Tintin looking for Professor Tornasol in Switzerland
It cannot be said that the Museum of Lake Geneva, in Nyon, takes the feet out of the pot. Walking through its rooms is, as expected, to learn from its history, its nature, its flora and fauna and how the life of its fishermen has been for centuries. You can also browse through the long list of objects found under its waters. The surprise comes when we enter the section of the underwater universe and from here, pulling the thread, we dive (and be worth the redundancy) in some places that were not provided for in the initial roadmap.
That's when we run into the sketches of a bathyscaphe, a device of name as strange as it looks, whose mission was to dive into great depths, withstanding high pressures, to serve as "spy" on military or scientific missions. The father of the creature was Auguste Piccard, who managed to make him descend to more than 10,000 meters in the waters of the Cape Verde archipelago in the 50s. Before that he already had several epic achievements, including ascending to the Stratosphere with the sweet company of his wife, with which, between invention and invention, would illuminate a prolific saga of Swiss scientists and explorers: his son, Jacques, and his grandson, Bertrand, who only 14 years ago was the first to Go around the whole world in a non-stop aerostat.
With everything and with this it is very possible that, first, Piccard's last name is neither cold nor hot to most readers; but just by seeing a picture of him, many of those who grew up devouring the Tintin books, will be surprised with a face that will be very familiar to them. His robot portrait is as follows: elongated face, bright bald with feral mane on the sides and round glasses. We have it. Just add a bowler hat, a green raincoat and its inseparable umbrella, to have the alive image of Professor Tornasol. It is not a matter of chance. Hergé was inspired by his genius and figure for the creation of the protagonist of The Tronasol affair, something that, as it is to be supposed, has been from the cradle cause of strutting of his grandson (yes, Bertrand himself), a true fan of the bandee dessinée in general, and the Belgian pencil in particular.
But the links of this beautiful village of Roman origin on the lake, between Geneva and Lausanne, and this album, do not end here. Neither the motives of pilgrimage of his fans. In fact, according to the artist himself, for his preparation, it was the first time he traveled and took photographs with which to document his vignettes. Comic in hand, the tintinophiles can follow in the footsteps of Captain Hadock and Tintin in their adventure of looking for Professor Tornasol in several locations that have barely changed since 1956, the year of its creation, and that range from Geneva to Cervens, on the French coast of Lake Leman. The protagonists fly to Geneva's Cointrin airport (by the way, with Swiss), following the trail of a pack of cigarettes that takes them to the Cornavin hotel, and from there, informed by the concierge, they head for Nyon, where the professor has a Professor Topolino, an ultrasound expert, meets with his colleague, who lives on 57 bis of the route of St. Cergue. It is just the beginning of the story.
On their way by road from Geneva, after a car chase by the wicked, Tintin, Hadock and Milou fall into Lake Geneva and "An hour and a half later ..." appear together to the entrance sign to the town of Nyon: the first recognizable location. Other familiar snapshots will also appear on the following pages, such as the Quai des alpes, on the shores of the lake, surrounded by trees and the unmistakable green benches, or the Fontaine du Maiîre Jacques, on rue de Rive.
Although its interior cannot be visited, Professor Topolino's house is preserved, on the St. Cergue route (but in 113, not in 57 bis), an exact building that is represented in the vignette, where Topolino is beaten, gagged and confined in his basement by a Tornasol supplanter. It is also here that there is an explosion that jumps through the air all its foundations and makes firefighters come immediately to their aid. The 1953 red Willys jeep that Hergé drew as a public body vehicle can be visited on request at the fire department (Champ Colin, 4), where the plates of this episode are also preserved.
The Nyon tourist office organizes thematic routes, which can be completed with other scenarios in the area that served as inspiration is these vignettes, as Cornavin station in Geneva which was actually Lausanne station, and the Bordurie embassy that Hergé located in the town of Rolle, on the shores of the lake, 15 kilometers from Nyon, and which is nothing more than the hospitality school in Geneva.
The Nyon Tourist Office offers thematic tours on Tintin © Nyon Région Tourisme