Frankenstein, A Swiss Character?

Once upon a time in Switzerland,  some English tourists spent an unusually cold, wet summer in Switzerland on the shores of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman).  The tourists weren’t just any old tourists, they were the romantics.  They wrote masterpieces, this dunce writes this blog.

English: Portrait of Mary Shelley

English: Portrait of Mary Shelley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One dark and stormy night, the literary group bet that they could write as a gothic fiction novel that was as good or better than the then-popular cheap works.  The others, Lord Byron, Percy Blythe Shelley and Claire Clairmont were all able to come up with a story quite quickly.  Mary Godwin was not.  After an evening of conversation about reanimating human bodies using electrical currents, 18 year-old Mary Godwin dreamt of corpses coming back to life and the image of Frankenstein.  She woke up and wrote a short story about her dream.

Percy Bysshe Shelley imbibed his radical philo...

Percy Bysshe Shelley imbibed his radical philosophy from William Godwin’s Political Justice. (Amelia Curran, 1819) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She ended up marrying Percy Blythe Shelley, becoming Mary Shelley.  He encouraged her to expand the short story into a full-length novel.  It became one of the greatest literary creations of the regency period and the first gothic novel.

Mary Shelley was taken with the area’s beauty, describing color of the lake, “blue as the heavens which it reflects.”  She visited many of the area’s tourist attractions and they feature in the story.

  • Victor Frankenstein is from Geneva.
  • She took the traditional iron tram from Chamonix to the The Mer de Glace (Sea of Ice) on Mont Blanc.  According to legend, she used this spectacular, icy landscape as the backdrop for the meeting between Victor Frankenstein and his maker.
  • Victor Frankenstein’s home is called “Belrive.”  Villa Diodati, the manor where Byron, Shelley and company stayed, was originally named Villa Belle Rive.
  • Safie flees to Switzerland.

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I Love Rick Steves



Since the mid-90’s I have been in love with a man.  No, it is not my husband.  It is Rick Steves.  For those of you who don’t know him, he has a travel show on PBS.  He is the author of some of the best travel guides and operates tours.  


Here are some reasons why he rocks:

  • Rick Steeves is practical (one of my favorite qualities).  Not only will his books tell you what bus to take, they will also tell you where to sit for the best view.  No matter how wonderful the pictures, you must be able to find your way there to appreciate it.
  • He wants you to get the most out of your trip and not waste your time. He helps tourists differentiate the really cool attactions from the tourist traps and has the best, reasonably priced hotel/restaurant recommendations.   
  • He wants you to get the most out of and fully appreciate what you are seeing.  His books are filled with easily digestible bits of history, interesting antecdotes and cool details that enrich your experience.
  • His travel philosophy (greatly simplified) encourages you to interact with and act like locals.  Right on.

We (meaning I) buy his books for every possible destination.  Before leaving Charlotte, I was lucky enough to hear him speak.  I waited around to get a picture with him and am expecting the restraining order to arrive any day now.