|View from main road: our destination|
When in need of inspiration to plan little trips in our neighbourhood, I head to the My Switzerland website, full of great ideas for walks or sights to visit in each of the Swiss cantons. Canton Aargau where we live is full of castles so you're almost assured to see one in the distance on any walk in the countryside. It is on that website that I found out that 15 minutes away from us were the Schenkenberg ruins, the largest castle ruins in the canton.
Built in the 13th century by the Habsburg family (they've built most of the historical sights around here), it was abandonned in the 18th century as it had become too costly to maintain and repair. Built on a 631m high hill, its first use was to protect core areas around the Brugg district. It is now a Swiss heritage site of national importance.
From the main road in the small town of Thalheim, up and up we went, past some vineyards...
...past some grazing sheep...
...leaving the town behind.
I had read online the day before that there are two main paths to the ruins and that the shortest one was not pram-friendly. We therefore decided to test-drive Baby Suisse's hiking rugsack now that he is big enough to sit in it properly.
At a power-walking pace, the climb took us about 20 minutes. We were prepared for how extensive the ruins of the castle are... the site is surprisingly big and large sections of the derelict castle still stand.
It must be quite a popular spot in the summer given that we saw 4 barbecue pits in the middle of the site. Only in Switzerland, one would fancy grilling a wurst in the middle of a listed heritage site...
Because the weather was fairly touch-and-go that day, we were alone up there although we had walked past a few people during our speedy ascent.
Nature has taken over the site in many places
We enjoyed very (cloudy) nice views over the valley and the town of Thalheim.
We decided to take the slightly longer way back to the car, not walking through the woods but following a path down the other side of the hill onto the valley.
As the weather looked rather ominous, we didn't hang around for too long but glanced back at the castle one last time.
What a great way to spend our afternoon on bank holiday Monday. This would make a good day trip to anyone passing through the canton or visiting Zürich (public transport links are very good but the bus dropping you at the bottom of the hill).
Now, where should we go next?