time was merely shooting in and out within three days. And as my Bond fandom was a bit on hiatus at that time, I didn’t care for visiting locations. My plan was a visit to a friend, who’s living in southern Spain, then by bus to Algeciras, by ferry to Tangier and by train down south to Marrakech, with a stopover (in honor of the Marx Brothers and not Humphrey Bogart) spending A Night in Casablanca. On my way back, a short visit (I scheduled half a day) to Tangier to see some of the locations from The Living Daylights. A cheap direct flight to Marrakech would have been possible, but I wanted a bit of a traveling adventure, a journey by boats, trains and planes.

    Gibraltar was used in The Living Daylights

    There are some opportunities in southern Spain to visit Bond locations. Cadiz, which doubled for Cuba in Die Another Day, and of course Gibraltar Rock from The Living Daylights‘ pre- title sequence. But with my limited timeframe – each of them would have cost me a day – I had to make the tough decision to skip them both. I would at least see Gibraltar from the ferry. I reckon that there also would have been some locations from Raymond Benson’s Doubleshot, but as I haven’t read that book (one reason for that being it’s unavailability in German), I decided not to delve deeper and to omit those, too.

    The Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou, Kamran Shah’s headquarters

    With Marrakech being my final destination, I was also thinking about going to Ouarzazate and the Kasbah of Aït Benhaddou (where TLD’s Afghanistan scenes were shot) which is within relatively short distance. But this would have meant a four hour bus ride over Atlas passes and through the desert at 50°C (about 120°F), with a stay of only two hours (should the bus make it on time) to find some remote locations that are spread within a 50 kilometer range, and then another four hours back. A near impossible task, which made that idea an easy one to drop.

    The Medina of Casablanca. Easy to get lost in there.

    So what was left was the locations in Tangier, either on the way to or back from Marrakech, depending on which would work better. With connections to catch in countries that don’t always work exactly on the hour and a hotel room booked in Casablanca, I decided to do it on the way back.

    Casablanca isn’t and never was like the movie at all. A big urban Moloch with shantytowns in the outskirts. The city centre is a mix of traditional and colonial architecture, but has also modern buildings. Interesting Medina (easy to get lost), but there are areas to better stay away from, especially after dark.

    One of the most amazing places in the world:
    the Djemma el Fna Square in the heart of Marrakesh.

    Marrakech is a different kettle of fish and a truly memorable experience. It’s a minor miracle that this amazing city was never used in any Bond movie (not even in The Living Daylights), as it has many sights and places to offer that would be more than perfect locations for a 007 adventure. In Alfred Hitchcock’s 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, the McKenna family stayed at the famous Mamounia Hotel and he also had the secret agent character Louis Bernard killed after a foot chase through the Medina and across the Djemma El Fna Square in that movie, but that was more than half a century ago. High time that this city sees some good spy action again – but I digress.

    Talking about spy action, the city of Tangier had plenty of that in it’s past. Even a brief version of the city’s history would ad an extra page to this already lengthy article, so I cut it short by simply referring you to Wikipedia for more information. Governments changed quite often in Tangier, which gained status as an “international city” in 1923 (thus being ruled over by no less than nine European countries, which is as good as by none at all) upon which it quickly turned into a real nest of spies and a den of thieves. This status lasted – with brief intermissions – until Morocco received full independence in 1956.

    A vintage poster for the Hotel El Minzah

    Tangier is said to be the blueprint for how Casablanca is depicted in the movie, with ‘Rick’s Café Americain’ partly being modeled after ‘Caid’s Piano Bar’ at the famous Hotel El Minzah. Built in 1930, it has always been the king of luxury hotels in northern Morocco, residence for international literates, expatriates and spies of all provenances. Just up the road is the ‘Gran Café de Paris’ – the other role model for Rick’s Café, a meeting point for dubious agents, smugglers and crooks of all kinds in WW2 and the Cold War. But let me start this off properly…

    On my second arrival in Tangier during this trip, I came in from south on the night train from Marrakech with only half an hour delay after an eleven hour ride. Even though I had booked and paid for a single sleeping compartment, I had found myself tucked into an ordinary ‘couchette’ compartment with three other passengers: a lady from Spain and a young couple from Los Angeles, who likewise didn’t get the double compartment they had originally paid for. No one snorted, no one stank, so we made the best of it and all got along while riding northward through the night. After a quick refreshment in the overcrowded Tangier station lavatory, that couple and I shared a taxi to the old port close to the heart of the city. Our driver told us that ferries from the old port now only go to Tarifa/Spain (which worked perfectly well for my American friends) but the ones to Algeciras – which I had to go with – were all leaving from the new port Tanger Med, 50 kilometers east of town.

    This meant two things for me: first, with no real reason to be there (i.e. holding a ferry ticket to Tarifa) I wouldn’t be able to snoop around the old port looking for the place were Felix Leiter’s boat was moored, and second, the taxi ride (no trains or buses to the new port, yet) would cost me another hour. This year’s daylight savings time had ended earlier than usual, just two days ago, because of the beginning of Ramadan, so the time shift between Europe and Morocco was now two hours. Which meant that – without doing anything – I had already lost three and a half hours and my intended stay of half a day in Tangier was now cut down to a mere two hours, maybe less. Not at all like I had so masterfully planned in advance, but I had to make the best of the situation, and so I decided to do my tour not by walking- as I would have preferred – but by taxi.

    My driver from the station, Hassan, was one of the rare breed of Moroccans who’s French was practically non-existent but who’s English was really good. Turned out that he had worked as a seasonal harvest worker in England in his early years, and that he was always keen on preserving his language skills. So we went into a bit of the customary bargaining and settled on a price of 300 Dirhams (roughly 30 Euros) for a tour of town according to my plan and the ride to the new port.

    The Palais Mendoub aka The Forbes Museum, Brad Whitaker’s headquarters. The house isn’t open to the public any more. Taking photos is forbidden (hence a stock photo).

    My first destination was the ‘Palais Mendoub’ in the Rue Shakespeare, Brad Whitaker’s headquarter in The Living Daylights, which is located a bit outside of town. At the time of shooting in 1986, the house belonged to media tycoon Malcolm Forbes, for whom it served as residence, party location and also to host his famous collection of toy soldiers. The house went back to to the Moroccan government a few years after Forbes’ death, his little armies, prominently used in 007’s final fight against Whitaker, were donated to the American Legation Museum in the Medina of Tangier. Today, the Palais serves as a guest house for high dignitaries (such as King Juan Carlos of Spain) when they visit King Mohammed VI of Morocco, who’s Tangier palace is located on the opposite side of the road. Knowing about this, I had certain fears before, and they unfortunately came true.

    The villa where Felix Leiter set up his CIA spy post.
    That Palm tree on the left has grown a bit, since.

    When we got there, we found the place guarded by two soldiers, and all the King’s men (not to mention all the King’s horses) wouldn’t allow me to take a picture of the building and instead protect King and Country from the world’s 007 fans. After my futile attempts to convince them by showing screenshots and telling them about James Bond, my driver Hassan tried his best with talking to them in Arabic, but gave up after a few minutes. “These are idiots,” he said. “Everyone in the world knows James Bond, only those two airheads never heard of him. They have no clue what we’re talking about.” We briefly thought of attempting a “drive-by-shooting”, but dismissed the idea as it could have resulted in some trouble for Hassan. The guards didn’t have a problem with me taking pictures of the house in which Felix Leiter had set up his spying post next to the Palais, so at least I hadn’t come completely in vain.

    Entrance of the Hotel El Minzah in the Rue de la Liberté.

    Next stop was the Place de France and the Rue de la Liberté, were the rest of my locations to visit are within just a minute’s walk. First off, there’s the aforementioned Hotel El Minzah. When I started researching for this trip and first read about it, I was of the opinion that it must have served as General Pushkin’s Tangier residence, the ‘Hotel Île de France’. But when I saw pictures of it, I immediately knew that this wasn’t the case. The Hotel entrance is located directly at the street, with no fence or gate or even a park that would fit the movie image. Judging from pictures and because the El Minzah was the movie crew’s hotel, it’s still possible that the interior scenes for the “Île de France” where shot there, but I couldn’t find any mention of that. But nonetheless, there’s still some importance to this place.

    Ian Fleming wrote The Diamond Smugglers
    at the Hotel El Minzah.

    Our numerous Fleming experts certainly know what I’m talking about: it’s the very place where Ian Fleming met up with ‘John Blaize’ (John Collard) to interview him on the activities of the ‘International Diamond Security Organization’, stroll around in Tangier and subsequently write The Diamond Smugglers within his two weeks’ stay there in April 1957. “Welcome! I’m in room 52. Would you give me a ring when you arrive and we’ll have a drink. Good to have you here. Ian F.” read the note Collard was presented by a porter on his arrival at the El Minzah (TDS, Preface). Visiting room 52 certainly wasn’t possible, but taking a picture of the entrance wasn’t forbidden, this time.

    One of the places Fleming also frequented in Tangier was “Dean’s Bar” just around the corner, but this foolish researcher tried to work off his must-see list out of his head instead of consulting the written list in his pocket. To make it brief: I simply forgot about it. It was here where Fleming told people about Collard’s cover of being an expert on Coelacanths (TDS, Ch. 7). The bar was closed at that time in the morning, anyway, and the entrance door is a more than unspectacular sight to see, so there isn’t too much gone missing here. Hope you’re willing to accept a picture of said ‘missing link’ fish as a compensation.

    The Gran Café de Paris, where Bond spied
    on General Pushkin in The Living Daylights,
    has a place in espionage history.

