Piz Gloria & The Schilthorn
Part Three of our Alpine Adventure
We all know that being a tourist is about eating, going to the top of things and seeing things you saw in a movie right? So visiting the Piz Gloria, a rotating restaurant/Bond villain lair perched on top of a mountain is the tourist destination equivalent of a triple-threat.
The restaurant rotates at one majestic revolution per hour, allowing its patrons to appreciate the stunning vistas at a pleasantly glacial pace. Interestingly, this is but one of three rotating restaurants in the Swiss Alps. Construction began in the 1960s, but building a restaurant that rotates on top of a mountain proved to be more difficult than previously thought (how that is possible, we don’t know), and the project was abandoned for a period. Fortunately, Piz Gloria was saved by an unlikely source…Bond, James Bond.
Sean Connery decided to “retire” from the role of James Bond after his fifth film, You Only Live Twice. He was replaced by George Lazenby for the sixth film in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Sadly, despite the star power of the supporting cast – Telly Savalas as uber-villain Blofeld (the prototype for Dr. Evil) and Diana Rigg (aka Mrs. Emma Peel) as Bond’s wife – the film and Lazenby are often ignored when discussing the Bond canon.
In the movie, Bond infiltrates and then escapes from Blofield’s mountaintop lair. Since mountaintop lairs for megalomaniacs are not often found in nature, and since CGI didn’t exist, the film crew did the next best thing: they found a partially finished, futuristic-looking revolving restaurant on the top of a mountain and offered to finance the construction to complete it in exchange for exclusive filming rights. Take a look:
Today, Piz Gloria is accessible by a series of cableways from Murren. The first takes you from Murren (elev. 5400 feet) up to Brig, where you get on a second cable car up to the Piz Gloria (elev. 10,000 feet). Once there, you can walk around and admire the view. Head outside to the observation deck and take pictures of the surrounding peaks, taking in the panorama of the Jungfrau region. It is cold and windy up here (you are on top of a mountain, after all), so when you are finished, head inside to the restaurant for a warm-up. The restaurant has plenty of food at prices you would expect a rotating restaurant on the top of a mountain to have. The drinks are not that expensive, so have a seat and order a coffee and watch the world spin around. Oh, and the restaurant definitely hasn’t forgotten its Bond roots. Be sure to pick up a 007 souvenir at the gift shop. After all, you are a tourist!