TRAVEL/ Eric Mackenzie-Lamb
ANDERMATT, SWITZERLAND: This once sleepy village of about 1300 inhabitants, known for its cheese fondue, rustic wooden buildings, cowbells, and cobble-stoned streets, recently took a bold initiative.
To commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the third James Bond film, “Goldfinger”, local authorities decided to erect a road sign in 007’s honor.
The site, alongside a twisting mountain road leading to the historic Furka pass (once traversed by Britain’s Queen Victoria in a horse-drawn coach) overlooks an area where many of the movie’s dramatic car chase scenes-including the sequence in which Bond’s Aston Martin shreds the tires of Tilly Masterson’s Ford Mustang-were filmed.
The idea was originally proposed by local Bond fans, some of whom were cast as child extras in the original 1964 production.
“Of course, some things have changed over the last fifty years”, observed Erich Nager, a local schoolteacher who, along with his brother Benno, was in one of the roadside scenes. “The Rhone glacier, seen in some of the frames as a backdrop for Auric Goldfinger’s limousine, has retreated almost a kilometer. There are also some new buildings, a steam railway very popular with tourists, even a golf course. But the scenery is still spectacular”.
There have been other changes as well; or soon will be. Europe’s first Chedi hotel will finally open its doors in Andermatt in early December, while construction of a new Radisson Blu is scheduled to begin in 2014. Valet parking attendants will soon be groomed on how to pamper an influx of Ferraris, Bentleys, Lamborghinis, BMWs, and, hopefully, the occasional Aston Martin DB5. (Preferably without ejection seat).
And those special martinis? No problem, sir.
Commander Bond would feel right at home.