    Another place to visit was of course the Gran Café de Paris, where Collard tells the story of the Gem Beach (TDS, Ch. 2). A place like this one certainly was a must for Fleming, and it makes me wonder that I’ve never heard anyone mention the pretty obvious homage to Fleming and espionage history in The Living Daylights, when Bond parks his car just outside the Gran Café after tailing Pushkin from the Trade conference to his hotel, to watch him meet up with his secretary Rubavitch at the Hotel Île de France. Timothy Dalton was never more ‘Fleming’s Bond’ than in this scene. The place still looks exactly the same as it did in the movie, except for the fact that the lettering is now black instead of red. And it has to be mentioned here: this is also the Cafe from “The Bourne Ultimatum” where Nicky Parsons waits for Bourne and later destroys her mobile phone. Sorry, Jason, our man was here first. Lack of time prevented me from sitting down and having a cup of mint tea (Morocco’s national drink).

    Mystery solved: It’s the French Consulate in Tangier that doubled for the ‘Hotel Île de France’ in The Living Daylights.

    And then for the “Hotel Île de France” itself. I had done some research before, about where to find that place – with no result – and also asked the expert, On the Tracks of 007 author Martijn Mulder himself, who admitted that he had looked at probably half of all the hotels in Tangier, but never found the correct one, something that rarely happens to him. I also heard a story about the building having been long given up by the time of shooting and that it was just a bit freshened up for the movie (much like the Casino building in Casino Royale). All this didn’t sound very promising, but one night when I wanted to check out Tangier on Google Earth for one last time before giving up, it hit me like a hammer: what if (very unusual for a Bond movie) there was no location cheating at all and the “Hotel” is exactly were it’s supposed to be in the movie – directly opposite the Gran Café.

    Upon consulting Google Earth, I could already see it: the building, the park, the driveway, even the fountain – it was all there: it’s the French consulate in Tangier. “Consulat de France” became “Hotel Île de France” – they didn’t even need to change the entire lettering. An image search on Google brought final confirmation: Bingo! Sometimes, it’s that easy. Standing in front of the Gran Café, all I had to do was turn around and click right away. Luckily, the French officials were a bit more cooperative than the Moroccan ones and didn’t see a problem in me taking some pictures, they just didn’t want to open the gate for me as the place was closed at that time of the day.

    Aerial view of Tangier.
    The Bond locations are marked on the large version.

    And that was the end of this rather short visit to Tangier. All that was left to do for me now was heading to the new port – a pleasant ride along the coast – thank my driver Hassan once again for his helpfulness, and then go and catch some more trains and boats and planes to bring me back home. And certainly not forget to take some pictures of yet another Bond location – Gibraltar – from the ferry.

    Heiko Baumann @ 2010-08-26
  3. 'On The Tracks Of 007' Travel Guide

    As several James Bond fans may be well aware, Martijn Mulder’s On The Tracks Of 007 website has quickly become a one-stop online guide to the exotic locations featured in the world of Bond.

    Today, CommanderBond.net reports the exciting news that this unique travel guide will be debuting in book format this September. The press release follows:

    Dutch 007 connoisseur Martijn Mulder has written a unique field guide to the exotic James Bond filming locations around the world. Four time Bond director Guy Hamilton contributed a foreword for the book, which is published by DMD Digital and is scheduled for release early September. Filled with historical background information, travel directions and location photographs, On The Tracks Of 007 brings you as close to the filming locations as you can get, enabling you to relive your favourite James Bond scenes AND travel the world within the turn of a page.

    Together with his co-author, the late Dirk Kloosterboer from Germany, Mulder spent many family holidays researching, finding, mapping out and photographing all the locations ever used in the James Bond films. These–often spectacular–findings were turned into 30 detailed travel stories and for many years formed the heart of one of the longest running Bond related websites on the Net, Onthetracksof007.com. With Bond mania about to peak (the release of the new Bond film Quantum of Solace is later this year), Mulder edited the stories and 665 photographs, presenting a one-of-a-kind field guide that will definitely please fans, travellers, film buffs and adventurers from around the world.

    “No Bond fan who’s thinking of visiting any of the countries in which 007 has had adventures should be without this indispensable guide!” says Graham Rye, editor and publisher of 007 Magazine, “Where the Bond traveller may once have wasted many valuable hours in an effort to locate the various film locations in whichever country, Martijn Mulder and Dirk Kloosterboer’s exhaustive work has lifted that burden from all 007 holidaymakers, making their trip to that country even more enjoyable.”

    On The Tracks Of 007 is available with either B/W or full colour interior and features travel stories to exotic destinations like Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico, Japan, Egypt, Thailand and India, and cities like Paris, Hamburg, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Amsterdam. The 288-page book lists all used locations from Dr. No (1962) to Casino Royale (2006) and includes information on the latest Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008). Additionally, a full listing is included of all hotels ever used in the Bond films.

    Early September, On The Tracks Of 007 will be available at onthetracksof007.com and online resellers like Amazon.com and Lulu.com, but can of course also be ordered at local book stores worldwide.

    Visit On The Tracks Of 007 for cover artwork and additional details about this forthcoming release.

    Stay tuned to the CBn main page for the latest news from the world of James Bond.

    Devin Zydel @ 2008-08-24
  4. Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Today, CommanderBond.net has the honour of running a guest article from Martijn Mulder, who manages the On The Tracks Of 007 website–an online travel guide to the thrilling James Bond filming locations around the world. Enjoy.

    Written by Martijn Mulder

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Like in Sean Connery’s Dr. No, also in Roger Moore’s first entry as James Bond in Live and let Die, the main location is Jamaica. In 1974 it was decided that The Man with the Golden Gun (TMWTGG) was going to be Roger’s second 007-adventure. Most of the action in Ian Fleming’s novel of the same name yet again takes place in Jamaica. So it was obvious that for the film, the story had to be transferred to a completely different part of the world. The producers came up with some unparalleled locations in the Far East. The chase of the hitman Francisco Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee) takes Bond from Macau and Hong Kong via Bangkok to the luxuriant holiday resort Phuket in the south of Thailand. To visit all these places it would be a good idea to combine sightseeing tours to the above mentioned cities with a relaxing beach holiday in the island of Phuket.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    With one location the producers of TMWTGG tricked us. The estate of industrialist Hai Fat is supposed to be in Bangkok, Thailand. But you notice on first sight that the style of the buildings is not Thai but Chinese. In reality the estate is beautifully situated along Castle Peak Road, in the western part of Tsuen Wan, in the New Territories. This former barren hillside was turned into a classical Chinese garden by Hong Kong businessman Lee Iu Cheung, in the 60’s. He called his garden Lung-Po, the ‘Dragon Garden’.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Lee Iu Cheung was an incredible man of his times. Newspapers referred to him as a “tycoon” because of his wealth, but “philanthropist” would have been more appropriate. He never led a life of extravagance, unlike the tycoons in the news these days. He personally got involved in the community to not only plan, but to implement, charitable projects to help build the Hong Kong community, especially in the postwar years. He was involved in over 50 associations, including serving as a Director of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals for 29 years, building free schools and medical facilities for the Chinese during British rule. He built low-cost housing for the poverty-stricken to give them a fresh start in life. He graduated from the University of Hong Kong; was the first Chinese to graduate from Harvard; did a special program in River Conservancy at Cornell University (so he could help flood victims in Guangzhou Province); helped establish the Chinese University; served in neighborhood committees as a community leader, etc. He purchased the land to build Dragon Garden from the HK Government to “beautify Hong Kong” in 1948. He had the vision, not only for the enjoyment of his own family, but for the Hong Kong public, to build an everlasting heritage site.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Designed by renowned Chinese architect Chu Pin, who was involved in the restoration of the Forbidden City in Beijing, the garden is covered with hundreds of species of trees and flowers, as well as ponds, footpaths, bridges and architecture of the Song, Ming and Qing dynasties. Mid 2006, the garden was saved at the eleventh hour from being sold to a developer, mainly thanks to the efforts of Cynthia Lee, Grand Daughter of Lee Iu Cheung, who managed to convince her family and the Hong Kong Government of the historical importance of this cultural heritage. Cynthia even established the Dragon Garden Charitable Trust in July 2006 for the purpose of saving cultural heritage in Hong Kong.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    During our first visit to Hong Kong, in the 90’s, we had never managed to find this location, so for years it was simply described by us as ‘remote’, ‘private’ and ‘unaccessible’. In the summer of 2006, while doing research, I stumbled upon the Dragon Garden Charitable Trust website, recently set up by Cynthia. Thank God for the Internet..! When it became clear that a second visit to Hong Kong was possible, I immediately contacted her and we soon agreed on a time and date.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    From Hong Kong Island, the best way to reach Dragon Garden is by Metro and taxi. The Tsuen Wan Metro Line (direction Tsuen Wan) takes you as close as the Metro can, to Tsuen Wan. When you leave the station using the southern exits, you will be at Castle Peak Road, the old road leading from Kowloon to Castle Peak at Tuen Mun. Outside the station it should not be very difficult to find a taxi, since Castle Peak Road is a busy street. The hard part is explaining where you want to go to, since first of all taxi drivers speak very poor English, and second of all, Dragon Garden is not a destination they are likely to know. Best thing to do is to name ‘Sea Crest Villa Phase 4’ as your destination. This huge luxury appartment block is located just next to the garden and there’s a good chance your taxi driver will know it.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Unable to attend herself, Cynthia had kindly arranged for Henry Lo to receive us. Henry, Research Development Officer at the Chinese University’s Chinese Architectural History Unit is currently working on the conservation of the estate and would prove to be an adept tour guide as well. We arrived at 10am at the front gate where Henry let us in.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    James Bond visits Dragon Garden twice in The Man With The Golden Gun. The first visit comes as a surprise to Lieutenant Hip who supports Bond while the latter is looking over the garden’s surrounding wall. Hip suddenly feels the weight is leaving his shoulders and notices Bond climbing over the wall. As soon as Bond lands inside the heavily guarded area, director Guy Hamilton takes us to the other side of the estate where we see the first glimpse of the Mausoleum, built by Lee Iu Cheung for himself and his wife. This elevated part on the north side of the garden still looks exactly like it did in the film. All scenes with Hai Fat and the real Scaramanga were filmed in this area. Later in the film, Hai Fat is shot by Scaramanga in the Memorial Hall, or Hall of Longevity, a beautifully mosaic-decorated room just left of the dome shaped tomb.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    When standing in the Mausoleum area with your back towards the tomb, you will be facing a massive four-columned portal covered in multi-coloured mosaics in traditional patterns. The view of Tsing Yi Island, Ma Wan Island, Lantau Island and the Tsing Ma Bridge, all seen through this portal, is just breathtaking and almost makes you forget the surrounding building devolpments. Just try to imagine how this looked before Hong Kong grew out of proportion..: the athmosphere here is simply amazing.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden
    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    The garden’s main feature (also visible in the film) is a 50 foot dragon who’s body coils through a terraced pond, crossed by arching bridges. The impressive dragon’s head is once again covered in colourful mosaics, its scales are made from the sides of thousands of bottles. While its body is curving in and out of the various ponds, the water is gushing from its gaping jaws. In the following shot we see 007 walking across the grass towards the pool where he meets Chew Me. This very large pool, also completely decorated with mosaic tiles, was in fact the first and largest private pool in Hong Kong and is still present on the estate, although currently empty, awaiting renovation.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Posing as Scaramanga, Bond is received by Hai Fat himself, who plays his game along and even invites him for dinner. Saying goodbye to Chew Me, Bond simply leaves the garden through the front gate, returning to Hip who is waiting near the car parked at Castle Peak Road, opposite of the garden. This area has totally changed from a small, local, dusty road to a modern two-lane road which was widened years ago to better suit the needs of modern traffic. This unfortunately has also caused the demolition of the original stone wall between the estate and the road. There’s a new wall now and a new entrance gate. The original red doors are in storage and will hopefully be placed back some day.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    007’s second visit to Hai Fat’s estate is later that day. Around dinner time, Bond arrives, through the entrance gate this time. We see him walking through the garden, past various odd features which in reality were never present. In the end he is attacked by two sumo wrestlers and Nick Nack, all posing as garden statues at first. These scenes were filmed on the grass between the entrance gate and the swimming pool. After Nick Nack knocks Bond to the ground, Hai Fat himself is just in time to convince Scaramanga’s tiny aid to ‘take Bond to the school’, referring to the karate school, scenes filmed in Bangkok. This scene looks strangely similar to the one in Roger Moore’s first Bond adventure, filmed just a year earlier, in which Mr. Big orders Tee Hee to ‘take him to the farm’.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    For some reason the largest and most prominent features in the garden were used very little in the film. The Pavillion of Leisure (an eight sided pavillion or house) can be seen in the scene where Hai Fat invites Bond for dinner. The main residence, the Golden Jubilee Building, built to commemorate Lee Iu Cheung’s golden wedding anniversary in 1967, can only be seen in the very first overview shot, introducing Hai Fat’s estate to the viewer and setting up the scene.

