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Operation:EURO2010 Field Report PDF Print E-mail

Agent Field Report- OPERATION: EURO2010

The 11 Day Italy-Switzerland-France Film Location tour, "Bond, Bourne and Beyond", concluded its tour on September 1, 2010, and consisted of James Bond film fans from around the globe, sharing in the sites, sounds and tastes of the 007 Lifestyle. The tour logged nearly 1000 miles from Venice to Paris in its quest to see as many of the film sites as possible, enjoy the cuisines and people of the countries visited and judging by the account below, we feel we succeeded!

The following is a brief recap of the daily adventures of the tour and activities should you wish to plan your own journey.


Arrive Venice- August 22nd- greeted by GLOBUS tour operatives, working in concert with Richard and Leslie Skillman of Themepartypeople.com, who created this mission.
Gather the 00’s and transfer via water taxi to safe house- the Hotel Splendide Suisse, off San Marco. After our luggage is safely stowed away, we noted that the bag with the 007 party collectables had fallen in the canal and was retreived by Mr. White, we quickly surmise that this will increase the value of the merchandise.







We toured San Marco and visited the "Moonraker" locations such as the Venini Glass shop, the Astrological Clock of the Chang fight (note that it is an archway and that no band, piano or seating exist below the clock) and from "Casino Royale" Vesper/007 locations –the Basel Bank, the alley walks out to the Sotoportego de le Colonne. We dined at the AiBarbaciri for lunch and enjoyed spaghetti con vongole with a nice Zonin Prosecco salute followed by a Cabert Fruli Pinot Grigio.







We push on to the Santa Maria Formosa church, used in the Donald Sutherland film, "Don't Look Now' and on the corner, the Il Canovaccio Mask Shop, which designed and provided the masks used in Stanley Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut", we see Tom Cruise's mask which is among the costumes and masks from the production.







A quick walk to the Misercordia area which was featured in Moonraker as the scenes in which Bond picks up Holly Goodhead and is also near the “intersection” where the lovers gondola is split in two.








We continued on over the Rialto Bridge and visited the Pesceria fish market, seen in "Casino Royale" and the sinking piazza filming locations- reviewing the production photos from the minatures used at Pinewood and the actual structures on location. Taking a water taxi from the Ca De Oro docks, we disembark at the Ca' Rezzonico and quickly tour the interiors of this museum, which appear as Drax's Venice offices in "Moonraker". Noting that photos are not allowed, some of our agents use their spy craft to achieve the surveillance needed.









The Santa Barnaba church is nearby and this exterior is seen in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" and our tour group gathers around the manhole cover where Harrison Ford escapes the fires and rats in a catacomb, however, with the fact that in Venice, that could not be possible to have such deep caverns below ground, it now seems a bit absurd. The tourists in the square are confused as to why so much fuss is made about a sewer cover.

Along the Rio Santa Margherita, we were treated to a private tour of the gondola repair and refinishing shed, visible in the gondola chase scene from "Moonraker", and along this canal, the chase, the coffin and the coughing cigarette boozer sequences were filmed. Across the Academia Bridge and onto the Ca’Pissani, which we learn from our Veneto production assistant was used for the CGI façade of the sinking piazza in "Casino Royale" we toured previously over at the fish market. Although now a private music school, we have permission to enter and view the Pissani courtyards seen in "Moonraker" and more famously, in "Casino Royale" as the location where Vesper delivers the money to the villain Gettler and the finale action sequence. The docks here were also seen in "Moonraker" where 007 pulls his gondola up in the evening and where Indiana Jones drops off the Fez wearing protectors of the Holy Grail after their boat chase in the Veneto harbor.


A quick respite at Florians for prosecco and olive appetizers, the Venetian heat and humidity taking its toll on our team- we secured the services of a professional dance instructor from our group, Mr. Robert for tango lessons, as we danced to the strains of "Por Una Cabeza" from the film "True Lies"- Miss Jenny from California wowed the crowd with her Argentine interpretations.





