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The Diodati Bicentenary Trip 2016

 

Celebrating the birth of Frankenstein and The Vampyre

 

THE FOLLOWING ITINERARY IS FROM A PAST SOCIETY TRIP, AND IS PRESENTED FOR INTEREST ONLY, TO ILLUSTRATE THE TYPE OF TRIP THAT THE SOCIETY ORGANISES OUTSIDE THE UNITED KINGDOM

 

Four nights in Geneva, Switzerland

Thursday 2nd to Monday 6th June 2016

 

In 2016 we celebrate the bicentenary of that Gothic summer of 1816, on Lake Geneva, where the poet Lord Byron, his doctor John Polidori, and Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who was to become his wife Mary Shelley later that year), got together one stormy evening, and made literary history.

We will visit some of the lakeside locations where Byron and Shelley stayed, and see the famous Villa Diodati where the English travellers were inspired to write ghost stories, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing the classic Frankenstein, and John Polidiori The Vampyre, the first work to feature an aristocratic and attractive vampire figure, undoubtedly influencing Bram Stoker's Dracula later in the century.

 

The Villa Diodati

 

Day 1 (Thursday):

Arrive Geneva, check in to the Hotel Ibis Centre Gare.

Dinner at Au Petit Chalet.

 

Day 2 (Friday): Cologny

Villa Diodati - Weather allowing, a picnic in the park, with readings. Also the site of Maison Chapuis, where the Shelleys stayed by the lakeside, now gone.

Option to visit the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana (the Martin Bodmer Foundation). One of the greatest private libraries in the world (illuminated medieval manuscripts, a Gutenberg Bible, oldest surviving text of Gospel of St. John).

 

Day 3 (Saturday): Lausanne and Château de Chillon

Train from Geneva to Lausanne. Byron stayed in a guest-house in Ouchy (the port below Lausanne), where he wrote The Prisoner of Chillon.

Catch the historic paddle-boat, La Suisse, to Chillon.

Visit the Château (also visited by Byron; a pillar in the dungeon has Byron’s name carved on it - and a special Byron exhibition will be running during our visit). Return the same way, train from Lausanne, or from Montreux (two miles north back along the waterfront).

 

Château de Chillon

 

Day 4 (Sunday): Full day trip to Gruyères & Montreux

Train to Gruyères (changing at Montreux and Montbevon, scenery superb!) Gruyères is a unique medieval walled village, one of Switzerland’s most photogenic sights.

Visit Château de Gruyères – a 13th century Gothic castle – and the Château de St-Germain, which houses the H. R. Giger Museum (the Alien designer!)

Late return to Geneva via a stop in Montreux.

Alternative option: visit to Coppet (Château de Coppet – Madame de Stael’s salon patronised by Byron).

 

Day 5 (Monday):

Free time and return to London.

 

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