James Bond’s secret activities have taken him all over the world, without a trace, for over 50 years. Whether he be in a suit and bowtie at some swanky European party or in nothing but short shorts coming out of the water in the Caribbean, he always seems to blend in. I enjoy seeing where Bond pops up in films and leaning about where Ian Fleming found inspiration as much as the adventures he goes on, but a few places specifically stick with me.
Glen Etive, UK :: Skyfall
The scene in Skyfall, where Bond and M are standing on a desolate road, with nothing but his Aston Martin DB35 behind and a foggy Scottish landscape ahead is chilling. Foreshadowing a wasteland sort of battle in later scenes, this image will stay with you long after the film.
If you want to Bond’s view of the Scottish Highlands, go for a cruise on Glen Etive just of A82. But don’t bother looking for the house Bond grew up in where final scenes in the movie take place. That was created for the movie specifically and located miles away in the English country side.
Jökulsárlón, Iceland :: Die Another Day
Quite a lot of filming from Die Another Day took place in this area of Iceland. It’s where Gustav Graves premiered his diamond satellite that was said to give new light to darkness in the world, but is really just a terrorist weapon meant to drown the greatest Bond girl whose ever lived, Halle Berry, in an igloo, among other things.
The scene left me wanting to visit Iceland to see its dramatic landscape for myself, wondering how people stay warm in an igloo castle (by means other than having sex with Pierce Brosnan), vowing to never stay in an igloo hotel and really wishing Aston Martin would release an invisible car to the public. You’ll love the chase scenes on ice, the icy cliffs that are hundreds of feet above the sea and pure white scenery.
Venice, Italy :: Casino Royale
Venice is a pretty classic city in the world for chase scenes in films. The confusing layout of the streets, fact that most lead to water and mass crowds make it the perfect spot for a worrisome pursuit.
In Casino Royale, Bond, played by Daniel Craig and Vesper, the reason he becomes such a cold-hearted womanizer, arrive in the city by yacht and are later chased throughout it. Along the way, viewers get a good idea of what the city is like. The feeling you get from watching this on film can almost be re-created in person, because it’s easy to actually feel like your in a movie just walking around the streets of Venice. There’s something secretive and exciting about this city that translates even to non-spies. Just don’t go into any dilapidated buildings that are already sinking into the sea. We all know how that turns out.
GoldenEye :: Oracabessa Bay, Jamaica
The place where Bond came to life. Ian Fleming first imagined James Bond at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica. While Bond might be fictional, a real-life spy scenario first brought Fleming to this part of the world. According to GoldenEye’s website, Fleming first visited Jamaica during WWII to investigate U-Boat activities in the Caribbean on behalf of Naval Intelligence.
He fell in love with the land and the people and ended up purchasing property near the village of Oracabessa Bay, which translates to “golden head” in English. Hence the name of his property and the inspiration behind of the world’s most famous fictional spies. You can actually visit his estate too and see where Fleming first dreamed about Bond, over 50 years ago.
Dukes :: London, UK
Every author or writer has his or her bar, cafe or park to escape to when they can’t get anything more done in their home. Dukes was one of Fleming’s. The high-end St. James’s hotel and bar is known for its specialty cocktails, so it should come as no surprise that this is said to be where the inspiration for the line, “shaken, not stirred”, came from.
This last location is part of a 007 James Bond tour of London that I just wrote for Unanchor. If you want to see more of Bond in the city where MI5 is located and the country which Bond spies on behalf of, check out my tour. The 007 James Bond Tour of London will have you visiting Ian Fleming’s former hangouts, significant places in Bond’s character building and of course film locations from Dr. No (1962), Goldfinger (1964), Live and Let Die (1973), Octopussy (1983), The World is not Enough (1999), Die Another Day (2002), Quantum of Solace (2008) and Skyfall (2012). Plus, it only costs $1.99.
Banner photo: Skyfall Official Movie Site