The following day we went to the Schilthorn, another mighty mountain in such an extraordinary part of the world. This time the attraction was not Bollywood but Bond, James Bond. The revolving restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn was used for the final climactic scene in one of the early Bond movies, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which starred George Lazenby, the only Australian actor to take on the famous role. The fact that the movie was a dud hasn’t deterred Bond fans from journeying there, eating a meal and getting a t-shirt as proof of their journey. Once more the view is the secondary attraction only – although this time it’s the Bond brand which dominates the tourist traffic.I mused to myself that Switzerland was now a place where the celebrated scenery was clearly marginalised by the filmic associations, but one final visit reassured me that at least one Swiss icon remains a tourist magnet in its own right. On our journey out of the country we went through the St Bernard Pass and stopped to see the kennels where the legendary St Bernard dogs live with their owners, the monks who for generations have helped travellers lost in the snow. Or rather they did – the monks have now mostly gone, and the giant dogs are there only for the summer months. A major tourist attraction, these dogs may be approached, patted and photographed. For generations the top dog has been named Barry, and the most famous Barry of them all, Barry the 3rd, who was responsible for over 40 rescues, has been stuffed and mounted. In this place Barry rules, okay, and at last Switzerland seemed real to me.
Sharyn Pearce lectures in Literary Studies at QUT.