R.A.F. Canberra

In the last pages of From Russia With Love, arrangements are made to transport a package from Paris to London, via Orly Air Base outside of Paris. Rene Mathis says:

We are to fill the laundry basket and and take it to Orly and await an R.A.F. Canberra which will arrive at two o’clock. We hand over the basket. Some dirty washing which was in France will be in England. Yes?

The R.A.F. Canberra was one of the most famous planes in the Royal Air Force, the first generation of jet bombers which were manufactured in the 1950’s.  The last Canberra jet was retired in 2006.

canberra

More on the record-setting English Electra Canberra.

Hôtel Ritz Paris

When James Bond arrives in Paris, after having departed the Orient Express in Dijon, he heads to the luxurious Ritz Hotel.

Bond’s taxi pulls up to the Rue Cambon entrance of the hotel.

Ritz Hotel, Paris. Rue Cambon Street side.
Ritz Hotel, Paris. Rue Cambon Street side.

He goes into the hotel, takes a left and goes into the Ritz bar, where he has a double vodka martini.

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Bond feels wonderful at the moment. After finishing his martini, he goes to the concierge lodge, is given a pass-key (and a sharp look) on orders from Rene Mathis, and heads to his destination – room 204.

Here are a couple of the suites from the Ritz Paris, which has been under renovation for the last few years. These are from prior to the renovations.

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It was a typical Ritz sitting-room, extremely elegant, with good Empire furniture. The walls were white and the curtains and chair covers were of a small patterned chintz of red roses on white. The carpet was wine-red and close-fitted.

In a pool of sunshine, in a low-armed chair beside a Directoire writing desk, a little old woman sat knitting.

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The novel From Russia With Love ends inside this room 204 of the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

All Orient Express Stations In From Russia With Love

For the last few months, we’ve been taking a deep-dive into the journey on board the Orient Express during the events of From Russia With Love.

While doing this, I’ve plotted the course on the new Google My Maps feature, and I’m pleased to show it to you here:

The map is interactive – you can zoom in and out, open it full screen, and click on any of the markers for photographs and links to the posts about that station.

Here are the stations in order of the events from the novel:

Istanbul (Turkey)

Uzunkopru (Turkey)

Alexandropolis and Pithion (Greece)

Thessaloniki (Greece)

Idomeni (Greece)

Belgrade (Yugoslavia – Serbia)

Vincovci and Brod  (Yugoslavia – Croatia)

Zagreb (Yugoslavia – Croatia)

Ljubljana (Yugoslavia – Slovenia)

Sezana (Yugoslvia – Slovenia)

Poggioreale (Italy)

Maestre, Venice, Padua, Vicenza and Verona (Italy)

Domodossola (Italy)

Iselle (Italy) and Brig (Switzerland)

Lausanne and Vallorbe (Switzerland)

Dijon (France)

simplon-orient-express-1947

 

 

 

Domodossola Train Station (Italy)

James Bond is in the midst of an intense talk with Captain Nash when he senses change.

The train began to slow down.

Domodossola. The Italian frontier. But what about customs? But Bond remembered. There were no formalities for the through carriages until they got to France, to the frontier, Vallorbes.

The station of Domodossola is another in the series of 19th century train stations still in use today, having opened in 1888.

domodossola domodossola-train-station

Lausanne and Vallorbe

After departing the station of Brig, Switzerland, James Bond has some cleaning up to do in his compartment on board the Orient Express.

Tatiana Romanova is sleeping and Bond does not wake her while he tidied up. When he does attempt to wake her, they are nearly to the station of Lausanne.

lausanne

Then an hour later, they reach the French frontier of Vallorbe. Bond waits in the corridor, lest the officials see the mess he made of his compartment.

valorbe

Then they are in France and on the home stretch.

Dijon Railway Station

In From Russia With Love, after James Bond has a disagreement with Captain Nash, he decides to take Tatiana and leave the train at Dijon. (Gare de Dijon-Ville)

At last they were down the steps and on to the hard, wonderful, motionless platform. A blue-smocked porter took their luggage.

The sun was beginning to rise. At that hour of the morning there were very few passengers awake. Only a handful in the third class, who had ridden ‘hard’ through the night, saw a young man help a young girl away from the dusty carriage with the romantic names on its side toward the drab door that said ‘SORTIE’.

They make their own way to Paris.

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Platform at Dijon, late 1950’s.

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Dijon Station, 1945

The station in Dijon was opened in 1849 and remains in operation to this day. By the way, SORTIE is just a designation for an exit.

The Femoral. And the External Iliac.