    Faces Of Asia: Visiting Dragon Garden

    Since the early days of civilisation the Chinese have created works of art from the face of the earth, building a harmony of rock, water and plant in keeping with a highly formalised pattern based on cosmological principles. Comissioned by Lee Iu Cheung, architect Chu Pin designed a garden which conforms strictly to the most ancient traditions of Chinese gardens. And it makes a fantastic Bond location. Although I can say in all fairness that The Man With The Golden Gun is not the best Bond film, the film’s exotic locations are definitely among the best of the series. Hopefully around 2008, Dragon Garden’s extensive renovations will have finished and the property will be ‘returned’ to the people of Hong Kong. It will be opened for public visits, just like one of Hong Kong’s most influential men, Dragon Garden’s founder Lee Iu Cheung, would have wanted it.

    Guest writer @ 2008-01-05
  5. Return To Station B

    Be sure to also check out this earlier article on Station B, in which John Surles reported on Nassau’s James Bond sites in March 2005.

    Written by John Surles

    NASSAU, The Bahamas – It had been two long years since the last visit to Nassau, but the need to escape our winter weather and my continuing desire to explore Bond-related locations resulted in a recent trip to Paradise Island with my lovely wife. I am filing this report regarding my visits to sites associated with the literary and cinematic James Bond.

    My report from Station B two years ago indicated that there were some reasons for concern about the preservation of the Bond locations that can be easily visited in the area. I can happily report that there are new locations to visit, and that there is also some good news about a particularly significant structure.

    Station B
    Station B

    A stroll around the marina at Atlantis Resort lead to an area containing shops and restaurants, including the reincarnation of Cafe Martinique. As many Bond fans know, Cafe Martinique was an open-air restaurant on Paradise Island that was converted into the Kiss-Kiss Club for the movie Thunderball. The old restaurant was destroyed during an expansion of the resort. The new version bears little resemblance to the old beyond its name, but the new Cafe Martinique is quite a spectacular restaurant on its own. A visit there with my lovely bride turned up a friendly, welcoming staff, a wonderful atmosphere, good food and…yes, they make an excellent vodka martini, shaken not stirred. Prices are in line with high-end restaurants elsewhere on the Atlantis Resort (entrees for $28-$42). Cafe Martinique is an excellent choice for dining even without the Bond connection.

    After dining, we lingered in the marina area and were treated to a small version of a Junkanoo Parade. This apparently is an occasional event. There were perhaps 50-60 costumed parade participants, and the music was loud and wonderful! I could almost envision Sean Connery running through the parade, being pursued by Luciana Paluzzi and the other SPECTRE henchmen.

    Station B

    I was determined to carry out a reconnaissance mission of The One and Only Beach Club while in the area. It is an exclusive, private resort on the north shore of Paradise Island that was a significant site in Casino Royale, and is a place that seems to take its security seriously. This may have been due to the fact that Anna Nicole Smith’s mother is in residence at the resort, and my visit coincided with much of the activity surrounding legal proceedings regarding Anna Nicole’s death and burial site. Not to be deterred, I formulated my plan of attack. A beachfront assault was out of the question, as I was seriously outmanned; a sneak attack from land seemed the wiser route. After a chat with a willing taxi driver, and the negotiated exchange of some currency, the mission to smuggle me onto the grounds proceeded. I concealed myself in the back of the taxi and we were off to our target. I spied a few glimpses of the beautiful grounds before resuming my concealment as we approached the guards at the gate. There was a challenge… would my taxi driver give me up? My cohort chatted up the guards, and soon we were allowed to proceed. A few tense moments later I found myself standing in the very spot where Daniel Craig and Caterina Murino got into the Aston Martin DB5.

    I spent a few moments touring the grounds, looking for scenes that seemed familiar from the film. The resort is quite picturesque, but I was mildly disappointed to find that they do not have the security office in which I could view video of my arrival! Nor did I see that beautiful lady at the reception desk who greeted Daniel Craig, although the people who were working the reception desk were quite lovely. My mission was a success!

    Station B

    Later, a walk along the beach past Atlantis Resort brought me to the breakwater that was used in Thunderball. It sits along the north shore of Paradise Island adjacent to the beach for the Atlantis guests. Each day, hundreds of people lie in the sand and swim in the water next to this Bond site without the slightest idea of its significance. While there, I was approached by a young woman who asked what the breakwater was used for. I explained that it protected an inlet from the ocean into the old marina, but did not relate the association with Thunderball. There seems to be little or no effort to preserve the breakwater; the electrical conduit that is seen in the picture along the overhang has succumbed to the ravages of the elements and has fallen for most of its length.

    Station B

    One update from my last report regarding the house known locally as Rock Point, but is better known to Thunderball fans as Palmyra, Largo’s estate with the two pools. At that time, I reported that the house (including the shark pool) had suffered severe storm damage, and part of the seawall and structure were crumbling and falling into the sea. An inspection during my return to the Nassau airport revealed that the seawall damage had been repaired, although the extent of repairs to the shark pool and other portions of the property could not be quickly ascertained. An article appearing shortly after my last report indicated that Rock Point’s owner, Mr. Mosco, was not interested in the house’s significance to Bond fans, and he planned to have the house demolished after his death. Perhaps the repair of this seawall is a hopeful sign that there has been a change of plans, and that “Palmyra” will remain with us for some time.

    Station B

    A visit to Bay Street in downtown Nassau confirmed that the Pipe Of Peace shop is still open. With just a little imagination, I could see Fleming’s Domino climbing out of her sapphire blue MG in her short skirt (without opening the door), enroute to her first encounter with James Bond. Little has changed along Bay Street since my last trip. It is difficult to imagine the force of the explosion that destroyed the Disco Volante, blowing out windows along Bay Street from several miles away. It must have been an exciting time in Nassau while Thunderball was being filmed, as I am certain it was during the filming of Casino Royale and so many other Bond films in between.

    I regret to report that I did not visit the site of the construction scene from Casino Royale this time. On an earlier trip several years ago, I went to the very site of the abandoned, partially-constructed hotel that sits next to the entrance to the headquarters of the Royal Bahamian Navy. Not knowing that it would later be a film site, I visited because it was located in the development known as Coral Harbour–which is where Sean Connery asked Claudine Auger’s Domino to take him in her boat after his “conked out”. The opportunity to re-visit this and explore other Bond sites will bring me back to Nassau many times in the future. No place, save for London, seems to provide such fertile ground for visiting easily-accessible Bond locations.

    If you feel the need to connect to your inner Bond with visits similar to mine, I recommend a trip to Nassau–you will not be disappointed.

    John SurlesThis concludes my report from Station B.

