After a nice breakfast with interesting background information on all kinds of local politics by the landlady of the Alte Kass, I set off leisurely to explore Landkreis Esslingen, one of the twinned Landkreise of Munich.
I followed the ‚Streuobstroute‚ (Streuobstwiesen are a kind of organic, wild orchard, I could not find an English translation for it), which very pleasantly went basically downhill all the way to the Neckar. The countryside is somehow very relaxing, and the towns I went through very historical. This area is rich in history, between the home castles of the Hohenstauffer and Hohenzoller, two important regal families in German history.
I talked to quite a few people on my way and got given apples form one of the orchards, and an explanation, that they are private property and one can only pick fruit from trees with a yellow ribbon.
In Wendlingen I joined the Neckar. It was market day, which makes pople watching so much more interesting. I was pleased to see, that there were quite a few tiny stands with local produce.
Wendlingen to Plochingen was an easy ride along the Neckar. In Plochingen I met Joachim, one of the local politicians I knew from a meeting in Leipzig, and found out that he had arranged for the town of Plochingen to pay for ma accommodation! Many thanks for that!
As a local councillor, second mayor, Kreisrat and author of several books on local history/art/architecture who has lived in Plochingen since early childhood, Joachim was a perfect guide to me. Since Plochingen rises up along the Neckar banks and the day was very hot and sunny I was actually quite relieved we did not cycle around the town, but Joachim was a perfect chauffeur in his electric car. He really showed me everything, from the industrial areas (lots of recycling of metal), the harbour, the historical sights, a viewing tower with view of the Alb (that I had cycled across the day before), the landscaped parc that had been designed for a Landesgartenschau and the ensemble of housing designed by Hundertwasser! On the way I met many local SPD-politicians (Joachim is in the SPD) and had all my questions answered.
At the end of the day I was as tired as if I had cycled the whole time. Extremely interesting, and I learnt so much! I was very happy to hear that Plochingen is also planning to do more for cyclists, the bike lanes could do with improvement from my point of view.
In the end I only climbed 185 m today, what a relief.