Big Bockedra and the Mediaeval Hamster Wheel

Hi guys! New city, new team, new adventure! This year Ken and I are located in Großbockedra, Germany. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, I haven’t really gotten a straight answer on that… I do know that groß means “big,” and klein means “little,” so since there’s a Kleinbockedra down the road… I can only assume there’s a Regular Bockedra somewhere around here.



Par for the course, this post is late as Kenny and I have been here for almost 2 months now, but better late than never has always been a mantra of mine.

Großbockedra is in the country and a little over 15 minutes away from the city of Jena. The drive from the city is beautiful, complete with rolling hills, endless greenery, and even little farm animals.





I’ve taken many walks to explore the entirety of our new village. This feat did not take long as it’s the smallest place we’ve ever been, I cannot imagine Little Bockedra being anything more than a single street.

Our apartment, however, is worth the seclusion from the city. It has everything we need and even a little yard for the Tedster. Actually, Ted has really lucked out here, he loves his easy potty access and country walks.


Also, I think it’s worth noting one of Großbockedra’s many fine feature includes a goldfish pond in the middle of the village… no explanatory signs or anything… just a square pond with some goldfish. I gotta believe there’s some reasoning behind this.


No big deal, I guess

Anyway! Enough about our wee village. Kenny and my first mini adventure was a lovely little nearby castle called Schloss Leuchtenburg. Shockingly close to our humble little village, it was an easy half day trip.

It was a glorious day for a castle hunt! The castle was up a little mountain which made for beautiful views.


The earliest record of Schloß Leuchtenburg dates all the way back to 1221, we’re talking like Genghis Khan times, people. The castle was pretty awesome. The first thing you see when you enter is a giant well complete with a watermill.

Kenny and I had some fun with the mill. Click here if you’d like to see my failure, but to be fair, he cut the video before I was successful.

**Editor’s note: Kenny read this and insisted I make a correction. I, in fact, was never able to make the mill wheel turn… 

Kenny made a much better hamster than I did.

Oddly enough, the next awesome part of the castle was the porcelain museum. The first part of it was pretty creepy, that’s not to say it wasn’t impressive.


Really impressive


Really creepy…


Also creepy…


I’m scared



Okay, but after that, the next part was the awesome half. They called it the Skriptorium; you write your deepest wish on a plate and drop it off of the “Skywalk of Wishes,” letting your porcelain wish shatter into pieces.

First tho, we went through this really excellent wish hallway.

People have weird wishes…

The skywalk was amazing. The sentiment was wonderful, and the views incredible.


The most green



The Big Fella was not a fan of the see through floor



Hopefully our wish comes true!!!

The castle itself was really nice. The structures were beautiful and the courtyard was excellent.


Nice castle


Beautiful structures


Excellent courtyard

There were several signs detailing the many different uses the castle has seen over the centuries. Apparently this castle was predominantly a prison, starting around the 17th century. The place is complete with a slightly horrifying torture chamber. I mean this place is no joke, they really pulled out all the stops…


An all too realistic man suffering in a barred pit

A couple of nicknack’s depicting the different ways they tortured people…


“Why are you making me do this?” – Ken, always


Setting them up.


“Okay, now act like you’re trapped”

And also killed people…



The Executioner’s sword… I wonder if it’s Valyrian steel?

Apparently the blade bears a depiction of a gallows, a 4-way wheel brace, and IHS, the monogram for Jesus Christ. Not seeing it. Guess the centuries took its tool.

The paraphernalia was pretty entertaining. There was even a cartoon of a chained man being tossed into a river. My attempt at a translation came out something like “thrown into the waters for false pretensions”… So I guess this was what you got for lying in mediaeval times.

**Editor’s note, again: I have since been informed that he is in fact a she: a murderous she. German mediaeval vernacular can really be tricky. Thanks Silke 🙂 


“Die, liar!” – mediaeval guys

Along with torture and executions these guys were also big fans of public humiliation. Their favorite little ignominy was making sinners wear a sort of shame mask or symbol.


So… this is an anteater, right?


Also, toads were involved…


Toads: the ultimate humiliation


Bickering… really, guys?

The last form of torture I witnessed was the bathroom facilities. I can honestly say I have never contemplated how people used the bathrooms in medieval times but I did not consider this.


I wonder what different fun toilet facts the kids get to learn.


Suuuper mediaeval


Bombs away!

The above photo is terrible but that hole literally leads about a 100 feet to the valley below. Heads up for falling poops, I guess.

The rest of the castle was pretty standard as far as castles go… The fact that it was built in the 1200’s and then turned into a prison speaks to the lack of luxury and lavishness. Ken and I have seen many castles over the years and most are oozing with velvet, marble and decadence.


Great Hall? More like Good Hall… BWAHAHAHA

This particular castle was rather rudimentary, but it was not without its charms.

The courtyard, for instance, was lovely. It held spectacular views, a chapel, prayer grove, and a little wine cellar.





I’d pray here


Had to squeeze in an artsy shot

The chapel is still used for weddings and ceremonies today so it was modernized.


Suuuper modern


Sinners welcome!

The  wine cellar dates back all the way to the castle’s origin in 1200.


Suuuper old



I don’t know what this is, but I assumed it was relevant.

Ironically, the last stop of our castle tour was the very top. We climbed an endless amount of stairs.”This better be worth it,” escaped my lips about 27+ times. And it was; 360 degrees of beautiful greenery and sunshine.


Everything the light touches is your kingdom.


Very castle-y looking


Worth it


Ignore the angry Kenny face that contradicts the above caption. Good photo though.

Mercifully, the trek down was easier and we made our way back to the outer courtyard. Unfortunately, the cute castle restaurant closed at 4:30 (what?!) but its still worth a photo share because it was very quaint and German-like.

After that disappointing discovery we left in search of sustenance. We made our way back down the mountain and enjoyed the views and the setting sun before we headed home:) Another excellent find in our “Castle Hunt Adventures.”

Schloß Leuchtenburg, check!


My next post will be about our incredible weekend trip to Wernigerode and the fairytale inspiring Harz Mountains.

Until then, cheers!



3 thoughts on “Big Bockedra and the Mediaeval Hamster Wheel

  1. Well done Frease’s! ….a little disappointed in the lack of alcohol references..but I guess that’s beep beep’s fault…good pictures, great writing. Keep them coming

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