    Your faithful servant,
    JS

    Guest writer @ 2007-04-12
  6. Greece: A Drive In The Country

    written by Martin Mulder of On The Tracks Of 007

    In the heart of the Mediterranean Sea lies one of Europe’s most interesting countries: Greece. Its mainland surrounded by thousands of islands, Greece played an important part in European history. It also provided dazzling filming locations for James Bond’s 12th adventure, For Your Eyes Only, which brought Roger Moore’s Bond back to reality. It is possible to talk for weeks about Greece’s rich history, but that would be too much to discuss here. We will limit ourselves to the remains of the filming locations, in both the mainland’s Meteora region, and on the island of Corfu.


    View of Corfu’s busy but beautiful east coast

    The island of Corfu: Corfu Town

    Corfu has a lot to offer, from beautiful beaches to magnificent landscapes. For the Bond Agios Spyridon tower in Corfu Townlocation hunter, it has even more to offer. In For Your Eyes Only it was used by the filmmakers not only as the island it is, but also as the area around Madrid (Spain) and Albania. Director John Glen wanted to return to the style of the earliest Connery films and present Bond as a more realistic hero who gets hurt every now and then. The storyline was roughly based on two short stories by Ian Fleming, “For your Eyes Only” and “Risico”. The script ultimately written by Michael Wilson and Richard Maibaum, For Your Eyes Only had a budget of 28 million Dollars and called for mainly European locations. Greece was soon decided upon, since it was a country Bond had not visited before. While scouting for possible locations, Michael Wilson and John Glen instantly fell in love with the island of Corfu, realizing its beauty had a lot of potential.

    The round temple in the park at Corfu Town
    Corfu Town is a busy place. In the heart of the city, a pedestrian area called ‘the Old Town’, is crowded with tourists all try to bring home some souvenirs from the many shops. Here you should take your time, sit down somewhere and relax a bit while enjoying a glass of Ouzo, the national drink. In this area you will also find the Agios Spyridon Tower, which could be briefly seen in the film, when Bond and Melina ‘shopping’. A big park on the eastern side of the city is called the Spianada. Here the Greeks play… cricket (!), a sport introduced by the British around 1850. In the park, you can also briefly visible in the film.

    The Old Fortress at Corfu Town

    The harbour at the Old Fortress, not in Albania...One of the most exciting Bond locations in Corfu Town is undoubtedly The Old Fortress, built by the Venetians. This fortress served in fact as a background for more than one action sequence. It is already visible in the beginning of the film, when Gonzales flies Melina towards her parent’s boat. Later in the film, it is supposed to be close to Kristatos’ Albanian warehouse. This ‘warehouse’ is located on the northern side of the fortress, and is in reality a small harbour house. When Bond and Colombo’s men arrive at the warehouse at night, they come from the north.

    Here, Locque drove his Mercedes through the tunnelTime to enter the fortress. The admission fee is only 5 Euro. When you walk into the recently restored area, you will not immediately be reminded of the exciting scenes in which Bond follows Locque on foot. But if you know where to look for, you can find all locations! To avoid unnecessary and time consuming searching, the best thing to do is to go to the left when you are in front of the ‘British barracks’. Following this path will lead you through the tunnels in which Bond was almost ran over by Locque’s Mercedes. There are in fact only two of these tunnels inside the fortress, and again this shows how clever filmmakers can be. It is amazing to see, that they ingeniously used every remarkable spot inside the fortress, and made it look like one big car-foot chase.

    The tunnels at the Old Fortress     

    Here Locque almost ran over 007

    The road and tunnels eventually lead to the most eastern side of the fortress, The stone gate from where 007 killed Locque an area where not many tourists show up, fortunately. Here you will find the still very recognisable stone gate from where Bond finally shoots Locque. In the film, Bond appears from the right side of the gate. In reality there is only a very small space here, mostly filled with rubble. Again this space was very cleverly used. After Locque is shot by Bond, the former’s car spins and crashes into a low brick wall. We all remember Locque’s car standing on the edge of a high cliff. This cliff is in fact not in front of the stone gate, but behind it. The high cliff, just behind the stone gate A security rope prevents us from falling down, but not from stepping over it to take some great photos of this very recognisable cliff… Although in this scene Roger Moore finally brought back something of Bond’s original harshness, he reportedly had big difficulty playing this. In the scene, Bond avenges his murdered Italian contact Ferrara, by showing killer Locque no mercy and finally kicking the latters car off the cliff. This kind of ruthlessness had in fact not been seen since the earlier Bond films. Recently, access to this area has been restricted, but there’s always the possibilty to climb some fences on the south side, or climb some walls and hills on the north side to get to your destination. Be careful though, the area hasn’t been taken care of for a while and is not in a very good state.

    The island of Corfu: Kanoni

    Vlacherna, or Mouse Island at KanoniOnly a stone’s throw away from Corfu Town lies the crowded Kanoni peninsula. Once the most beautiful corner of the island, it attracted too many tourists, and now it is almost completely filled with hotels. A small one-way street leaves from the most southern part of Corfu Town’s boulevard and takes you up the hill to some marvellous views. Just follow the road and the signs to Vlacherna and Pondikonissi, better known as ‘Mouse Island’. You will end up at the monastery of Vlacherna. This little church is on almost every postcard and is the most famous site in Corfu.

    Melina came here ashore to go shopping with Bond.Here, on the concrete road towards the monastery, Melina arrived by boat, after the action in Cortina d’Ampezzo. Driving back, up the hill, this time taking a sharp turn to the right, you will head towards a great viewing point. Here you have a marvellous view of the monastery and ‘Mouse Island’ in the background. To your right you can see the lagoon of Corfu Town, with the runway of Corfu Airport. It’s hard to imagine why so many hotels offer a room-with-a-view of this dirty lagoon.

    Villa Sylva, Gonzales’ Spanish countryside villa and poolFollowing the road up the hill, you will pass the entrance of the Corfu Palace Hotel, where you can find the casino nowadays. Time to slow down. Immediately past the Corfu Palace entrance, also on your right, you will find a metal fence. Next to it is a name plate: Villa Sylva, one of the most hard to find Bond locations. If you’re lucky, the gate is wide open and it is totally up to you whether you want to ignore the sign “Beware of the dogs” or drive on. I can tell you, it is worth to take a look inside. Driving through the gate, you will find yourself on a bad road, but don’t let this scare you off. Follow the road past a small house on your left, until you enter a small roundabout. In the middle of this roundabout there’s a statue of a dog. Is this the dog you were supposed to beware of?

    From here, Cuban hitman Hector Gonzales took his final divePark your car somewhere and walk towards the house. Does it already look familiar? When you see the pool, you must finally realize that you have found the ‘Spanish’ villa of hired hitman Gonzales. Here the memorable scenes were filmed wherein ‘Bond had Gonzales perforated by Miss Havelock’. Things have changed a bit around here, but people with a good memory can still recognise the pool area, the diving board, the outside bar and the garden area around the house. If the place is still as abandoned as it was when we got there, take your time for a small walk through the garden and discover some beautiful views. Not a bad place for a villa, right?

    Villa Sylva was also used in the film The Executioner, starring George Peppard and Joan Collins, in 1970. Situated next to "Mon Repos", the summer home of the King of Greece and the birthplace of Prince Philip of Great Britain, the villa can be rented if you’re interested through Villagetaways.com. During the high season, the villa rents for just 26,000 Dollars a week. This might give you a clue of the luxury and magnificent views you can expect inside.

    The island of Corfu: The north

    Danilia Village gate served as Gonzales’ entrance gateWhen you leave Kanoni and Corfu Town and head towards the north, you will pass some very touristic towns, like Gouvia and Dassia. At Gouvia, a few kilometres more inland, lies Danilia Village, a specially prepared village that served as some sort of open air museum. Mainly due to financial problems, the village was closed, and is not accessible for us anymore. This keeps us from visiting the church where Bond met Q, who informs him about the amount of ‘St.Cyrils’ he had discovered in Greece. This scene, as well as the Greek wedding scene, was filmed in Danilia Village. A very funny sign at the entrance gate tells us it will re-open in 200.. The last number has been removed and visitors have taken this opportunity to fill in the gap and leave comments like "September 2004, still not open!"

    Bond drove his Lotus past this entrance.The stone entrance gate to the village was also used as the gate around Gonzales’ Spanish countryside villa. On the road in front of it, we saw Bond drive his Lotus while passing Locque in his Mercedes. The latter can then be seen turning into the gate and driving on to the premises. Although the area in front of the gate has clearly been altered by mother nature in the past years (trees now almost hide the complete entrance), it is still not hard to recognize the location.

    At Kalami Bay, Gonzales murdered the HavelocksIf you keep following the coastal road, driving through Ipsos and Pyrgi, you will also get to Kalami Bay, where marine archeologist Sir Timothy Havelock and his wife were stationed by the British to try to recover the ATAC computer. Here, Melina was dropped off by Hector Gonzales, after which he takes off, flies away and turns his plane around to assasinate the Havelocks. Below, on the right side of the bay, you might be able to see the square white house where writer and poet Lawrence Durrell lived in the ’30’s. Now known as the ‘white house’, Durrell called it Prospero, and it was in this house he wrote his most famous work ‘Prospero’s Cell’. For those interested in staying at historical places, the owner rents the house for a thousand Euros per week.


    Kalami Bay

    This crossing is an amazing find on an island with so many small roads.When you return from Kalami, following the road back to the busy tourist towns, try to find the exit on the right towards Spartilas. On this small corner, you can probably recognise the place where Bond stopped his Lotus to look at his road map, while searching for Gonzales’ villa. Following the road up the hill brings you to an awesome view of Corfu’s east coast. And eventhough you might think the sharp curved road was used in the 2CV chase, this is not the case. These roads will be our next stop.