Returning to our 007 focus, we tour on to the glass blowing factory, where we learned that Drax’s poison vials could not be created as seen in the fillm but in a cut glass assembly area due to their shape. The glassware is made on the island Murano nearby and is esquisite and expensive. Dodging the high pressured glass sales room, we assembled at Harry’s Bar, known for its potent martinis and Bellini’s- the secret is in the martinis being shaken and then put in a quick freeze, to ultra chill the gin to a high alcohol potency, and a $25 per drink experience we will not forget. As it was a tiring day of sightseeing and cultural activities, our group leave Harry's and boarded three gondolas with an opera singer from Milan accompanied by an accordion player, and enjoyed the music of Veneto into the early evening. An evening walk to the Danielli and their famous lobby bar for Vesper martinis and discuss the film Bond lore that has taken place in this landmark hotel. We close our day at the Teatre Del Nino for linguine con cuttlefish, noodles cooked in the black ink of the squid and a delightful Veneto pinot grigio.


The next morning, our water taxi ferries us to the Tronchetto bus station and where we meet John-Batista, our driver for the next 9 days of traveling throughout Europe.


We arrive Cortina D'Amprezzo, in the Italian alpine chain, the Dolomites and visit the Olympic Ski Jump and iice rink from "For Your Eyes Only" and spend some time in the Piazza Venezzia, noted for the motorcycle attack sequence from the film. Note that the ice rink is now covered with a garish blue steel roof and in the Piazza, the flower shop is now a bank. We gather at a small restaurant and enjoy a wonderful local recipe of risotto. Properly satiated, we ascend up to Mount Tofana in the fog, the terrace seen in the film where Bond meets with Ferrara. We enjoy our stop up on Tofana- and a treat of wheat beer and group photo on the observation terrace.

We check into the 5 star Miramonti hotel, where we are ushered into our suite 104, the adjoining suite to 007's in the film, a suite complete with bar and patio overlooking the Dolomites, it is a superb room and view. We gather for photos and proceed down to the Miramonti Il Caminetto Bar, and are greeted by head bartender Pietro, who has 20+ years of martini crafting experience- and with a style similar to Rowan Atchison, he carefully creates our martinis one by one, gingerly squeezing drops from the lemon zest onto the top of very chilled Sapphire gin. We sit out on the patio over looking the Cortina valley and can only imagine ski season with the sounds of sleigh bells and scents of a fireplace crackling nearby in the cozy bar. There are production photos from the Blake Edwards comedy, "The Pink Panther" that was also shot here. We are signaled that our table is ready and the maitre d’ ushers us into the main dining room for our gran prix dinner and a choice of entrees- venison with polenta, braised veal cheek with red chicory or scorpionfish filets with mushroom—our choice of wine for the evening is the Friuili Graves Cabernet 2006. We sit adjacent a table of well tanned and wealthy locals, bedecked in the latest Milan fashions- the shoulder pads on one outfiit so pronounced, we were concerned the madame had left the coat hanger in the dress.





Up early at 6 am for our 7 hour drive westward through the Italian Alps. Our cultural and spiritual tour guide, Susanna has obviously learned hypnotic suggestion techniques from Ernst Stavros Blofeld as she lectures our tour on the intricate facts and cultures of the Italian countryside, her melodic and rhythmic voice lulling us into submission as we drive onward into Italy. We arrive Lake Como and a quick stop to say hello to our good friend George Clooney, alas he is not at home in his lakeside villa (as seen in "Oceans 12") but abroad in the US promoting his new film “the American”. We say ciao to his very friendly doorman, Mr. Kill and head on to the Lido to meet up with Italy’s James Bond Fan Club President, Edward who joins us in our private water taxi out to the Villa Del Balbeniello. The Villa is closed to the public, but we have secured a private day for our EURO2010 tour group and have the location to ourselves as we learn about its last resident, the Count Monzino who led several polar expeditions and marvel at his vast collection of rare artifacts. The grounds are staggering in a canvas of bougainvillea, boxwoods, azaleas and rhododendrons. Camera memory cards are seriously challenged here as our group has photo opportunities from Casino Royale and Star Wars II at every turn and bend. Sadly leaving, our water taxi takes us on a tour of Bellagio, the Villa Gaeta “Mr. White’s residence” and the Como residence of Virgin Airlines President, Richard Branson.












