CZECH REPUBLIC – Loket // Casino Royale (2006)
The Czech region Bohemia is famous for hearty meals and enjoying life in style. No place lives up to that like the scenic village Loket. Come for the leisure – and stay for some knedlíky!
Why Bond was here
After underworld broker Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) runs out of money, Bond (Daniel Craig) meets him in a high-staked poker game in Montenegro to finally end the villains cash flow. In a small Montenegrin village, Bond teams up with the local MI6 contact René Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini). The latter shows his skills to Bond in having the local police chief arrested on a faked bribery affair – as he actually is a bribed ally of Le Chiffre. Bond and Mathis watch the seizure of the lieutenant from a nearby café.
The café is in reality the Hotel & Restaurant Goethe on Masaryka street in the Czech village Loket – not Montenegrin at all. In fact, all Casino Royale scenes had been filmed in the Czech Republic, some in Prague and some in the country’s western region Karlovarský kraj with settings in both Loket and picturesque Karlovy Vary.
Loket can be best reached via car, it takes roughly two hours from either Prague or nearby German city Chemnitz, conspiratorially used in Octopussy. A public bus runs from Prague either to Karlovy Vary or to Sokolov-Těšovice. Check studentagency.eu for the schedule. From Sokolov-Těšovice, a hike to Loket takes two hours, from Karlovy Vary its up to three hours. Good to know
Loket is enthroned on a small barrow in a bight of river Ohře. In the springtime, the scent of wood and water floats through the whole village. Maple trees cover the local market cum main street with a lush green roof. German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited the village numerous times in the 19th century, calling it “beautiful beyond any description and a true picture that can be viewed from all angles”. Whenever he was in town, Goethe loved to stay in the Hotel Bílý kůň – or “White Steed” in English. The writing “Bílý kůň” on its veneer can be briefly seen in the movie. However, the Goethe restaurant, where Bond meets Mathis, is not in the Bílý kůň itself, but in a hotel vis-à-vis to it. The 17th century built Column of the Holy Trinity centers the market and stands between both hotels. Unfortunately the market is usually crammed with cars. It had been transformed into a café zone only during the making of the film.
Still, some cafés and restaurants like the Goethe put a few chairs next to the numerous parking spots. You should stop for a bite! In Bohemia – how the bigger region in western Czech Republic is called – everybody loves knedlíky, steamed slided dumplings, cut into slices like bread. The are usually served with goulash and a sauce of onions and bell pepper.
Opt for a plate at the Goethe … and ask the owner about James Bond. They will show you pictures they made during the making of Casino Royale and an original autograph from Daniel Craig, done on one of the restaurants bills.
We combined our Loket trip with a visit to Karlovy Vary, as the ride along river Ohře is just to beautiful to be missed. Best time to come is early spring or late summer, when either the flowers or pipfruit trees are in full blossom. When in Loket – besides the knedlíky – don’t miss the castle atop the market. Its open till late afternoon, in august even till 6 pm.
© 2015 Huntingbond (1,3,4,5), © 2006 United Artists Corporation and Danjaq, LLC (2)