    Close your eyes and pretend you drive a yellow Citroen 2CVYou will find yourself on a maze of roads, and sometimes there aren’t even any road signs. Best fun you will have at the crossings, where you can always find a couple of people desperately trying to figure out which way to go. As it turns out, most of the time the necessary direction signs are behind some bushes or even a few meters behind the actual crossing! At Kastellani, start following the signs towards Agios Georgios Beach. This is the road used in the 2CV car chase scenes. During their location scouting on Corfu, the film makers noticed the local farmers collecting the olives from the trees, which inspired them to incorporate the winding roads and cascading olives in the car chase. Often, ideas like these are written into the script at the last minute and sometimes whole scenes are changed by coincidental encounters with local habits.

    The little bridge at Vatonies, still very recognisable.Before we get to one of the most interesting locations on the island, we approach a tiny town called Vatonies. The last curve before town, recognisable from a stone bridge, was used in the first scene after we see Bond leave Moneypenny’s office. Bond drives his Lotus through the (Spanish) countryside and we see him excellerate in to the hills. Two Cypress trees, visible in the film as tiny trees, are still recognisable here in front of the bridge, now 25 years later.


    Pagi village
    Directly after passing Vatonies, you will enter the town of Pagi. Pagi can easily be called the smallest and least interesting town on the island. Except for us! Pagi overwhelms you when you look at the town more carefully. In this town, Bond and Melina’s yellow Citroen 2CV had its finest hour and raced some mean looking baddies in Peugeots. The roads surrounding Pagi, whirl themselves through the immense fields of olive trees and were also used in that same car chase, brilliantly staged by French stunt co-ordinator Remi Julienne. He would later also work on scenes like the May Day chase around the Eiffel Tower in ‘A View To A Kill’. Filming started on Wednesday September 24th 1980 and took nearly 12 days, using a total of 5 Citroens or the various scenes


    Whatever you do here, do NOT try to take the low road


    Nothing has changed here.
    The main road through Pagi leads you past some recognisable landmarks, like the town’s church tower. In the heart of the village, you will immediately recognise the famous place where Bond advised Melina to ‘take the low road’, after which the 2CV ended up on it’s  roof. Nothing has changed a bit since those Pagi village days, and it seems as if time has stood still in Pagi. Best thing to do, is to park your car somewhere and stroll around this lovely and quiet place. I can assure you that images of a yellow 2CV will keep on bothering your retina… From Pagi it is only a few kilometres to Agios Georgios, where you can spend some time on the beach. The town itself is filled with hotels, so this could be a good opportunity to relax and perhaps even spend the night.

    The Island of Corfu: The Achilleion


    The Achilleion entrance
    Our next goal is to visit the palace of Empress Elisabeth of Austria, better known to the world as ‘Sissi’. Impressed by the beautiful view, she bought the land in 1890 and ordered the construction of her palace ‘Achilleion’, where she was to spend many springs and autumns. In the early 60’s, the Greek government rented the palace to a German consortium, who totally refurbished and remodelled the top floors, and turned them into the island’s first and only casino. It was here where the casino scene in For Your Eyes Only was filmed.

    From Corfu Town, you should drive to the south, towards Gastouri and Benitses. The Here Bond and Kristatos enjoyed their diner at the Casino palace is mentioned on the road signs immediately after you pass Corfu Town’s outer areas. Just follow the signs, and you will be taken up a hill, straight to the Achilleion. The admission fee for the palace is about 3 Euro. When you walk through the entrance gate, you will see what many believe is one of the ugliest mixtures of architectural styles. Whether you like it or not, of course, is purely a matter taste, but it sure brings back some memories. The entrance of the building was briefly visible in the casino scene. On the eastern Melina and Bond had a serious conversation here side of the building, you will find a beautiful square, paved with black and white stones. Here Bond had a delicious diner with Kristatos, while observing Colombo and Countess Lisl. Walking northwards you will get one of the best views on the island. A serene balcony terrace offers an absolutely marvellous view of Corfu Town and of Albania and the Greek mainland on the other side of the sea strip. Here, later in the film, Bond and Melina share a romantic moment together, Melina relating how much ‘her father loved this view’. In fact, this view and the gardens surrounding the palace make it very worth while to visit the palace. Take your time.

    The island of Corfu: The south

    The southern part of Corfu differs from the rest, mainly because it is much flatter. Only in the most southern corner a small mountain rim is present, but most of the south is reasonably flat. A major touristic area you will find around Kavos. If you like going out to bars and discotheques, you should not forget to visit this town. Another interesting place is Lake Korission. This huge lake provides home to many interesting bird species. A small gap in the dunes leads directly to the Ionian Sea, and it is this gap that divides the area into two parts. The southern part of this area has only recently been discovered by the tourists, the main town there being Agios Georgios. Although we have mentioned this name before, it is a totally different place.

    The beach where Lisl was killed

    In this southern Agios Georgios you will find excellent space for water sports and the beaches are hard to resist. When you walk on the beach, you should walk northwards, towards Lake Korission. Once you will notice the sandy dunes, you should take some time to look around. Doesn’t this area ring a bell somewhere? 

    The dunes of southern Agios Georgios. Watch out for them damned buggies.Since this is the only place on the island where you will find dunes, it will not take very long for you to realise that here on these dunes Countess Lisl von Schlaf was murdered by Locque. In the film, Bond and the Countess spend the night together and early in the morning decide to go for a walk on the beach. When Locque appears in his dune-buggy, Lisl runs away and gets hit by the buggy. The actual bungalow where Bond and Lisl spent the night was just a fake facade, put there for the filming.You will understand there’s is not a trace left of it.


    Kastraki, the tiny town at the foot of the Meteora

    The Greek mainland: Meteora

    When you’re looking for an interesting excursion, you should consider taking the ferry to the mainland. From Corfu Town, the ferry leaves every hour. You can either walk onboard (6 Euros) or take your rental car (27 Euros). The boat trip takes about 1,5 hours and will bring you to Igoumenitsa. From there, it’s a 200km ride to Meteora, mostly on small curved roads over some of the highest mountains of Greece. The ride takes about 3,5 hours, but if the newly constructed Ignatia Road is ready, your ride will be both much more comfortable and faster. At this point of writing, some parts have been opened, others are still on the drawing table. From Igoumenitsa, follow the road to Ioaninna and Metsovo and finally to Kalambaka. There, the real adventure begins the moment it is virtually impossible to miss the mysterious, huge cliffs at the horizon.

    Agias Triada, or St.Cyrills, Kristatos’ hideout at Meteora

    Still following the road signs ‘Meteora’, you will be taken through the small town of Kastraki and then immediately up to the mountains. After a lot of curves, you will discover a road sign bearing the names of all the monasteries in the Meteora region. Since EON used Agia Triada (or Agios Trias, the holy trinity) Monastery for the long shots of Kristatos’ hideout, called St.Cyrils in the film, best thing to do is follow the sign that leads to this beautiful site. The moment you see this monastery (or any other monastery you will come across) you will not believe your eyes! From the mountain rim you have a clear view on the valley, and in the middle of this unimaginable landscape stand these huge rocks, like pillars, each carrying a monastery on its top.

    Roussanou Monastery, visible when General Gogol arrives by chopperIn 1334 the monk Athanasios came to this region destined to build a monastery. Together with fourteen other monks he climbed Platys Lithos, one of the rock formations. There he started building the first monastery, Megala Meteora and others were soon to follow. The reason for building these holy monasteries on top of rocks, was to be closer to god. When the region was attacked by intruders from other countries, the monasteries seemed untakeable fortresses. Their location only became a disadvantage in more recent years, when Nazi bombers found the monasteries very easy targets, and did destroy some of them.

    The base of the Ayia Trias MonasteryFrom the road to Agia Triada Monastery you have a beautiful view of the rock. This is definitely the right place to take some photographs! Remember to go there either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, because only then you will have the advantage of not being overran by busloads of tourists, who come in every day around 11.00h to get a quick view and leave around 16.00h to be back on time for their dinner.

    This rock next to Agias Triada was used to built a fake monasteryFrom the entrance of the monastery it’s a small walk downhill, until you reach the path they cut out of the rock. Climbing up the stairs, you will have a great view of the base of the rock, the place where the Bond/Colombo party arrived and had a first look on ‘St.Cyrils’. Truth is, John Glen didn’t use much of the actual monastery, but had a more usable monastery-set built on the rock next to Agia Triada. This rock was also used for other close-ups, and is now not accessible for us. To enter a holy monastery requires proper clothing. Women are supposed to cover their legs and shoulders, and the monks have therefore all sorts of skirts and scarfs available. It sure makes great pictures!

    During the filming at Meteora, the producers had a very hard time dealing with the Greek monks, as the latter were not too impressed by  the violent image of the series main character. Despite the brilliant comment by Roger Moore, who told them politely that he ‘once was a saint himself’, the monks tried to sabotage the filming by hanging out their white laundry as a protest. After some negotiation, the film crew rapidly started working on the dangerous climbing scene, performed by Bond-veteran-stuntman Rick Sylvester, who earlier jumped the Asgard mountain in the pre-credit scene of The Spy Who Loved Me. The smart directing of the stunning climb, made sure that this scene is still being regarded as one of the series’ highlights.

    The view hasn't changed since the early 80's.After a small tour of the monastery, you can walk outside to the ‘garden’. You will then also pass the pull-up basket, the monks use to pull up all the items that are too heavy to walk up. Although situated in a similar wooden cabin, this is not the same cabin used in the film. EON reproduced a cabin at the studio for the filming of the sequence where Bond pulls in Colombo and Melina. Outside the monastery is a great look-out. A dazzling cliff without any fence offers a magnificent view of the villages below. It’s this same area where Bond throws away the ATAC, and calls it ‘detente, comrade’.

    All in all, Greece is tremendously exciting. Whether you come for the Greek temples, history and culture, the sun, the night life or the beaches, you will not be disappointed by the splendour of this cradle of European civilisation. Greece has a lot to offer. The people are friendly and helpful, and are always willing to tell what they remember of the Bond filming. The filming locations are somewhat scattered across the mainland and Corfu, but touring them like we just described here, will definitely leave an indelible impression on you, and will make sure that you will return to Greece one day.

