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October is a big month for Bond, James Bond. The 23rd movie release from the franchise, 'Skyfall', is due for launch at the end of the month and, before that, global celebrations mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the first movie, 'Dr No'. The past half century has seen agent 007 travel across the world and back several times over in his mission to rid the world of bad guys. He's been lucky though to have spent time in some of the most glamorous locations on the planet. 

To celebrate his big five-0 we take a quick look at Istanbul, one of the key locations for the action in 'Skyfall' and Jamaica, where some of 'Dr No', the original movie was set. Istanbul is Turkey's most heavily populated city, with over twelve million residents. The city, previously known as Constantinople, has a long and varied history taking in Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman influences along the way. The city is truly packed with religious and historic monuments to be explored and wondered at. Among the sites of interest, possibly the most famous, the Blue Mosque, has six large minarets and its main chamber is decorated with more than 20,000 tiles. The Hagia Sofia was formerly one of the largest basilicas in the world until the Ottoman conquest, when it was converted to a mosque. It now serves as a museum. Of course a trip to Istanbul wouldn't be complete without a visit to the world famous Grand Bazaar, one of the largest covered markets in the world with over 4,000 shops. After all that shopping, grab yourself a Hammam, or Turkish bath, to ease those aching shopping muscles. The city is served by two international airports, just outside the city. We'd recommend making your visit in spring or autumn when the climate is at its comfortable best.

Moving on Jamaica, the home of the action in 'Dr No' some fifty years ago. This Caribbean island remains part of the Commonwealth and is an English speaking country of some 2.8 million residents. With its British influence, you might be forgiven for thinking you'd arrived in the UK when you hear of the countries three counties being discussed. They are Cornwall County, Surrey County and Middlesex County! Getting there is straightforward as it is served by two main international airports, one in Kingston (KIN) and one in Montego Bay (MBJ). Though the Caribbean can have a reputation of slow living, the island life lends itself well to an active break with plenty of opportunity for hiking, snorkelling, horse riding and kite surfing to name but a few options. The spectacular resorts on the island are fully geared to provide the traveller with everything possible to make a stay memorable, but there are lots of other attractions too. Visitors can also visit Nine Mile where the late great Bob Marley was born and is now buried. Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios is also a must see with its 600 feet water falls.


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