- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 7, 2002

MURREN, Switzerland James Bond junkies looking for that perfect way to celebrate 40 years of 007 or merely revved up by the latest movie need look no further than the Schilthorn for the ultimate fan experience.
Like the backdrop of all Bond movies, this snow-capped mountain in the Alps combines dramatic views with crisp air and a sense of danger. It also boasts a revolving restaurant 10,000 feet up that served as a set for 1969's "On Her Majesty's Secret Service."
Well aware of the Bond mystique and its effect on tourism, the Piz Gloria restaurant makes the most of its place in film history.
That begins with the $15 "James Bond Breakfast," which includes fresh bread, scrambled eggs with ham and, what else, one glass of champagne (mixed with orange juice).
For those who like their alcohol after lunch, there's always the $4 "famous shaken, not stirred martini" in the James Bond Bar, where local artists have covered the walls with film scenes.
And for entertainment, just push the "007" button in the octagonal Touristama hall for a presentation on the 160-degree screen of movie trailers shot at the Schilthorn.
Before leaving, stop by the gift shop for James Bond umbrellas, coffee mugs and T-shirts. The 007-logo watch is the best seller at $65, according to sales manager Beatrice Dolder.
"I think it's the combination of the mountains and Swiss watches and the James Bond theme," she said.
The latest Bond installment, "Die Another Day" opened Nov. 28 in Switzerland, but the mountain's amenities including the restaurant will not open for the season until today. Based on the number of phone calls she's received, Miss Dolder is expecting a good turnout.
Steep, snowy slopes and the longest aerial cableway in the world led United Artists to choose Schilthorn as a stage for "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," the sixth film in the series, which starred George Lazenby as James Bond, Diana Rigg as the only Mrs. Bond, and Telly Savalas as the evil Count Blofeld. (The site has since been named the best by jamesbondlocations.com)
In 1967, the cableway had reached the top of the Schilthorn and work had already started on the revolving restaurant when the infant Schilthornbahn Co. ran out of money.
At about that time, a scout for the movie company was scouring Europe for a mountaintop location accessible only by cable car. The filmmakers agreed to finish the building and furnish it to their needs as Blofeld's mountain hideaway before turning it into the originally planned restaurant. No money ever changed hands.
"The 'blood stains' have long since been washed away," the Schilthorn restaurant says in one advertisement. "The villains have long since risen from the dead and, between you and me, the revolving restaurant was never really blown up!"
Just reaching the restaurant feels like an adventure right out of a Bond movie.
The Schilthorn cable railway, split into four sections, starts in Stechelberg (3,000 feet above ground), and it takes 30 minutes to reach the restaurant at the top. At one point in the journey, the cable car climbs another 3,000 feet within six minutes.
"Close your eyes," Miss Dolder advises, "and it won't be a problem." Or be brave, like James.

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