    For those of you interested in touring these Greek locations, onthetracksof007.com is currently setting up individual trips to Corfu and Meteora, together with local travel agency Karoukas. 8-Day tours will start from 300 Euros p.p, and include appartment, rental car and a detailed information package. Also in pre-production are special Corfu audio tours on CD. If you’re interested, please keep checking their website ( www.onthetracksof007.com ) or drop them an e-mail here.

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    Guest writer @ 2005-08-18
  7. CBn Visits "BOND. James Bond. The Exhibition"

    – IMPORTANT NOTE –
    – for all pictures click thumbnails to enlarge –

    Last month your intrepid CBn correspondents made the five hour plus trek from John CoxAthena StamosLos Angeles to Phoenix to visit “BOND. James Bond. The Exhibition”, at the Arizona Science Center. Good thing too, as it now looks like this will be the final U.S. stop for this traveling exhibition of authentic James Bond props and memorabilia. According to museum officials, the exhibit will be going back to England or into storage when its run is complete on April 24, 2005.


    Mi6 Sign

    The ultra modern Arizona Science Center was easy to spot when we pulled into town – as was the two storey high image of Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh Arizona Science Centerfrom Tomorrow Never Dies that adorned one side of the building. Inside, Zao’s battle-ready Jaguar from Die Another Day greets visitors at the ticket area. Zao's Die Another Day JaguarWhen we asked where the Bond exhibit was located, a helpful museum staffer pointed us down the length of the first floor and said we “couldn’t miss it.”

    Indeed, the exhibit is easy to spot with the Aston Martin DB5 from GoldenEye sitting right out front! We all know what the DB5 looks like, but there is something about seeing his car “in Entrance to the Bond Exhibitionthe flesh” that is indescribable. It really is one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Just past the DB5 is the special entrance to the exhibit. Here we were given our exhibit pass – a credit card that would be our access to special trivia questions, etc. GoldenEye's Aston Martin DB5We harassed the poor ticket taker for information and, after being told we couldn’t take pictures inside the exhibit (due to issues of copyrighted material on the walls—always with the copyrights, Eon!), we proceeded to take his picture. As no alarm bells sounded, so we figured maybe we’d sneak a few pics inside as well.

    Upon entering the exhibit, you find yourself inside a small room where you can watch a film about the Cold War (or not). The film gives some context as to the creation of Ian Fleming’s superspy. I guess this is to convince wary parents that there’s some educational value to all this. John Cox in the Gun BarrelOkay, we’re educated, now where’s Jinx’s bikini!?

    Traveling through a circular tunnel that changes in the light (it took us a few minutes to realize this is supposed to be the opening gun barrel) you emerge inside the “Restricted Area.” Here you swipe your pass card so you can “gain access” to the various information screens along the way. A nifty item here was a transparent Walther PPK used by Daniel Kleinman in the title sequence for Tomorrow Never Dies. It was sort of odd that the large 007 logos that decorated the walls of this room (and later rooms) were lacking the gun portion Door from The Spy Who Loved Meon the seven. Being official, I would think the full official logo would not be a problem. Go figure.

    The next room is a real treat; a full replica of M’s office! It’s time for your briefing, 007. Here you see a film about the creation of Bond and the beginnings of the cinematic Bond empire. The office is a mock up of the classic Universal Exports office of Mock Universal Exports OfficeBernard Lee/Robert Brown fame. The desk is open to sit behind and snap a few pictures… (wait, I thought we couldn’t do that?). The only authentic part of the office is the padded door from The Spy Who Loved Me, which sits behind glass.

    Leaving M’s office you travel through a long hallway where you can test your Bond trivia knowledge and view video clips and pics on the many interactive monitors that line the walls. Most of the information and videos are from the DVD documentaries produced by the cuddly John Cork.

    Alligator submersible from OctopussyAcroStar mini-jet from OctopussyThe snooper from A View to A KillLotus submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me

    At the end of the hall is “Q’s Workshop.” (You’re traveling through the typical structure of James Bond film – get it?) Here sit the Alligator submersible and the AcroStar Rappelling Gun and Belt fro GoldenEyemini-jet (bigger than I thought) from Octopussy. Display cases all around the room contain other such memorable Q props as the snooper from A View To A Kill, a model of the Lotus submersible from The Spy Who Loved Me, and Bond’s camera sniper rifle from Licence To Kill. A big video screen at one end of the room plays clips of favorite Q scenes from all the films. On the walls are framed sketches and designs of famous gadgets, includes some that didn’t make it into the final films. A grenade cocktail shaker from Goldfinger? The World Is Not Enough torture chairA retinal scanner from The World Is Not Enough? Guess these were the things that we shouldn’t photograph. (I’m not telling if we did or not.)

    At the end of the room was the torture chair from The World Is Not Enough where Electra King puts the screws to 007. This The Golden Gunsuggests you are about to enter the realm of…the villain!

    Now you find yourself entering a dark room made to resemble Scaramanga’s funhouse. Inside are famous props used by famous villains (or “Rogues” as the official program calls them); Jaw’s metal teeth, Solitarie's fortune telling costume from Live And Let DieOddjob’s deadly bowler hat, Scaramanga’s golden gun, Rosa Klebb’s spiked shoe…you get the point. A nifty design all this, but the ever changing lighting does make it a bit difficult to have a real good look at these iconic props. Here, less would have been more.

    If you survive the funhouse, you then emerge into the realm of the Bond Girl. On displays is Jinx’s bikini from Die Another Day (hey, there it is!), Electra King’s red dress from The World Is Not Enough, Solitarie’s fortune telling costume from Live And Let Die, and sketches of other various costumes designs, etc.

    Christmas Jones / Denise Richards Outfit SketchesThe Action hall Green RoomA View to A Kill green screenModel of Zukovsky's caviar factory

    After being shaken and stirred by the Bond babes, you come to the hall of the explosive climax (okay, they call it the “Action” hall). Here is the exhibit’s best Gold bar from Goldfingerinteractive feature – a green screen room where you can see yourself hanging from the Golden Gate Bridge ala Stacy Sutton in A View To A Kill. Outside the green screen Faberge egg from Octopussyroom are model props from famous 007 action sequences; including a model of Zukovsky’s caviar factory from The World Is Not Enough, the Neptune sub from For Your Eyes Only, Zorin’s blimp from A View To A Kill, a gold bar (signed by Sean Connery) from Goldfinger, and the Faberge egg from Octopussy. Timothy Dalton's Passport from The Living DaylightsIt’s easy to miss, but a model of the Tiger helicopter from GoldenEye and a full size Parahawk from The World Is Not Enough are hanging overhead.

    After the movie comes the marketing, and on your way out you Athena Stamos at James Bond The Exhibitiontravel down a long hallway filled with Bond posters, most foreign sheets, including some rare unused mockups (Bond fans will be familiar with these from Tony Nourmand ‘s terrific book, James Bond Movie Posters).

    On leaving the exhibit you enter the special exhibition gift shop where you can buy exhibition T-shirts, posters, and programs, as well as Corgi cars and 007 Sideshow figures. A cool detail here is the Bond silhouette in a light pool on the floor.

    The Cary Grant suiteHotel San Carlosclassic Bond villain's lairClaude Bell's Dinosaurs

    After spending the night in the Cary Grant suite (Bond connection? Cary Grant was Cubby’s best man at his wedding to Dana, and his first choice to play 007) in the Hotel San Carlos, the “third most haunted hotel in America”, we motored on back to L.A. On the way we passed a classic Bond villain’s lair and Claude Bell’s Dinosaurs in the desert…certainly these MUST be from a James Bond movie? Or maybe we just had Bond on the brain after our memorable visit to “BOND. James Bond. The Exhibition.”

    Thanks to the Arizona Science Center. Nobody does it better!

    David Winter @ 2005-04-04
  8. Journey To Blofeld's Hideaway

    written by Charles Helfenstein

    – IMPORTANT NOTE –
    – for all pictures click thumbnails to enlarge –

    Blofeld’s laboratory at the top of the Swiss Alps is on every Bond fan’s “I hope to visit there someday” list. While others head for sun & sand during spring break – CBn members Doublenoughtspy and Stromberg decided to head for icy peak of Piz Gloria.

    Helfenstein Castle

    After a short visit in Trier with Tim007 (see this
    thread)
    , we headed back to Saarlouis where we were joined by CBn member Lotus Esprit. StechelbergThe next morning we made good use of Autobahn and headed towards Geislingen Germany, the location of my own Piz Gloria – Helfenstein Castle. The villagers did not greet me with waving torches thank goodness and we had a great visit. Afterwards we drove another 5 hours to Stechleberg Switzerland, the small village that is the base of the Schilthornbahn cableway that eventually leads to Piz Gloria. This is where Irma Bunt says goodbye to the girls on Christmas Eve.

    Cable View

    The next morning we got the early cable car to Gimmelwald, then Gimmelwald to Murren, Murren to Birg, and finally Birg to Piz Gloria. The 4 cable car rides
    are relatively quick, and the views are incredible. Stromberg and I were the only tourists on the cable cars – everyone else was in their ski and snowboarding attire along with their gear. We stuck out like a white guy in Harlem.

    Piz Gloria

    The terracePiz Gloria is more spectacular than words or pictures, or even a short movie can describe. The terrace was a wonderful way to see the Swiss Alps, and one of the birds that harassed Campbell posed for Stromberg. Our meal was delicious, but unfortunately they no longer serve Steak Piz Gloria. The Shish Kabob Piz Gloria (beef, pork, & veal) was a great substitute.

    During the meal, I called CBn member TheSaint. Stromberg and I wanted to call Zencat & Athena – but unfortunately the time difference would have meant waking them up at 3am. We decided to let them sleep.