Our 5 star hotel for the evening, the Barchetta is at the southern shores of Lake Como and a short walk to the marina, we visit the local cathedral, where our Goldeneye Bungee jumpers meet for a quick prayer in anticipation of the next day’s field activities.








Adjacent to the Barchetta is the Terminus Hotel, a doppelganger for the Casino Royale Casino exterior locations in "Montenegro" ( but actually filmed outside of Prague), and is our selection for our private Como Vesper Martini party, these made peculiarly in the continental fashion with Vermouth Blanco—in courtesy to our bartenders, we accept them with grace, quickly quaffing our thirst and then, with gentle instruction, the next service is 3 parts gin, one part vodka with a splash of Kina Lillet, of course.



Heads heavy, we arise and board our bus for Switzerland, crossing the border into Lugano and up to a small road outside of Locarno. Our good friend, Anton at Trekking Bungy greets us at the Versazca Dam, and Richard suits up first in straps and a well used bungee cord for the ultimate spy experience, the Goldeneye Jump. You will remember this from the opening scene in "Goldeneye" when stuntman Wayne Michaels made the jump in the 1995 film. The Dam is 720 feet high and from our vantage point standing out on a 2 by 2 foot jump platform, looks every inch of 720. Ignoring common sense, our group is fearless as 6 of us jump to the sounds of Van Halen's "Jump". After a Feldschlossen Swiss beer toast dam side, we reboard our bus invigorated and head on and up into the Swiss Alps and the bending, turning hairpin turns.

















Our first pass is the Gotthard, which you would recognize as the beautiful alpine scenes from “Goldfinger”, where 007 trails the Rolls Royce to Goldfinger's Auric Enterprises factory. We visit Andermatt, the location of the gas station where 007 drops off Tilly Masterson, after shearing her tires with the Aston on the Hospental road. We arrive at the Bond/Goldfinger overlook in the Furka pass. Our 40 person coach precariously stops so we may disembark for a group photo. Shortly, we begin to gather a crowd of tourists, eager to know what we are photographing- my good friend, Jim Sieff, who is a legend in film location searches and is significant assistance on our tours ,mentions that actress Tania Mallet returned here recently to recreate her sniper shooting sequence for Octane Magazine (http://www.classicandperformancecar.com/front_website/gallery.php?id=306879) Past other wonderful scenic locations, the Hotel Galenstock and the Hotel Belvedere, seen as the Aston and the Rolls parade throughout the Alps.



We arrive Interlaken and check into the Beau Rivage, a stellar old world hotel on the edge of the Alps- we quickly unpack and meet for an evening funicular ride up to the Harder Kulm, an alpine restaurant high up overlooking Interlaken below. Our servers bring bottles of light Swiss white wine with bubbling fondue pots, laced with gruyere cheese, kirsch and a splash of pinot grigio. The evening dusk paints the Alps with a purple sheen as again our cameras are over taxed- this is a special evening, and our group has booked this tiny restaurant all to ourselves. On our return down to the village, our literary Bond experts detail the Gardner novel Interlaken sites as we walk the streets and attempt to walk off our wine and cheese experience.

