Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Burgdorf, Switzerland (plus castle and prison)

I'm starting the day in Bern (capital of Switzerland) and cycling to Burgdorf (population 15,000) to check out Burgdorf Castle. It's a 40 mile round trip and I'll be taking backroads. A few miles out of Bern I pass through a small village where this pig statue greets customers to the local butcher shop.
 Approaching Krauchthal (population 2,000) I spot what looks to be a castle up on a hill.
 Getting closer the castle complex is looking bigger and bigger.
Getting even closer and using the zoom on my camera I spot barbed wire and guard towers. What the heck? It turns out this was Thorberg Castle and dates back to the 1100's. Over the years the castle has had many uses: school, monastery, a prison back in 1890's and, even a lunatic asylum. What is its use now? Since 1998, when a new cellblock was built, it's now a maximum security prison--which I believe is the only one in Switzerland
 Approaching Burgdorf, one can easily spot Burgdorf Castle as it lords over the town.
 The castle dates back to 1200.
 Looking up at the castle from a main road.
 Got to pass over a drawbridge and a moat to enter the castle.
The bear is part of Bern's coat of arms. Switzerland is divided into cantons (similar to states in the USA) and Burgdorf is in the Canton of Bern.
 Courtyard of castle. The castle is owned by the canton and is now a museum.
 From a castle wall one can see the public pool below.
 View from another castle wall shows part of the town and a passing river.
Covered bridge on the edge of downtown Burgdorf.  Notice the road on the left. The covered bridge is restricted to cyclists and pedestrians.
 Side view of covered bridge. Unfortunately there's no sign/plaque dating the bridge.
The old town area of Burgdorf is a real beaut.

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