    The Panorama TheatreAfter our meal we headed for the panorama theatre, which is under the terrace. At the press of a button – shades lower across all the windows and 10 minutes of OHMSS ski, bobsled, and avalanche footage are shown. After the show the shades rise and you can see the Alps again. Stromberg had to practically drag me away – I just kept pressing the button to see the film again.

    Various features from OHMSS still exist throughout the structure – such as the gold rings (my head wouldn’t fit), some decorations, and of course Blofeld’s Coat of Arms.

    OHMSS muralBond photographs and logos are everywhere -especially in the gift shop. (Bond, Tracy, Blofeld). There is also a picnic area with a nice OHMSSmural. After making our purchases we saw an internet terminal in the gift shop – and we were excited to post to CBn from Piz Gloria. Unfortunately Blofeld’s bully boys had somehow sabotaged the terminal – and so we had to wait to post from a miniature cable car terminal in Mürren.

    Cable ViewCable View

    After one more visit to the terrace, we got on the cable car back down to Birg. There is a restaurant there as well, and we took some more photographs of Piz Gloria. “There’s a sports club up there – I’ve seen it advertised.”.

    We then took the cable car down to Mürren – where the cast and crew stayed during the filming of OHMSS. Cable ViewThe Palace Hotel was a real treat – great views, and wonderful food and service. I can see why Peter Hunt chose to stay there.

    Cable View

    The next morning we left Mürren for Stechleberg again, picked up the car – and headed to an area half way between Stechleberg and Lauterbrunnen. Here they filmed the ice race. As we left – Stromberg said “We didn’t even stop for the prize.”

    Next stop was Lauterbrunnen – for 3 Bond locations – Bond in the phone booth, Sir Hillary Arrives at the train station, and Campbell follows Bunt & Bond.

    Cable View

    Then we made a quick stop in Grindlewald – where they filmed the Christmas celebration and ice skating scenes. It’s now a parking lot.

    Cable View

    Next we made a detour to Meiringen, famous for the Reichenbach Falls, where Sherlock Holmes falls to his death fighting Moriarity.

    Then we headed for Bern, the capital of Switerland, and multiple OHMSS locations – the bearpits & bridge where Bond, Tracy & Draco come into town, and the Schweitzerhof Hotel – which housed Gumbold’s office. We parked and ate at the train station that was being constructed during the filming.

    We explored Bern for a bit, found a hotel, had some dinner, and watched ‘The World is Not Enough’ on German TV. The actor who dubs John Cleese was the only one who sounded remotely like the person he was dubbing.

    The next morning Stromberg dropped me off at Zurich Airport ("proceed to Zurich and land!") and he headed back to Germany. On the 9 hour flight back home I reflected back on a spectacular trip and the kind of friendships CBn makes possible.

    Charles Helfenstein @ 2005-03-30
  9. Report From Station B

    written by John Surles

    NASSAU, The Bahamas – I recently made a trip to Nassau to get rid of my winter blahs. Nassau holds a special interest for those of us Bond fans that believe Sean Connery is James Bond, and who will watch Sir Sean’s films over and over. Thunderball was filmed in and around Nassau, and for many of us Americans of modest means it became the first James Bond locale we were able to visit, in terms of affordability and safety.

    I tracked down several sites from the Thunderball film, and I am afraid I must report that all is not well. While there is some good news that I will save for later, several of these treasured sites are being lost to weather, development and neglect.

    I first visited the famous breakwater, where James Bond climbs out of the sea after being told by Domino of its location and it’s “keep away” status; it is also the launching point for Largo’s scuba team. The breakwater is located on the north shore of Paradise Island, and is part of the Atlantis Resort property, just to the west of the main pool area. The steps where Bond emerges from the water and walks under the concrete cover are easily accessible. The breakwater itself is suffering from deterioration due to erosion and the elements, and there is no evidence of maintenance of the structure. The bridge that spanned the canal in the movie is gone, having been replaced by a new, unremarkable structure. There is nothing on site that gives any hint of the location’s use in Thunderball.

    Station BStation B

    Just to the west of the breakwater lies Paradise Beach, scene of the first meeting (above water) of Bond and Domino. They go ashore there, and Bond enjoys Domino’s company and some conch chowder at a seaside resort. Again, this beach is on the north side of Paradise Island and is located in front of the former Club Med property. I say former because the principal owner of the Atlantis Resort, Sol Kerzner, has purchased and closed down the Club Med site and some adjacent property leading up to Paradise Beach, fenced it off, put up “No Trespassing” signs, and cut down most of the trees. The road in, Casuarina Drive, has been closed and allows access only to construction workers and a couple of property owners who still have houses on the beach. The plans are to construct a huge hotel on-site, which will forever ruin the view of the beach for Bond fans.

    Station B

    A few miles to the west of Nassau, along the continuation of West Bay Street, sits a house known locally as Rock Point, but is better known to Thunderball fans as Palmyra, Largo’s estate with the two pools. The house sits on the road but, because it is privately owned, is not open to the public. Parts of the house are visible from the adjacent beach. It appears that the house (including the shark pool) has suffered severe storm damage, and part of the seawall and structure are crumbling and falling into the sea. It is indeed a shame to see the residence of the evil SPECTRE Number Two suffer so, and I hope that repairs will be made by the property owner so that this film location continues to exist in a recognizable form.

    Station B

    Continuing west along the same road, you will eventually come to the appropriately-named Love Beach, scene of Bond’s romantic liason with Domino and his telling her of her brother’s death at the hands of Largo. It is also where Bond shoots the spear gun at Vargas- “I think he got the point”. Unfortunately, Hurricane Floyd from a few years back wreaked havoc upon the beaches around this area of New Providence Island (upon which Nassau is located) and has made it impossible to identify the exact location along the beach that Bond first tasted a woman.

    Station B

    There is, however, some good news to be found in this report from Station B. A special scene in Thunderball is the Kiss-Kiss Club, where Bond dances with Fiona Volpe. The actual site for this was the Cafe Martinique, located on the southern edge of Paradise Lagoon on Paradise Island. This club was demolished as part of the construction of the Royal Towers at the Atlantis Resort. I am happy to report the Atlantis Resort has announced that Cafe Martinique will be re-built along the southern portion of the property, in a style that will allegedly recreate the atmosphere of the legendary club. How faithful this new club will be to the old remains to be seen, but it is indeed good news to see an effort to bring it back. It is one of my personal regrets to have not seen the original Cafe Martinique on one of my earlier trips to Nassau.

    It is exciting to be able to walk along Bay Street and still see some of the sights from the movie’s Junkanoo Parade, including the ‘Perfume Shop’ whose sign appears in several shots along the route. For readers of Ian Fleming’s novel, it is a treat to find locations from the book. One can almost visualize Domino shooting down Parliament Street in her sapphire blue MG, making a quick left onto Bay (although these days, this section of Bay Street is one-way in the opposite direction) and pulling up in front of ‘The Pipe of Peace’, still located where Mr. Fleming encountered it over forty years ago.

    Station BStation B

    There are many more treasures from both the film and literary versions of Thunderball, as well as other Bond stories and films, to be seen in and around the capital city of The Bahamas; however, I was not able to convince my lovely wife to venture too far, and too often, from our British Colonial Hotel (mentioned at the end of ‘Quantum of Solace’ from the novel For Your Eyes Only, and now a Hilton Hotel, and site of Bond’s meeting with the water-skiing Fatima Blush in Never Say Never Again). So many Bond sites to see, so little time. I can confess that one of my dinners included an appetizer of caviar (unfortunately, not Beluga) and a medium-dry vodka martini, made with Russian or Polish vodka, shaken, not stirred, with a lemon twist. It was at this time that I resolved to return soon to Station B, and see some of the underwater film sites from several Bond films, and retrace more trips in and around Nassau from Ian Fleming’s wonderful novel. I also encourage you, the reader, to make a similar sight-seeing trip, whether to Nassau or elsewhere, to visit some of the Bond sites before they disappear. It is a great excuse to vacation in exotic locations and connect with your inner Bond.

    John SurlesThis concludes my report.

    Your faithful servant,
    JS

    Guest writer @ 2005-03-10
  10. BCW-007: James Bond Locations! Locations! Locations!

    This year’s 7th Annual Bond Collectors Weekend (BCW-007) took place from June 3rd through 7th. James Bond fans from all over the United Stated gathered in Miami & Key West, Florida for a full on James Bond experience.

    -= IMPORTANT NOTE =-
    -= for all pictures click thumbnails to enlarge =-

    FRIDAY JUNE 4

    Costume PartyBCW-007 officially started during dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab (aka: Bill’s On The Beach from Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger) in Miami. Their specialty dish, the stone crabs, were exceptionally tasty. The BCW crew ended up back at the Hotel for Costume night. Licence to Kill KissThe room was filled with some of most villainous villain (Dr. No, Mr. Goldfinger, Emilio Largo), beautiful Bond girls, & even James Bond himself. Best costume award was given to Danny McCruden, who was dressed as James Bond at the nuclear factory from The World Is Not Enough. As the night came winding down and the drinking went up — Charlie Axworthy (James Bond) and Carla DiShanni (Pam Bouvier) scaled the walls to reenact, for our viewing pleasure, the final scene in Licence to Kill.

    Danny McCruden at Joe's Stone Crab“Bond followed suit and proceeded to eat, or rather devour, the most delicious meal he had had in his life. — The meat of the stone crabs was the tenderest, sweetest shellfish he had ever tasted.”

    – Goldfinger, Chapter 2

    SATURDAY JUNE 5

    BCW’s second day started before sunrise. There were a few Matt ShermanMoonraker 1 & 2stragglers and hangovers from the events of the previous night, but things got started soon enough. BCW organizer Matt Sherman loaded everyone into “Moonraker 1” and “Moonraker 2”, our transportation from Miami all the way to Key West.