When the Orient Express carrying James Bond and Tatiana Romanova plunges into the Simplon Tunnel, it is time for Bond to take action to save his life, and reputation of the British secret service.

After managing with his gunmetal cigarette case to deflect the bullet shot from Grant’s War and Peace book/gun and playing “dead.” Bond explores his senses, checks the location of his case with the hidden knife and ponders his strike:

It would be a near thing. Bond desperately tried to remember simple anatomy. Where were the mortal places in the lower body of a man? Where did the main artery run? The Femoral. Down the inside of the thigh. And the External Iliac, or whatever it was called, that became the Femoral? Across the centre of the groin. If he missed both, it would be bad.

The Femoral artery and External Iliac are the main paths for blood flow to and from the heart and the lower body.

femoral

As you can see, Bond would be aiming to plunge his knife into the area of the inside of Grant’s thigh, or the middle of his groin.

Bond is successful in his surprise attack, though he still needs to use Grant’s own book/gun to finish off the SMERSH agent.

Simplon Tunnel

In From Russia With Love, the Simplon Tunnel is the planned killing ground for Red Grant/Captain Nash to do away with James Bond and Tatiana Romanova, completing the SMERSH plan to embarrass the British Secret Service and eliminate Bond, who has been a thorn in their side.

Nash took a quick glance at his wrist watch. ‘In about twenty minutes we go into the Simplon tunnel. That’s where they want it done. More drama for the papers. One bullet for you. As we go into the tunnel. Just one in the heart. The noise of the tunnel will help in case you’re a noisy dier – rattle and so forth. Then one in the back of the neck for here – with your gun- and out the window she goes.

A few moments later, Nash explains the appeal for the press:

Old man, the story’s got everything. Orient Express. Beautiful Russian spy murdered in Simplon tunnel.

Bond then knows that he’s walked right into the trap.

The Simplon Tunnel is 12 miles (20km) long and connects Italy with Switzerland through the Alps. The first tunnel was completed in 1905 and the second in 1921. This allowed the Orient Express to get through to Italy while avoiding pro-German territory.

Italian Side of Simplon Tunnel.
Italian Side of Simplon Tunnel.

Swiss Side of Simplon Tunnel.
Swiss Side of Simplon Tunnel.

The station on the Italian side of the tunnel is the Stazione di Iselle di Trasquera. After passing through the tunnel, the train arrives in the Brig Railway Station in Switzerland.

Brig Station, 1950.
Brig Station, 1950.

simplon

Maestre, Venice, Padua, Vicenza and Verona

After meeting up with Captain Nash at Trieste, James Bond is relieved to have some help, and an opportunity to eat and spend some time with Tatiana.

After eating dinner in the restaurant car – tagliatelli verdi (Green, narrow ribbons of pasta) and an escalope (slice of meat pounded thin and breaded) they retire to their berth. It is just as they are pulling into Mestre – which is the mainland station of Venice.

mestre

After Mestre, they head to Venice, Bond asks Tatiana if she’d like to see the station, but she says it’s just another station, and she has something else she wants to do with Bond at the moment.

Venezia Santa Lucia station. (Venice)
Venezia Santa Lucia station. (Venice)

They then fall asleep, continuing to sleep as they pass through Padua (Padova):

 La stazione di Padova (Padua)
La stazione di Padova (Padua)

And then Vicenza:

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There was then a “fabulous sunset over Verona.”

Verona
Verona

After passing through Verona, Bond awakes as the sun is going down. He looks out over the Lombardy Plain. He’s feeling good.

That is soon to change.

Chianti Broglio

After meeting up with the man identifying himself as Captain Nash, James Bond and Tatiana Romanova head for a meal aboard the Orient Express.

In the restaurant car, Bond ordered Americanos and a bottle of Chianti Broglio. The wonderful European hors d’oeuvres came. Tatiana began to look more cheerful.

The Chianti Broglio or (Brolio) was a wine from The Castle of Brolio, an 11th century estate which did much for the promotion and development of Chianti wine.

chianti

In 1872, Baron Bettino Ricasoli wrote down the formula for his Chianti:

…I verified the results of the early experiments, that is, that the wine receives most of its aroma from the Sangioveto (which is my particular aim) as well as a certain vigour in taste; the Canajuolo gives it a sweetness which tempers the harshness of the former without taking away any of its aroma, though it has an aroma all of its own; the Malvagia, which could probably be omitted for wines for laying down, tends to dilute the wine made from the first two grapes, but increases the taste and makes the wine lighter and more readily suitable for daily consumption…

brolio

The wine along with the Americanos put both Bond and Tatiana into a better, more relaxed mood.