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My mission to James Bond mountain: HUGH GORDON clambers aboard trains and funiculars to absorb views from Murren, the car-free Swiss village made well-known by 007

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Snidely, comedians of the sort who infest Channel 4 schedules have an insult for a lot of the good issues in life. For instance, Switzerland, in line with Ian Smith, is a ‘mountainous land filled with banks the place outdated individuals can go and legally kill themselves.’

How charming! Contemplating that Switzerland persistently tops lists as the most effective nation on the earth, maybe the comedian – who was born in Goole in Humberside – is simply jealous.

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Anyway, the nation isn’t simply all chocolate, cheese and trains that run on time. In truth, although the trains do run on time, connections may be as sophisticated as travelling between Aberdeen and Penzance.

My journey from Zurich airport to the Alpine village of Murren concerned three trains – and the timetable exhibits that typically it may be six.

However as soon as up within the pristine air of the Jungfrau area, all worries about transport may be forgotten. Murren, just like the Croatian island of Lopud, Herm within the Channel Isles and Venice, is likely one of the few elements of the world which are car-free – by selection, in contrast to for Londoners whose mayor Sadiq Khan is imposing a Internet Zero plan for the UK capital – and it has a beautiful funicular, too.

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Mountain highs: Hugh Gordon travelled to Murren in Switzerland, which is one of the few places in the world that's car-free – by choice. Above is the village's funicular railway

Mountain highs: Hugh Gordon travelled to Murren in Switzerland, which is likely one of the few locations on the earth that is car-free – by selection. Above is the village’s funicular railway 

They could be cliches however each a kind of Julie Andrews-ish pictures of Switzerland nonetheless thrills. Certainly, the hills are alive with the sound of cowbells and the scent of untamed thyme.

Really, it’s wildflower heaven. On my go to in June, I counted greater than 200 species: Girl’s Bedstraw, Chook’s-foot Trefoil, Twayblade orchids… Throughout the identical two days, my horticulturalist pal Non Morris (researching her new e book on Alpine flowers) ticked off numerous extra. Nature is unstinting in its generosity.

However it’s Man’s ingenuity that draws vacationers as properly.

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By no means having seen a James Bond movie, it took me a lot persuasion to go to the mountaintop restaurant Piz Gloria, the place On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed in 1969.

The 85.60 Swiss francs (£75) return cable automotive fare appeared as steep because the climb to the two,970 m (9,744 ft) summit.

However with whole world field workplace gross sales of £7.1 billion from all Bond motion pictures, the attraction is clearly big. The gondola to the highest was as crammed as Daniel Craig’s budgie-smugglers.

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As soon as there, you possibly can have snowball fights all year-round, go to a Bond museum (and sit in a simulation stunt helicopter), find out how Diana Rigg stormed out of 1 native lodge whereas filming as a result of the supervisor (an Avengers fan) referred to as her Emma Peel, and see footage of Joanna Lumley as certainly one of Blofeld’s 12 Angels of Dying.

Not forgetting the 37 Swiss francs (£32) all-you-can-eat and as-much-Prosecco-as-you-can-drink buffet lunch in a room that revolves 360 levels in 45 minutes.

Hugh paid 85.60 Swiss francs (£75) for a return cable car ride from Murren to the summit of Schilthorn

Hugh paid 85.60 Swiss francs (£75) for a return cable automotive journey from Murren to the summit of Schilthorn

Hugh paid a visit to the mountaintop restaurant Piz Gloria, where Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed

Hugh paid a go to to the mountaintop restaurant Piz Gloria, the place Bond movie On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was filmed 

Chills and thrills: Diners at Piz Gloria are seated in a room that revolves 360 degrees in 45 minutes, Hugh reveals

Chills and thrills: Diners at Piz Gloria are seated in a room that revolves 360 levels in 45 minutes, Hugh reveals 

Flashback: George Lazenby as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the film that put Murren on the map

Flashback: George Lazenby as 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the movie that put Murren on the map 

Oh, and the bogs, which have indicators above the urinals: ‘Purpose like James!’ and ‘Shake, don’t stir!’. These have been total winners of the 2018 Worldwide Bathroom Tourism Awards.

