I woke up in the morning – well, closer to afternoon (11:30am) at the hotel, a bit groggy but feeling refreshed, having slept away most of the jet-lag. I still managed to miss the hotel breakfast. Haha, not a surprise there; I’ve never been much of an early riser due to my late night gig at the bar & grille I serve at. I opened my window, took a look outside. The weather was a little better than the day before. The rain had lessened but an overcast, gray ceiling still hung in the skies. I got ready and headed out to explore Ansbach. The hotel reception told me of a shortcut to get to the city through a nearby park which previously was the royal hofgarten to Ansbach’s residenz, a stately mansion dating back from the 1700’s . I figured a leisurely stroll through a royal park would provide some peace from the bustling traffic above. I tucked my fingers into my jacket and walked down that tree lined pathway.

So, some of you are probably wondering, Ansbach? Where’s that? Well it’s a city in Bavaria of roughly 40,020 people (according to the Dec.2009 census) and located about 25 miles south of Nürnberg and 90 miles north of Munich. Although a small town, I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and exploring things. The town is definitely up there in age. The earliest recordings of the town date back to the 12th century. As I am a self-professed lover of all things having to do with art and history, this town was a feast for my eyes.

Ansbach altstadt (St. Gumbertus in background)

Ansbach old city gates

To some locals, the surroundings are probably not much to look at it, as they’re used to it; but its the same with us Americans. Some Floridans residing in Miami don’t really take time recollect on its beauty after having it at arms reach. The same idea held true to Ansbach’s inhabitants. Indeed, I was playing the tourist role, but I didn’t care. The architecture of the city was a mix of Gothic, Baroque and Classicism. I enjoyed how many of the buildings had their own character and their own style, not carbon copies of each other.

Ansbach is a city of many churches: St. Gumbertus kirche, St. Ludwig kirche, St. Johannis kirche to name a few. St. Gumbertus is a recognizable part of the city’s skyline. It hovers above the Innenstadt (inner city) where Ansbach’s Christkindlmarkt takes place. St. Gumbertus is named after a Franconian noble named Gumbertus. The church served as a Benedictine monastery as early as 748 B.C. and today is a Protestant church.

Quaint Ansbach

Although a small altstadt, I carefully examined the buildings, paying attention to details like, paint color, craftsmanship, detail. Detail, holy crap was there detail. Whether you were standing there looking at a Gasthof (guest house) or a Gothic church, the buildings were just a real treat for the eye. Everything from the vibrant paint, cleanliness (there was seemingly no mold or rust on any buildings I saw), to open doors, to the inviting outdoor Speisekarte (menu) greeting you at every restaurant, there was an air of friendliness, of warmth to this place.

Speisekarte (menu)

Won't you come in for a bite?

Ansbach’s many storefronts and eateries were on a smaller scale than that of the states, but I liked that. A lot of the restaurants were owned by local families, each with its own character. A typical restaurant in Germany seats maybe 40 patrons. When you open the door, there’s usually a place to hang your coat and scarf, and the place is warm and cozy inside. You won’t see huge restaurant chains like Chili’s or Friday’s that seat 100 or more patrons. That’s strictly the USA. The storefronts always have merchandise for sale looming on an outdoor rack, everything from shoes, handbags, scarves, and hats.

Merchandise for sale

Apotheke (pharmacy)

Walking along, the city had it’s luminosities, from the tall church steeples, the unassuming alleyways, the cobblestoned streets, it was all beautiful to me…

Hello, alleyway...

What's lies the other side?

In front of St. Gumbertus kirche

Why don't we have stuff like this in the states? What do we have? A whole lot of asphalt.

It's normal for restaurants to advertise beer offered...

The one thing I really admired was how nearly all restaurants offered outdoor seating. The Germans reveled in anything outdoors, where the sun shines. It made me think of how Miami’s dining scene operates. Walking along Ocean Dr. that’s all you see, extensions of the restaurants on to the sidewalk, hostesses reciting their menu specials to you, eager for your business. Germany was much the same way, minus the barking hostess. Instead, what they had was the speisekarte (menu) outside the door.

Rainy & gray day= empty chairs

My friends Daniel and Katja texted me while I was on my little Ansbach hike, just to check on their lone American friend. I told them I was doing fine, content taking photos of this beautiful little town, despite the gray ceiling that hung above…

As the day came to an end, I headed back to the hotel, back through the familiar royal hofgarten that I had walked through earlier to get to the altstadt. Walking down the long tree lined pathway, I came upon a somewhat hidden building, the Orangerie, built in the 17th century along with the Residenz. It used to serve as the courtyard and herbal garden to the Residenz. Oranges and lemons are still harvested here today and it’s also used as a venue for weddings and other receptions.

The Orangerie. Beautiful even on an overcast day.