|The Castle of Chillon was made famous by Lord Byron in his epic poem (wikipedia)|
In fact, Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi might never have had careers, because that’s when the Frankenstein monster and vampires were born.
|Mary Shelley created Frankenstein (wikipedia)|
Mary Godwin was only 19-years old when she dreamed up the idea of a scientist who created human life from the body parts of corpses. It was the result of a challenge by Mary’s future husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, George Gordon, Lord Byron and John Polidori to see who could come up with the best horror story. In the process, Mary brought Dr. Frankenstein’s monster to life, while Polidori gave us the world of vampires.
|Villa Diodati -- Home of Frankenstein and vampires (wikipedia)|
It happened at Villa Diodati on the shores of Lake Geneva. To pass the time the group invented stories which resulted in the creation of Frankenstein, published in 1818 as “The Modern Prometheus,” and Polidori’s 1819 Gothic horror story “The Vampyre.”
At first it was believed that Lord Byron was responsible for the genesis of vampire literature. Byron attested to the fact that Polidori, who was also the poet’s personal physician, was the author of the now infamous bloodthirsty creatures.
|The Frankenstein monster (wilipedia)|
Though Villa Diodati is a private residence today and inaccessible to visitors, it can be seen by boat from the lake.
A site that can be visited however, nestles it the eastern end of
Lake Geneva, and it is here that
Lord Byron attained his literary credentials in the region with his 392-line
narrative poem “The Prisoner of Chillon.”
a Roman outpost along the main road through strategic Alpine passes to the east
and south. The first written accounts of the castle date to 1005, but it was
Byron’s poem in 1816 detailing the imprisonment of a Genevois monk, Francois
Bonivard, that captured the imagination. Castle
Bonivard was held prisoner at the castle from 1532 to 1536 and the imprints of his footsteps are still visible in the dungeon floor where he was chained.
|The Castle of Chillon is one of Switzerland's most popular sites thanks to Byron (wikipedia)|
has been a democracy since the 13th century, it has never had any
royalty so castles are not as common in the mountainous country as in other
parts of Europe. Even so, Chillon remains one
of the most popular attractions in . Switzerland
|Portrait of Lord Byron (wikipedia)|
who have no interest in castles or monsters can still enjoy the essence of
Swiss culture. With vineyards literally creating a carpet of grapes from the
highest hill to the water’s edge, it is one of the most productive wine regions
in . Switzerland
Never heard of Swiss wine? That’s because the Swiss drink it themselves and very little is exported. Better to export fictional fiends and savor the wrath of grapes than vice versa.
Teetotalers can still indulge in another well-known Swiss tradition however, as Nestle celebrates its 170th anniversary in 2016. The world famous chocolate company came into existence in 1866 in the
as a milk-based baby
food manufacturer. village
|Fireworks at the close of the Geneva Festival light up the sky (wikipedia)|
In 1879, Nestle merged with the inventor of milk chocolate, Daniel Peter, and in 1905 it joined forces with the Anglo-Swiss Milk company in what may have been the sweetest business deal in history.
|In Geneva fireworks are an art form (wikipedia)|
Henri Nestle was the founder of the business, but the word “nestle” in French also means nest or finding comfort in a nest and who could dispute such a claim when they “nestle with a chocolate concoction” created on the shores of Lake Geneva in
For the ultimate grand finale, visit
in August and
catch the last night of the Fete de Geneve or Festival of Geneva. If you think you
have seen fireworks before, you probably haven’t until you witness the
hour-long display of pyrotechnics that bring down the curtain on Geneva ’s festival. Geneva
Using the north shore of the lake as a backdrop, the southern banks are reserved as a viewing area. The fireworks are synchronized to a musical theme, and once they begin, they, indeed, are linked to the music with Swiss precision.
|Geneva's skyshow is one of a kind and not to be missed (wikipedia)|
It’s a skyshow that is not to be missed. Everything else pales in comparison.
Thus, the fireworks began on the southern shores of
Lake Geneva in 1816 and two centuries
later, Frankenstein and his vampire friends are still enjoying the show.