    There was no time to waste, the moment we arrived in Key West our first location was in front of our eyes and at our feet — from Licence to Kill — The scene where Sharky has a little chat with James Bond on his charter boat. Then a little ways down the road, our next stop the Barrelhead Bar (known as: Harbor Lights Raw Bar) where James Bond and Pam Bouvier first meet up with Dario. Much to our surprise we found the fully lit Barrelhead Bar sign inside!

    Sharky's Spot Barrelhead Bar Sign
    The Outside of Barrelhead Bar Sanchez' Arrest

    A short drive away from that, our third stop… US Coast Guard Headquarters, known in Licence to Kill as DEA Headquarters where Sanchez is questioned and arrested. Matt Sherman sure had a surprise for us, a uniformed escort led us inside — we were the first 007 fans ever allowed inside the Coast Guard!Key West's Mallory SquareMallory Square Sign

    We then were dropped of in the middle of Mallory Square (used in Licence to Kill and Nobody Lives Forever) for lunch. This was also a good time to go shopping for some cooler cloths, as the weather was full of unforgiving heat and humidity. It was neat to see the signs at Mallory Square, which Timothy Dalton (James Bond) walks by, in the same places as they are in the film.

    A & B Lobster House“The blue Buick had cruised by twice, and was parked outside the Lobster House, almost opposite the main entrance to the Pier House. ‘They have us staked out,’ murmured Bond as they crossed the street and walked up the drive to the main entrance…”

    – Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 17

    After a quick bite to eat the BCW-007 crew began the five-hour “Death March” across Key West. On our way we passed A&B Lobster house, which James Bond mentions in Nobody Lives Forever. At a nearby pier we were able to board the actual “Pilot Boat” that James Bond and Q sail in Licence to Kill. The boat was docked right in front of the location of the Krest Warehouse where Felix was fed to the sharks, which is now a seafood restaurant.

    Q's Pilot Boat The Krest Wearhouse The Hemingway House The Licence Revoked Porch

    What was a short walk for James Bond was in actuality a very long walk for us, but we finally arrived at the Historic Hemingway House. If you recall in Licence to Kill the Hemingway house was full of cats, and today approximately 60+ dependence of Ernest Hemingway’s six toed cats are still roaming the grounds. While there we did find out that “Marilyn Monroe“, the cat featured in Licence to Kill, had just passed away a month earlier. But I digress… the Hemingway house was the location for the famous “Licence Revoked” scene between M and James Bond in Licence to Kill. There was some confusion about which corner M and Bond were standing in the film, but it was soon found out after viewing the DVD that the correct corner was the one in line with the lighthouse where an MI6 sniper kept a close eye on James Bond.

    The Licence Revoked Scene“Effective immediately. Your licence to kill is revoked. And I require you to hand over your weapon… now.”

    – M to James Bond
    Licence to Kill, Licence Revoked (region1 dvd ch 17)

    We then marched to the southern most point of Key West and continued towards our next destination… Felix and Della Leiter’s house, also from Licence to Kill. The very prominent 707 on the front of house welcomed us along with the “Mrs. Leiter” who currently lives there. She very kindly gave us an unforgettable tour of the magnificent home and it’s surroundings, which included the pool featured not only in Licence to Kill but in a number of Magazines as well. Colin Clark, on behalf of the Ian Fleming Foundation and Dave Reinhardt, presented “Mrs. Leiter” with a poster and framed stills of the house from the film.

    Felix & Della Leiter's House Leiter Wedding Cake Cutting Leiter Wedding Party Colin Clark & 'Mrs. Leiter'

    Next stop, the church where James Bond and Felix Leiter parachute down for Felix and Della’s wedding in Licence to Kill. On the way to our final destination of the day we passed two dozen restaurants, stores, and hotels either used by Eon’s Cast & Crew or visited by James Bond in Licence to Kill and Nobody Lives Forever.

    Leiter's Wedding Church Paul Meyers Licence Revoked Crew Shirt Licence to Kill Ithmus Patch

    The end of the “Death March” was near. We were soon welcomed inside Eon’s Licence to Kill security headquarters (weapons storage, security detail, casting) –which was thankfully air conditioned– to enjoy a lecture, reminiscences, and photos with the amiable Paul Meyers (Licence to Kill‘s Technical Advisor). Mr. Meyers worked personally with Michael G. Wilson and the Cast of Licence to Kill each day during their Key West shooting. He has visited Pinewood Studios during shooting of other Bond films and attended Bond movie premiers at Michael G. Wilson and Albert Broccoli’s invitation. We were thrilled to view his personal photos and rare memorabilia (including a “Licence Revoked” crew shirt & Isthmus City police patch) and to hear many stories from behind-the-scenes, including how Paul was able to finagle his way into getting a posed photo with Timothy Dalton (back then Dalton would not take photos with fans). Thank you, Paul!

    Welcome to Mallory Square“All was chatter, and to the left, along the wide Mallory Square, which fronted the ocean, jugglers, conjurers, fire eaters and acrobats performed among a crush of people.”

    – Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 17

    The day ended at Mallory Square as we watched the famous Key West sunset and the Sunset Celebration, which James Bond experienced in Nobody Lives Forever. And Saturday faded into the night…

    Key West Sunset
    “From Mallory Square, where crowds always gathered to watch the sunset, one could hear the cheers and applause.”

    – Nobody Lives Forever, Chapter 20

    SUNDAY JUNE 6

    Key West AirportThe day started at sunrise, which was even more magnificent than the sunset. The crew gathered in front of our hotel, the Key West Ambassador, to talk about the events of the previous night. We soon loaded ourselves back into “Moonraker 1” and “Moonraker 2” and we were off. A short drive took us to the Key West Airport where James Bond learns of Sanchez’ escape in Licence to Kill. After loading ourselves back into our transportation our long drive back to Miami began… but there were plenty of surprises along the way…

    Driving back to Miami involved a lot of island hopping which included Virginia Key (Thunderball), Watson Key (Thunderball & Never Say Never Again), and Shark Key (Nobody Lives Forever). And then there was the island, which amazed us the most: Sugarloaf Key.

    Cray Cay
    “We have a mid-course deviation. Target heading 036, 126 miles bearing 064, Havana VOR.”

    “He’s landing at Cray Cay. Advise Key West drug enforcement.”

    – Licence to Kill, Logos/Aborted Union (region1 dvd ch 1)

    Sugarloaf Key is home to what was known in Licence to Kill as Cray Cay. Dan Haggerty invited us on a guided tour of the airfield and it’s surroundings. Dan Haggerty with Licence to Kill MoneyThis was the location used in Licence to Kill‘s pre-title sequence during the gun fight between James Bond, Felix Leiter, and the DEA verses Sanchez and his men. This place was also the stunt scene location of the Tomorrow Never Dies‘ Halo jump. Dan Haggerty showed us his personal collection of pictures that he took during Licence to Kill‘s filming and told us many great stories about the filming and pointed out locations and props used in the film – including some of Sanchez’ drug money that he was able to snag during shooting.

    Licence to Kill Runway LTK Pre-titles 1 LTK Pre-titles 2 LTK Pre-titles 3

    A great surprise at this “Cray Cay” location was the discovery of the actual airplane that Sanchez uses to escape in – which in later lassoed by James Bond and Felix Leiter using their coast Guard helicopter. To read more about the plane and see more detailed pictures please visit this CBn article: “FOUND! Sanchez’ Escape Plane from Licence To Kill“.

    Yellow Background Plane Licence Revoked Letterhead Sanchez' Escape Plane Lupe's Lover's House

    On the same lot as “Cray Cay” was Lupe Lamora’s lovers’ home where a bodyguard was garroted on the stairs leading up to the bedroom.7 Mile Bridge sign

    During our continued drive to Miami we stopped by Marathon Key and Pigeon Key (Licence to Kill). The Seven Mile Bridge where the Rolls Royce transporting James Bond, Felix Leiter, and Sharky meet the Coast Guard helicopter in the pre-title sequence. Also the location where the armored truck holding Sanchez’ crashes through the railing of the bridge and Sanchez escapes underwater.

    Moonraker 2 on The Road 7 Mile Bridge 1 7 Mile Bridge with Athena 7 Mile Bridge 2

    Finally back in Miami after a long drive, Matt had even more surprises in store. The surprise that caused everyone’s jaw to hit the ground was the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) on Royal Castle and Seventh Avenue at which Felix Leiter and Simmons are parked as they wait for Oddjob in Goldfinger. The location is still a KFC after 40+ years! With a little backtracking we were able to locate the junkyard in Goldfinger where Oddjob delivers Mr. Solo for his “pressing engagement”.

    Goldfiger's KFC Odd-Job's Junk Yard Goldfiger's Fountain Blue 1 Ice Rink at The Fountain Blue

    We soon made our way to the world famous Fontainebleau Hotel where Lisa Cole, the Director of Publicity, gave us a private tour of the facilities and the inside scoop on Goldfinger. In the film when James Bond first meets Jill Masterson the number on the suite reads “905” but was actually suites 1112 and 1126. The famous pool at the fountain Blue which can be seen in Goldfinger has since been removed and a new pool in a different location on the grounds replaces it.

    The day ended with drinks and dinner at Bayside… then back to the hotel.

    Goldfinger's Fountain Blue 2 “I might have know M wouldn’t have booked me into the best hotel in Miami Beach out of pure gratitude.”

    – James Bond on The Fountain Blue
    Goldfinger, In Good Hands (region1 dvd ch 5)

    MONDAY JUNE 7

    BWC-007 was a success as everyone went back to their homes. But no need to fear… James Bond and BCW will return next year for BCW8 in New York City!

    Double Bourbon
    Reflections in a Double Bourbon: “James Bond, with two double bourbons inside of him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death.”

    – Goldfinger, Chapter 1

    Athena Stamos @ 2004-06-22