TRAVEL -- When it comes to skiing, Switzerland is unmatched, and when it comes to Bond locations, there is one that is second to none; The grandfather of all Bond ski chases started at the magnificent Piz Gloria, and endured down the side of Mount Schilthorn, in Murren, Switzerland.
Getting to Piz Gloria can be half the adventure. A train from the town of Interlaken will take you to nearby Lauterbrunnen, where a few scenes from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service were filmed. From there you take a funicular right up the side of the mountain. At your next stop, another rail will take you into the town of Murren, and then it’s two gondola lifts up into the mountains, and to the outstanding James Bond location, Piz Gloria.
Be sure that you’re dressed appropriately. It was a mild spring afternoon on the day I went, but by the time I stepped off the gondola onto Piz Gloria, at that altitude it felt like a blustery winter afternoon, just as it must have felt when they filmed On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Walking along the terrace, you can still envision the curling rink and the helipad where Bond let the aerial assault on Blofeld’s fortress.
Once inside Piz Gloria, it seemed that little had changed since James Bond was here. Walking up the stairway along its familiar golden balustrade to the revolving restaurant will make even the mildest fan of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service feel as if they were about to walk into a room filled with exotic women from around the world, and only moments away from confronting his most dangerous adversary. While you're in the restaurant, be sure and order the James Bond Breakfast Special, complete with champagne and scrambled eggs.
Piz Gloria still pulsates with the feeling of stepping into a James Bond film. From the top of Mount Schilthorn in the village of Murren, Piz Gloria offers views that extend along the Bernese Alps to Mount Blanc on a clear day.
As much as we enjoy visiting well-known Bond locations, Piz Gloria certainly enjoys being one. Underneath the terrace is the Tourist-O-Rama. Press the ‘007’ button in the center of the large circular room, and with a low mechanical hum, the shades will slowly lower on all the windows, and visitors can relive Bond’s adventures in Switzerland through a panoramic slide presentation about the preparation and filming of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, including a video montage of the highlights of the film.
The gift shop is located upstairs, where there are airbrushed murals of James Bond and Tracy, so I hope you appreciate a little nostalgia. Here is where you can pick up a few souvenirs from you trip with a classic 007 insignia.
Once you’ve had a hearty meal in the restaurant, and just before you’re about to throw down your skis and race down the side of Mount Schilthorn, don’t forget to stop off at the James Bond bar for a cocktail. Be sure to order a malt whiskey with branch water, of course.
For more information on Piz Gloria and Mount Schilthorn, look them up on the web at www.schilthorn.ch or you could e-mail them at info.schilthorn.ch.