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Speaking of Bond baddies… what’s it about American vacationers? There are tons within the Alps. Self-identifying with the massive mountains? The nice change fee? Each, most likely.

However one disagreeable instance of this nation grew to become so indignant after I talked about that below administration guidelines his (video-game taking part in) younger youngsters shouldn’t be within the lodge sauna, that he threatened to hit me with a sauna bucket picket ladle.

True to their very own nationwide character, the Swiss lodge employees acted as worldwide peacekeepers.

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Resort Eiger in Murren is family-run. Such institutions have the identical friendliness and reliability you count on from John Lewis. A very deft contact was noticing the birthdate on my passport and secretly organising a birthday dinner for me.

Within the village of Gimmelwald, a store takes the ‘by no means knowingly under-sold’ philosophy one step additional. Fee is finished on a belief foundation. The Swiss Honesty Store calls itself the ‘residence of optimistic statements’. Pinned on the wall are notes from guests saying issues comparable to ‘restored my religion in humanity’.

Subsequent door, within the bar, a person was filling envelopes with tiny memento cowbells, whereas his spouse (‘My husband might personal this place but it surely’s me who runs it!’) provided a novel darkish lager referred to as Black Monk – which supplies any Dublin brew a run for its cash.

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Aside from the very fact they’ve indicators saying they promote eggs, smoked sausage and cheese (three of the realm’s 5 predominant meals, solely lacking bread and wine), the farmsteads of Gimmelwald wouldn’t look misplaced within the seventeenth Century. All haymaking is finished by hand because the slopes are too steep for mechanical aids.

No marvel there are such a lot of mountain myths. For instance, two patches of snow on the highest of Mount Schreckhorn are mentioned to be the souls of two nuns who have been banished for main immoral lives. The white spots are a continuing reminder to each new technology of younger girls to maintain their advantage as pure as recent snow.

Hugh stayed at the family-run Hotel Eiger (above) in Murren. 'Such establishments have the same friendliness and reliability you expect from John Lewis,' he says

Hugh stayed on the family-run Resort Eiger (above) in Murren. ‘Such institutions have the identical friendliness and reliability you count on from John Lewis,’ he says

Hugh notes that on Schilthorn, you can visit a Bond museum (above) and sit in a simulation stunt helicopter

Hugh notes that on Schilthorn, you possibly can go to a Bond museum (above) and sit in a simulation stunt helicopter

The Swiss Honesty Shop in the village of Gimmelwald calls itself the ‘home of positive statements’

The Swiss Honesty Store within the village of Gimmelwald calls itself the ‘residence of optimistic statements’

Meals-wise, it’s not all raclette and fondu: Resort Eiger serves a knockout Asian-style beef fillet with okra and mushrooms with a inexperienced curry coconut sauce, whereas on the opposite facet of the valley, a lot decrease down, Resort Barren in Wengen presents pike with nettle sauce, strawberry risotto and watercress cappuccino.

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The Jungfrau space can also be recognized for winter sports activities. There are some outstanding pictures displayed in Murren of the Anglo-Swiss ski workforce in 1924, with opponents sporting bow ties, berets and no gloves.

Extra individuals will have the ability to go to for the 159-day winter sports activities season when the world’s steepest cable automotive is constructed between Stechelberg and Murren, in a position to transport 800 individuals each hour. Costing €102 million (£87 million), development crews have had to make use of an electrical excavator as a result of diesel machines have bother beginning in such skinny air.

However, as is customized with the Swiss, all the pieces goes like clockwork. There appears nothing the nation can’t do properly – all the pieces works superbly. It’s like watching a Roger Federer backhand.

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TRAVEL FACTS

B&B doubles at Resort Eiger from CHF330 (£298) per room per night time for 2 sharing. Packages from CHF1215pp (£1,096) – consists of seven nights B&B in double room, return journey up Schilthorn and one hour therapeutic massage (hoteleiger.com). Journey info at myswitzerland.com and resort info at muerren.swiss.

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