Back in 1967, the James Bond franchise was taking off. They had three very successful movies starring Sean Connery, and were looking to make the fourth installment in the franchise. The only problem was they were not going to have their star for this installment. Instead, they were going to go with then unknown Australian actor, George Lazenby. In order for the franchise to sustain this change, they were going to need to up their game a bit. They decided that the best thing they could do was to film the whole movie on location instead of mostly in the movie studio like they had done in the previous three movies. So the search started to find the best location, and eventually stumbles upon Schilthorn Peak in Switzerland.
At the time, this tiny peak in the Swiss Alps, right outside of Murren, was building a rotating restaurant that would allow the diners to see the majestic peaks that surrounded the location while enjoying a great meal. The only problem was they had run out of money, and the project was still far from completion. It seemed like it was going to be an abandoned building sitting high up in the mountains that nobody would ever come to visit. But the production company thought it was the perfect place to tell their story and they offered to complete the project if they would be allowed to film there.
It was a match made it heaven and after the movie finished filming, they were able to open the restaurant and people still come here to today to enjoy a nice meal while enjoying the ever changing scenery as they rotate around the the dining room at their seats. If you find yourself in the Lauterbrunnen, it is a fun way to spend the day, and you get a nice meal out of it at the same time.
That is not to say that they still do not play up the James Bond angle for those who come to visit. They have many places where you can get picture with life-sized cutouts of the characters from the movie, and many other places where you can fun James Bond themed pictures. There is even a whole level of the building dedicated to this iconic character and probably one of the franchise’s easily forgotten movies, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. They have a short film that tells all about the making of the movie along with set pieces and interactive games that tries to put you in the middle of the action.
It costs a little bit of money and time to get up to the top of the mountain, and you do have to wriggle your way in between other tourists and skiers who have come to enjoy the mountain in a completely different way. We also had to pay attention to the weather and make a split decision to go up there on a day when it was going to be clear. Clouds can change the whole make-up of the experience. But the tickets do come with an all you can eat brunch that is actually really good, and includes all of the champaign that you can have while you are there.
To get there, you need to cross the street from the train station at Lauterbrunnen and grab a gondola up to the town of Grutschlap on the top of the ridge. From there you catch an old train, and take a ten minute ride to the town of Murren. I would recommend getting on the left side of the train so you can have a clear view of the scenery from across the valley.
The next gondola that you have to hop on is not right next to the train station, and requires that you take a ten minute stroll through the town of Murren. This is a beautiful town and completely worth the walk, and during the winter you really start to feel like you a part of the ski community that is out here.
The next gondola will take you up to the town of Berg. It is another short little hop to reach the top of Schilthorn, but there is fun to be had in Berg before you make that last finally leap. You can also wait to enjoy it on the way back down since the only way to do that is the same way you came up but only in reverse. You can also ski down if it is winter, but then the Thrill Walk in Berg would be harder to do.
Basically the thrill walk is a series of rope bridges, and clear walkways that hang precariously over a big cliff. Everything on the walk is safe and I had to wait a few moments before I could make my way out onto each of the features as other people wanted to get their turn on them, but a lot of this was probably due to the fact that it was winter and I assume it is a lot busier during the summer months. Either way, it was free to get out there, and it was a lot of fun to play around on them.
I was lucky enough to have spent a clear and relatively warm day on top of the Alps and it has become one of the highlights of this trip. The food was good. The views were spectacular. It was fun pretending to be a part of a Bond movie for a little bit, and the ride up was even enjoyable. If you can afford to do it, I would highly recommend making your way up to Schilthorn Peak.