The opening sequence of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sixth film in the James Bond series, has Bond saving a glamorous woman from killing herself by drowning on a beach near Estoril at dawn. After some slightly improbable fighting with a couple of villains among fishing boats - one of the villains ends up trapped in fish netting - Bond returns to the Palacio Hotel. He parks his Aston Martin next to the car that belongs to Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, the woman he has just saved … the scene is set for the beginning of their romance.
During World War II, Portugal was a neutral state. Besides being the point of departure for Jews and others fleeing the Nazi madness to North America, Lisbon was equally an important espionage hub, with agents and double agents tailing each and sometimes meeting openly in the capital’s bars. One of these agents was the Serbian spy and British double agent Dusko Popov … a character who fascinated Ian Fleming when, in 1941, the two men met in Estoril.