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.
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.
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