The next morning brings an alpine sprinkle as we arrive Lauterbrunnen and we visit the "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" filming sites of the 007 escape scenes with Tracy in the village. The rain continues and our group is dismayed as we board our cable car up through Gimmelwald, Murran and Brig cable stops and disembark at Piz Gloria, certainly the greatest 007 Bond Film Site, known as the Blofeld laboratory of OHMSS. We are led to the 007 theater where we are greeted with a private EURO2010 Bond reception, with Vesper Martinis and excellent dried Swiss beef slices. We enjoy the theater, which houses an extensive museum of rare behind the scenes stills of the 1969 film.The window film curtains close from ceiling to floor, similar to that scene in Goldfinger, where Auric gasses the mob bosses following the disclosure of his plans to raid Fort Knox. Our film begins, treating us to a wonderful montage of the films highlights of Peter Hunt's and John Glen's masterpiece at Piz Gloria. The movie ends with 007 asking for a stiff brandy, "5 star Hennesey of course" and the curtains arise.










What were once clouds and rain are now sun and blue skies above the dazzling Alps, EURO2010 is saved again! Carefully grasping another Vesper, we alight up to the restaurant, which is all but unchanged from the 1969 film. Another great Swiss wine selection is made from our tour Sommelier, Lindsay and our 007 Bond Spaghetti dish arrives. Cameras continue to struggle as we document this film location for our memories. A surprise, the Swiss Army Marching Band arrives and as huge Bond fans, drum for us and pose gun barrel stance with us. Ironically, there is also a wedding taking place at the Piz and as we descend, we are a bit surprised by the wedding limo decorated with flowers waiting for the bride at the exit, we choose not to warn the blushing bride to avoid the drive through Portugal.




We retire to the Beau Rivage and with more Swiss fromage on our mind, visit a quaint Raclette restaurant. Raclette is best served up high in the Alps in winter, the wheel of this very fragrant cheese is suspended above the fireplace embers and scraped molten upon potatoes and cornishons(pickles). This being August, the effect is a bit lost as our Vietnamese server leads us to our private table. Not realizing why we have this beautiful Alpine chalet section to ourselves, we learn quickly, as shortly, 200 Japanese tourists descend on our area and we are witness to the melding of cultures-Swiss, Japanese, Vietnamese, German and Bond meeting Swiss melting cheese- not quite grasping that they take scalding hot fondue forks of cheese and bread and shove this into their mouths. We head back to the Beau Rivage for a late night Port and a wonderful discussion on Piz Gloria, OHMSS and its position as the greatest Bond film/story of the franchise.


We rise and surprise our tour guests with a detour, the Swiss/German city of Bern- we learn from our guide that the prevailing humor of the Bernese is that they are slow; they tell a joke on Tuesday and laugh on Friday. We quickly learn that this may not be the case as they wisely charge 2 francs a person to use their WC’s, so we feel they have the last laugh as they pocket a large amount of our dollars on our first stop at Bern. We walk the Spitalgasse and admire the sculptures and Swiss architecture.

We visit Gumbold's attorney offices at the Gauer Schweitzerhof and the train station, which in the film was the construction seen going on behind Draco's man Campbell as he delivers the enormously large photocopier up to Bond in the office.


We have a locally brewed wheat beer at the Bear Pits, which have now been converted to a museum and the bears themselves are nearby in a natural habitat, no longer begging for peanuts.







We head on to Geneva, although seen as just a GPS screen in the film Goldfinger and not actually a shooting location in the Bond films, we choose to stay for the night. Leslie’s father hails from here and her cousins, with a 100 year old home on UN Embassy Row, host us to a Bond Swiss party, with cousin Michel and his live band performing on the vast lawn. Michel's wife Valerie is an accomplished artist and created a 007 montage to welcome us into their home.









A wonderful array of appetizers and cases of exquisite Rioja from Spain and an open buffet are kindly extended to our group. From their backyard, we overlook the Rhone river and into France and the soaring Mont Blanc peak. We party late into the evening and retire to our hotel, nestled among the Bank and Watch stores near Lake Geneva.

This is truly a special evening for us all and thank you to our wonderful Swiss relatives.


We are up early as we have a 7 a.m. train schedule and dash to the Geneva Gare to board our bullet train, the TGV, as seen in the film "Mission Impossible" and we quickly depart from Switzerland to France. We arrive at 11 a.m. and bus down to the Pont de le Alma on the Seine River and board our Bateau Mouche for our A View to A Kill Seine lunch cruise. We note the tribute flame to Princess Diana, for it was at the Alma that her fatal limosine accident occured.

