About 32 kilometers northeast of Nuremberg, in Hersbrucker Schweiz, lies the community of Vorra. From here you can make beautiful discovery tours in the Nuremberg countryside.
The station of Vorra is only a few steps away from the Pegnitztal. The Pegnitztal cycle path runs along here, inviting you to take a relaxing bike ride along the river. Water sports enthusiasts can explore the Pegnitz by canoe.
In Vorra, the Pegnitz leads around a small island. This is a popular meeting place and a beer garden directly at the small bridge tempts many a cyclist and canoeist to take a break.
St. Mary’s Church in Vorra
Before heading out into the beautiful nature around Vorra, we made a brief stop at the village’s Lutheran Church of St. Mary.
Written records of the construction of the church have not yet been found. Due to the structural conditions, however, it is assumed that master builders from the Bamberg cathedral building lodge were involved in the construction of the church around 1200.
Over the years, some structural changes were made to the church. For example, at the end of the 16th century the tower was equipped with a clock, around 1738 the nave was extended and raised and the beautiful ceiling painting was created. The painting is by a painter from Hersbruck and shows the eye of God. This is surrounded by the lettering “Holy” and 14 angels. Depending on the direction of view, the eye appears to the viewer sometimes strict, admonishing and sometimes benevolent.
Unfortunately, some of the old frescoes in the church interior have fallen victim to moisture and a renovation that was not appropriate for a monument and can now only be admired in old photos.
During the last renovation in 2016/17, the liturgical furnishings were also renewed. An artist created a new baptismal font and a new pulpit.
A look at the altar shows, rather untypically for a Protestant church, a figure of Mary. The figures on either side of the altarpiece represent John the Baptist and St. Lawrence. The altarpiece dates from the 15th century.
Something special are the coats of arms located above the entrance to the church. The white guenon on a red background is the coat of arms of the Nuremberg patrician family Tetzel. This family introduced ecclesiastical, communal and social changes in the village with the Reformation that began in the village. Their baroque memorial pictures decorate the church additionally.
Herbal hike to the Angus cattle
The Fischbeck farm with its animals is the starting point for guided herb walks in the surrounding area.
The farm has been family owned since 1702 and is now managed by the 10th generation. Since 2003 organic farming is practiced and since 2004 they have started with suckler cow husbandry. In the meantime, 10 Angus mother cows with their calves stand above the village on a pasture. In addition, there are pastures for the bull and the herds with male and female young animals. The animals stand on the meadows for a good half year and even the birth of the calves takes place there. In winter, the herd moves to an open barn with a running yard and is fed with hay and grass silage. About 10 – 12 animals are slaughtered per year and the meat is offered for direct sale.
Our little hike led to the mother cows on the pasture. At a respectful distance we could observe the beautiful animals under the shady trees.
With Margit Leimberger, a trained herbalist, we went in search of wild herbs. These are best collected when the plants are as dry as possible. Damp plants lose their aroma. I am always amazed at the plants one finds that can be used as food or as medicinal herbs.
The “Gute Heinrich”, for example, stood right by the wayside. The plant, also known as Green Henry or Wild Spinach, used to be used for skin diseases. It is rich in iron and vitamin C. The leaves of the young flowering plant can be prepared similarly to spinach. The ground seeds used to be used as a flour additive in bread baking.
In the middle of the cow pasture we discovered the St. John’s wort. The oil of the medicinal plant is used, for example, as an antidepressant and sedative. It also helps with headaches, lumbago, gout or rheumatism when the oil is used in a light massage.
The rennet attracted our attention because of its bright color. The herb contains the rennet ferment, which is used in the production of cheese. Today, it is still used in the production of English Chester cheese, which gets its yellowish-orange color from the flowers of the bedstraw.
The roots of the plant are also suitable for dyeing. They give off a red dye.
In natural medicine, the herb can be used to make teas. These should help, for example, with catarrh of the urinary tract.
Finally, we discovered the wild marjoram or dost. What I read up only later – the real name is oregano, the name wild marjoram is called “trivial name”.
Oregano is commonly known as a spice. People use the dried leaves mostly in Mediterranean and Tex-Mex cuisine.
In medicine, the dost was known to accelerate childbirth and heal hemorrhoids very early. Today, the herb is used, for example, in tea mixtures to relieve cramping intestinal and stomach complaints.
I have to admit that after this little herb hike I got the desire to deal more closely with the subject. Especially the use as food, which is easily possible with many plants, offers a great variety in the menu.
We could then convince ourselves of this at the Fischbeck farm. In the shady garden, not only excellent sausage and meat products from the in-house slaughter awaited us, but also a wild herb salad, which gave me additional taste of the idea to further inform myself in the field of herbalism.
Vorra has a train station located on the railroad line from Nuremberg to Cheb (Czech Republic). Regional trains stop here regularly.
If you are traveling by car, you can reach the town, for example, via the B14 federal highway and the L2162.
The Fischbeck farm has a small petting zoo with goats, chickens, rabbits and two donkeys. It is possible to book various herb walks, a picnic in the goat meadow or even a walk with the donkeys
The visit to Vorra was part of a press trip to the Nuremberg region.