Switzerland’s jaw-dropping landscapes have inspired some of the most-read classics in English literature, and can often be seen as the backdrop to Hollywood blockbusters.There are museums, festivals and reenactments held across the country to honour Switzerland’s affect on the imagination.
t The view of the Bernese mountains that surround turquoise Oscheninsee
For most Lord of the Rings fans, Middle Earth means New Zealand, yet it was the sheer cliffs, fairy tale grottoes and deep, dark forests of the rugged Bernese Oberland that inspired J R R Tolkien’s elvish valleys, troll-filled woods and craggy fortresses.
Johanna Spyri’s novel Heidi tells the story of an orphan girl who is taken to live with her grandfather high up in the Swiss Alps near Chur. The most popular work of Swiss fiction has been translated into 50 languages, and captured the imagination of children the world over. Kids can re-create her adventures at Heididorf, a village above Maienfeld.
James Bond’s high-altitude antics have brought viewers into the Alps three times. The breathtaking jump over the Contra Dam in GoldenEye (1995) and high-speed chase up to the Furka Pass in Goldfinger (1964) will get your heart racing. It’s villain Blofeld’s panoramic mountain lair on Schilthorn, and a hair-raising black run through an alpine blizzard that for ever tied Bond to the glamour of the Swiss Aps.
The haunted (and hunted) scientist Victor Frankenstein was born when Gothic writer Mary Shelley was challenged to write a ghost story during a dark and stormy night while staying on Lake Geneva in 1816. The result was the instant horror classic Frankenstein, which has been commemorated all across the western tip of Switzerland. Visit the Plainpalais area of Geneva to see the statue of Frankenstein’s monster; the grounds of private Villa Diodati, where Shelley was first struck with the idea; and the Martin Bodmer Foundation (www.fondationbodmer.ch), which has an archive of material related to the book’s creation.
The Bond production team financed the completion of Piz Gloria in exchange for filming rights.
Sip martinis shaken to Bond’s specifications at nearly 3,000 m (9850 ft) at the awe-inspiring revolving restaurant Piz Gloria, designed by Konrad Wolf.