On a sillier note, we recognize the cafe nearby where "National Lampoon's European Vacation" was filmed, our cultural guide looks stunned as cameras choose to photograph that iconic location over the more somber Diana tribute. As we drift down the Seine past many film locations and famous Parisian landmarks, our Tom Cruise lookalike musician (we note that Tom Cruise shows up alot in this tour) plays the accordion as we are served the French specialty, slow roasted Pig Cheek served with a millefeulle of tomatoes and mozzerella- the cheek tastes very similar to a pot roast with a sweet glaze. Even our most conservative American diners choose not to turn their noses up to these wonderful cheeks. Our wine selection is a tasty Limoux Chardonnay rouge. We point out the bridges from the May Day jump and 007's pursuit, the National Treasure II Statue of Liberty bridge, the Pont Neuf from "Bourne Identity" and the Charade evening romantics sequences. This too, is a very special and relaxing experience as our group settles in to our final few days of this incredible journey.

We check into our hotel which is situated close to the Eiffel Tower, finding that on a Sunday, while Paris has 13,000 cafes, all appear to be closed, we find one near to the hotel and enjoy a small salad provincial and light rouge. At 8:30 in the evening, we are treated to "Illuminations", a bus tour of Paris at night and witness an incredible light show on the monuments of Paris, culmunating with the Eiffel, ablaze in sparkling small lights.

We arise early again and it is a long drive out to Chantilly, where we joined by Gunnar from Sweden, our guide and a horse trainer from the village. He leads us to the Chantilly training grounds where we view horses going through their routines with their trainers in preparation for auction. Gunner was present at the "A View to A Kill" filming and shares some interesting production points and photo stops. Our friends Luc, from the James Bond French Club and Remmert from the James Bond Lifestyle webstie join us at the Chantilly Race track stands and Luc shares his production insights. We are fortunate to have a VIP early entrance and the castle to ourselves as we recreate sequences from AVTAK. We are very lucky today, as we are allowed to view a private horse auction in the stables, the location where Bond inquires about the Icarus colt. On the grounds, we see the still functional drawbridge that 007 jumps across and the party bridge where champagne is offered to Stacy.












The stable areas are currently undergoing a 300 million EURO renovation, primarily in the areas where Tibbet hides in the stables and the car box yard. Luc guides us carefully through the area for photos and a walk through of the various film perspectives here.We gather for a Jenny Flex group photo at the entry stairs and also enjoy a photo on the grand master stairs, where Bond is seen with Jenny entering Zorin's castle.









After several hours at Chantilly, we turn our thoughts to another Bond villain and another French Chateau, the Vaux LeVicomte, the “Californian” reconstructed chateau of Hugo Drax of Moonraker. A much different atmosphere here, wherein Chantilly is large, kingly almost Versailles in feeling, Vicomte feels lived in, as if we would see the Count Nicholas Fouquet himself around each corner. We see the main reception where Bond and Corinne enter, and the library where Bond breaks into Drax’s safe. The sheer extent of this castle staggers us as we ascend to the tower to look out onto the grounds and see in the distance, the Hercules statue which stands in the area where Drax and Bond engage in a quail hunt. We head out to the gardens and we encourage our group to begin their astronaut training, which we do but it is much too late in the tour to do us any good for our misbehavors throughout the tour...the cheese, the wine, the martinis and the wonderful meals taking their toll.



We board our bus iand depart Melun and return to Paris- the agents changing from their field gear quickly into formal attire for our regal evening at the Moulin Rouge in Montmatre. General Manager Fanny Rabasse of the Moulin has our stage side seating waiting and her servers are well prepared for our 007 crew. They served a generous filet tenderloin ala Rossini with Lyonaise potatoes accompanied by a hearty Bordeaux. The show is spectacular, resplendant with topless can-can dancers, trained minature horses, jugglers and ventriloquists- our Bond group gasped as a dancer cavorted in a plexiglass tank with three pythons, a scene almost straight out of "Moonraker". We returned to our hotel, well fed and well entertained- an amazing day to remember.








