Greece

Corfu location map

Greece

In the heart of the Mediterranean Sea lies one of Europe’s most interesting countries: Greece. Its mainland surrounded by thousands of islands, Greece played an important part in European history. It also provided dazzling filming locations for James Bond’s 12th adventure, For Your Eyes Only, which brought Roger Moore’s Bond back to reality. It is possible to talk for weeks about Greece’s rich history, but that would be too much to discuss in this book. We will limit ourselves to the main tourist attractions and archaeological remains that make this country so attractive to tourists and historians.

Below is a summary of the story A Drive In The Country as featured in the travel guide On The Tracks Of 007
Athens, the country’s capital, is a good place to start touring Greece. Being one of the most polluted cities in the world, Athens has a difficult time to prove itself. But don’t let the extremely busy streets scare you away from the beautiful and quiet spots that still exist here. Take your time to look around and you will undoubtedly discover them!

The heart of the city is the Akropolis, probably the best known monument from ancient Greece. The name, meaning ‘high city’, says it all. On this hill, a huge fortress surrounded the actual city for thousands of years. All that remains nowadays are some temple structures, of which the Parthenon is the most famous. Around the hill, the Plaka-district is well worth a visit. The area is restricted to cars and offers many restaurants and small squares. The best way to tour the mainland, is by renting a car. The well maintained roads and excellent road signs guide you past some of the world's most interesting excavations. Two of those places we will briefly discuss here.

Olympia, on the western side of the Peleponesos peninsula, is where our modern Olympic Games found their origin. The excavations attract busloads of tourists each day, and give you an idea of the importance of sports in the ancient Greek society. Driving to the north of the peninsula, at Patrai, you can take a ferry that takes you ‘back’ to the actual mainland. From there it is only an hour to Delphi, situated in one of the most impressive areas of the country. High up in the mountains, this was once the most sacred place of the Greeks. For those of you who are not much into ancient architecture, the remains of Delphi might resemble those of any other excavation in Greece.

One temple structure might ring a bell, on the other hand. In the lower part of the Delphi area, the three remaining pillars of the Tholos Temple where cleverly used as a background for the end credits of For your eyes only.
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The island of Corfu: Corfu Town

Corfu has a lot to offer, from beautiful beaches to magnificent landscapes. For the Bond location hunter, it has even more to offer. In For Your Eyes Only it was used by the film makers not only as the island it is, but also as the area around Madrid (Spain) and Albania. Director John Glen wanted to return to the style of the earliest Connery films and present Bond as a more realistic hero who gets hurt every now and then. The storyline was roughly based on two short stories by Ian Fleming, For your Eyes Only and Risico. The script ultimately written by Michael Wilson and Richard Maibaum, For Your Eyes Only had a budget of 28 million Dollars and called for mainly European locations. Greece was soon decided upon, since it was a country Bond had not visited before. While scouting for possible locations, Michael Wilson and John Glen instantly fell in love with the island of Corfu, realizing its beauty had a lot of potential.

Corfu Town is a busy place. In the heart of the city, a pedestrian area called ‘the Old Town’, is crowded with tourists trying to bring home some souvenirs from the many shops. Here you should take your time, sit down somewhere and relax a bit while enjoying a glass of Ouzo, the national drink. In this area you will also find the Agios Spyridon Tower, which could be briefly seen in the film, when Bond and Melina go ‘shopping’. A big park on the eastern side of the city is called the Spianada. Here the Greeks play....cricket (!), a sport introduced by the British around 1850. In the park, you can also find a round temple-like monument, also briefly visible in the film.
Corfu
Meteora
One of the most exciting Bond locations in Corfu Town is undoubtedly The Old Fortress, built by the Venetians. This fortress served in fact as a background for more than one action sequence. It is already visible in the beginning of the film, when Gonzales flies Melina towards her parent’s boat. Later in the film, it is supposed to be close to Kristatos’ Albanian warehouse. This ‘warehouse’ is located on the northern side of the fortress, and is in reality a small harbour house. When Bond and Colombo’s men arrive at the warehouse at night, they come from the north.
 
Time to enter the fortress. The admission fee is only 5 Euro. When you walk into the recently restored area, you will not immediately be reminded of the exciting scenes in which Bond follows Locque on foot. But if you know where to look for, you can find all locations! To avoid unnecessary and time consuming searching, the best thing to do is to go to the left when you are in front of the ‘British barracks’. Following this path will lead you through the tunnels in which Bond was almost run over by Locque’s Mercedes. There are in fact only two of these tunnels inside the fortress, and again this shows how clever filmmakers can be. It is amazing to see, that they ingeniously used every remarkable spot inside the fortress, and made it look like one big car-foot chase.
The Old Fortress in Corfu Town, or Kerkira, as seen in For Your Eyes ONly (1981)
Hector Gonzales' villa, not in Madrid but in Corfu
The road and tunnels eventually lead to the most eastern side of the fortress, an area where not many tourists show up, fortunately. Here you will find the still very recognisable stone gate from where Bond finally shoots Locque. In the film, Bond appears from the right side of the gate. In reality there is only a very small space here, mostly filled with rubble. Again this space was very cleverly used. After Locque is shot by Bond, the former's car spins and crashes into a low brick wall. We all remember Locque’s car standing on the edge of a high cliff. This cliff is in fact not in front of the stone gate, but behind it. A security rope prevents us from falling down, but not from stepping over it to take some great photos of this very recognisable cliff... Although in this scene Roger Moore finally brought back something of Bond’s original harshness, he reportedly had big difficulty playing this. In the scene, Bond avenges his murdered Italian contact Ferrara, by showing killer Locque no mercy and finally kicking the latter's car off the cliff. This kind of ruthlessness had in fact not been seen since the earlier Bond films. Recently, access to this area has been restricted, but there's always the possibility to climb some fences on the south side, or climb some walls and hills on the north side to get to your destination. Be careful though, the area hasn't been taken care of for a while and is not in a very good state.


The island of Corfu: Kanoni

Only a stone’s throw away from Corfu Town lays the crowded Kanoni peninsula. Once the most beautiful corner of the island, it attracted too many tourists, and now it is almost completely filled with hotels. A small one-way street leaves from the most southern part of Corfu Town’s boulevard and takes you up the hill to some marvellous views. Just follow the road and the signs to Vlacherna and Pondikonissi, better known as ‘Mouse Island’. You will end up at the monastery of Vlacherna. This little church is on almost every postcard and is the most famous site in Corfu.

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This and much more can be found in the chapter 'A Drive In The Country' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

Connected hotels:

Villa Sylva

Kanoni, Corfu, Greece
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