Bardenas Reales in Northern Spain is where Bond met Dr. Christmas Jones in The World Is Not Enough (1999)


In the extreme southwest of the European continent, Spain is one of Europe’s largest countries. The unique location at the crossroads of Europe and Africa and at the junction of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic has given its long history a richness and complexity not shared by that of other European countries. Spaniards were the first Europeans to establish a permanent presence in the Americas, countries like Portugal, England and France were soon to follow. Spain was also the first European country in our modern times to possess a large overseas empire, which it ruled from the end of the 15th to the end of the 19th century.

The diversity of the Spanish landscape, together with low cost production climate, caused many film makers to come to Spain and shoot their film here. Remember Clint Eastwood portraying his famous nameless character in the early “Dollar” films? All shot in Spain... Even the American Civil War was recreated in Spain for “The good, the bad and the ugly”! (The climatic three-man shootout on the cemetery was filmed in the northern-central Burgos region, in the hills near Silos).
It’s the same case with James Bond. During most of his visits, Spain doubled for other countries. The first time Bond fans saw a glimpse of Spain was back in 1963 in From Russia With Love. While filming the Istanbul underground water reservoir scenes, the script called for a large amount of wild brown rats to run through the cellars. Since English law restrictions had made it impossible to use real wild rats, the crew experimented first with tame white rats dipped in chocolate milk (!). When that didn't work out, director Terence Young went to the Spanish capital Madrid and ordered 200 wild brown rats. They were delivered at a small rented garage that had been transformed into part of the underground reservoir. While the crew was protected by a glass sheet, that scene was finally filmed to everyone's satisfaction..., in Spain.
Bilbao, as can be seen in the first scenes of The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Cadiz in the South of Spain doubled for Havana, in Die Another Day (2002)
Designed by the architect Frank O. Gehry to serve as an architectural landmark recognizable worldwide, the Guggenheim Museum represents an outstanding example of the most avant-garde architecture of the 20th century. Finished in 1997, the building comprises a number of interconnected volumes, which some of them are sandstone orthogonal shapes that offer a solid foundation, while other titanium-clad sections curve and flow in glimmering light. These volumes combine with glass walls, which lend an air of transparency to the entire building. Despite displaying famous modern and contemporary art collections, the building’s exceptional architecture itself seems to attract even more attention. It is open every day, except Monday, from 10 am to 8 pm. The price is 10 Euro. You can join free guided tours at 11.00, 12.30, 4.30 pm at 6.30 pm.

The building opposite the Guggenheim Museum, was used as ‘La Banque Suisse de L’Industrie’. It is in fact a law office. You will immediately recognize the building which our hero jumps down from, in The World Is Not Enough. It was exactly from the sixth floor, Bond holding a briefcase with the help of a curtain sash cord. As Michael Apted explained: "This is where we tell people 'you are in a Bond movie’. Within one and a half minutes of sitting down. The stunts are real. This is our signature." The opening scene shows us the stunning Guggenheim, the shot was taken from Calle Iparraguirre. Just seconds before we watch Bond walking on the street, this sequence was taken at the corner of Calle Henao. A lot of pubs and restaurants are waiting for you, as the Basque cuisine is highly recommendable.


This and much more can be found in the chapter 'Gateway to the World' in ON THE TRACKS OF 007

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