On the Road to Piz Gloria – Chapter One – Where’s George?

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Just a slight stiffness coming on.” Bond, On her Majesty’s Secret Service


Stepping off the train at Lauterbrunnen, the valley before the ascent to Murren, base camp to Piz Gloria, home of the newly commercially coined ‘Bond World’ you’re hit with an indistinguishable smell of cow shit. Lauterbrunnen still 2612 feet above sea level, is also the end of the line for the melted caps descending from the peaks of Jungfrau, spilling off the table top down into the ravines. It’s the most beautiful train station you’re likely to see.


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To try and school you in the exact route for your pilgramge could be a lesson in futility. Numerous cable carts, trains, even the 141 bus. All you need is the SBB App, a Swiss Pass, and a girlfriend that has a nose for north. You’ll know where you are when you hit the cable cart at Grutschalp, a totemic poster of George Lazenby in his herringbone suit, dimpled chin and balled fist is there to welcome you. In the foyer a Schilthorn Bond snowglobe, a shadowy figure reminiscent more of the Man from Milk Tray than Bond is embossed on an over priced hipflask.


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We get to the hotel, in Murren, a listless man with a tightly coiled grey mullet perm serves us a couple of Campari’s. I ask him when George Lazenby was last here, where did he sleep, where he is now, when was the last time he saw On her Majesty’s Secret Service, god dammit I had more questions than Magnus Fucking Magnusson and Mr Perm, in his sloth like delivery pointed to a table in the corner, ‘he ate there’ he said stoically and promptly called last orders.


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We checked into our room, a chalet at the back of the hotel Blumental. We shared this chalet with a family, at least, what I hoped was a family, two adjacent rooms had doors open and grown ups sleeping between children. A very trusting breed the Swiss. I informed the missus that I’d have trouble sleeping, knowing I’ll be visiting Bond World, my graceland overlooking the Bernese Alps. Like a giddish 8 year old on Christmas Eve, barely able to contain my impetuous excitement. However, the travel, the altitude, the two bottles of fruit brandy consumed the night before, quenched all my minds exuberance. I slept, expertly. Tomorrow would be one of the best days of my life.


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