We begin early in Paris the next day and on to Avenue d'Eylau for our visit to the SPECTRE HQ location from "Thunderball", traffic comes to a standstill as our 40 person bus blocks the Avenue for our photo opportunity. Our driver comments that we may have an unplanned photo opp with the gendarmes.















Our local guide gains us entry into the Notre Dame Cathedral and shares the story of how Victor Hugo's novel "the Hunchback" saved the Cathedral from destruction. From there, we drive up to the Gare du Nord and Terminus Nord where the great Bourne Identity chase scene (and literary Bond locations) begin. We have a VIP only access up to the Eiffel Tower 58 restaurant and thankfully avoid the long lines queing around the tower for hours. This being a spy lifestyle tour, waiting would not be very Bondian. Our group recreates the MayDay and 007 exchanges on the stairs and around the souvenir shop before settling in to our incredible meal atop the Eiffel. Foie Gras and Chicken with Potatoes with a Saint-Emilion Bordeaux, we look over at the SPECTRE HQ location below and the beautiful Seine.







The entree is topped with what appears to be soap suds, when upon tasting, is a very finely whipped salt mixture, delicious! We do a walk up the Avenue St. Germaine to enjoy a Mouton Cadet 2008 at the Deux Magots, a visit to Hemingway’s bar in the Ritz, we depart and make a quick visit to the St. Sepulchre Church, featured in the DaVinci Code. There are many tourists with the novel here taking photos of the brass meridian line, the church has leaflets denouncing the Dan Brown novel.

As the day is nearly done, we cab to Harry’s Bar Paris for a pitcher of martinis and look for our college pendants hanging on the bar walls (Harry’s is the famous ex-pat bar of Hemingway’s and a welcome refuge away from the bustle of the Opera and Café La Paix nearby) and enjoy sparring with the somewhat gruff bartender.









A return to our hotel for a quick shower and on to the CLUB SPECTRE FINALE PARTY, where we celebrate our 11 day journey and the accomplishments of this fantastic mission. Bondposters.com donated several rare posters as door prizes as did Martijn Mulder of his much used resource book for this tour, "On the Tracks of 007". Richard thanks Susanna and Jean Bautista of GLOBUS Tours who provided the incredible logistics of hotels, site reservations and insuring we all made it safely and on time from Venice to Paris. There were tears aplenty as we all said our goodbye and retired for the night.









Martijn Mulder's guide "On the Tracks of 007" was fished out of the Grand Canal and presented to our fearless bus driver, Jean.











Bondposters.com donated several rare posters for our party attendees


We're ready to take over for you Mr. Craig when you tire of the role!


Hopefully, James Bond and Themepartypeople will return....

This is your field agent, signing off.




With many thanks to Susanna, Jennifer, John-Bautista, Franky, Gemma of GLOBUS TOURS. Our wonderful 007 friends Luc, Edward and Remmert. Our local guides Rosanna, Jacqueline, Gunnar. Martijn Mulder, author and inspiring guru of film location hunting. The support of MI6, James Bond Lifestyle and Commander Bond for pre-tour publicity. My wife, Leslie, who spent hours coordinating the travel specifics with our guests and also enjoys Bond as much as I do. And of course, a final thanks to EON Productions, whose films and their splendid choices of exotiic film locations make this "scavenger hunt" a passion and joy for many of their fans.


James Bond materials © MGM, Sony, United Artists Corporation and Danjaq, LLC. 007 Gun Logo, James Bond, Casino Royale and all other James Bond related trademarks ™Danjaq, LLC.
Themepartypeople is an unofficial James Bond genre tour organizer and is not linked to the official James Bond production companies.
OPERATION EURO2010 Copyright TPP Tours