The Belotti family

When I arrived on the outskirts of Calcio it was after 18:00 and I needed to find somewhere to sleep. I had read on the internet that wild camping in Italy is illegal, however in Switzerland it isn’t, so I was kicking myself that I had paid for camping whilst crossing Switzerland. So I needed to find a good stealth camping site where I would not be discovered. The roundabout at the entrance to the autostrada looked promising, apart from a car parked on the roundabout stopping me from doing a proper reccy. I think they were waiting for someone coming off the autostrada. I cycle all the way round my potential camping spot but couldn’t see anywhere to set up camp, as the roundabout had vines on it, you could see straight through from one side to the other, which meant I would clearly be seen. Within 5 minutes I spotted another possible stealthy spot, it was a sub station, very tall with electricity cables at the top going across the road, on one side was a house and the other a builder’s yard both the house and the yard had high fences. I thought I could set up behind the sub station in between it and the fences. The only thing I was concerned about were dogs, if there were any they would find me, I had a talent for dogs finding me. I cycle on knowing I could always return, another 5 minutes and I was at a supermarket I popped in to buy a sandwich but couldn’t find any, I thought they must have sold out but when I asked the very pleasant and helpful staff said they would make me one. I chose the ham from the delicatessen counter and the bread roll from the bakery section and a they made me a ham roll, all the staff were involved in the process which I found funny.13-September-2014-(5)The main street in Calcio had a barrier across it, stopping vehicles driving down it, beyond this barrier was what looked like a market being set up. I of course ignored the barrier and cycled into the main street, the first stall was of interest as it was right outside the hardware store, they were building a display of wood burning stoves and other heaters. I propped my bike up against the steps and went in to see if I could buy camping gas, they sold gas but not with the fitting I needed. As I left I asked if it was a night market and was told that it was the fiesta of the white knight a very special occasion. I slowly cycled down the main street and had to stop outside a huge beautiful church which looked more like a cathedral, it was magnificent it just seemed too big for the village, this church would not look out-of-place in Vatican city. I continued slowly passing the stalls saying ciao to the people behind them, at the end of the street was a bar which had set up tables outside and were having a BBQ. I checked out the menu and ordered a brisket roll, I was told the BBQ wasn’t ready so I agreed to come back later. The atmosphere was starting to build and there were a lot more people out and about, I headed back to the front of the church which had more stalls outside and a couple of children’s rides. I cycled up to the red cross staff and asked if anyone spoke English, three of them did so to be polite and start a conversation I asked about the fiesta. I also asked if there was a campsite nearby, so I could join in the fiesta but have somewhere to sleep. The answer was that there was a hotel 3 km away but the fiesta went on all night, meaning I could enjoy the party and then just find a corner to sleep, most likely that would be in front of the church next to the bike rack I could see.13-September-2014-(7)I thanked the red cross staff offering to help if they needed it and wandered back towards the BBQ. The tables were busy so I propped my bike up against the wall next to them, a small group of people said hello and we chatted about my journey, they invited me to sit and eat with them. I queued for my brisket, chips and beer, the red cross team passed and stopped to say hello. I had to wait a while for my BBQ but it was worth it. I joined the group at the table and we chatted about my journey, a wonderful lady called Gloria Glory translated most of the conversation on her mobile phone, it would turn out that Google translate would be very busy. The atmosphere was a real festive one and everyone was very friendly, I was sitting with the Belotti family, Davide, Daniela and their extended family and friends. Matteo their son said hello did a little translation and then went off with his friends. Daniella offered for me to stay with them overnight so I could shower and sleep in a bed, I accepted. Davide explained that the BBQ ribs were aged meat and passed me one to try, it was delicious and juicy. There was such an incredible community spirit people passing our table would stop to say hello, Daniella would explain why I was there, I felt like royalty. The staff at the BBQ were very busy but took the time to come and say hello, one of the waitresses looked like Demi Moore. I couldn’t remember the actresses name at first and I said Ghost, Patrick Swayze , Davide soon remembered the actresses name. I hope she took it as a compliment.18-September-2014After our BBQ it was suggested we go for a walk, Daniela arranged to put my bike at the rear of the bar and due to my panniers being too wide to fit through the small door Davide opened the huge wooden doors which stopped cars driving in. I was the centre of attention and was being introduced to everyone in town. We met Davide and Daniela’s neighbour who spoke excellent English then headed to the church to meet the head of the local karate school. There were young children everywhere most of them had boxing gloves on and were either punching someone or something. A few people were setting up a projector but it wouldn’t display the laptop screen, so I tried to help but failed, as I couldn’t understand the Italian version of windows. Daniela and the rest of the ladies headed for a bar across from the church to organise English tea. Davide and I joined everyone for tea, Davide asked if I drank wine and ordered some Italian champagne, here’s me a complete stranger and I’m being treated like a celebrity.

After tea and good conversation with Gloria translating with Google we headed to get Matteo who was playing a card game with his friends. The card game was called Kanomi and the boys took it very seriously, it had the tension of a high stakes poker tournament. Daniela asked what I wanted for breakfast, I said croissants and coffee would be perfect, so we headed to the bakery. It was quite late, around 11pm but the bakery was busy and outside there were huge croissants which could easily feed a family of four. I picked a smaller versions and when I offered to pay Daniela wasn’t having any of it.

At the Belotti residences we chatted using Google translate added each other on Facebook and watch formula e the electric version of formula one on television. A neighbour brought a folding bed round and I settled down for the night, the hospitality in Calcio was amazing but there was more to come.

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Heading East

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I headed east out of Milan, I had a map and stopped on a regular basis to check my bearings. I came across what must have been the old quarter as all the buildings were dramatic and old. I arrived at what must have been an old town square, It had been turned into a roundabout, well squareabout with the city tram track circling the small building sat in the middle. I pushed my bike across the road and hidden in plain sight was an old fashion bakery which sold pizza by the meter. I couldn’t resist, I locked my bike to a lamppost, which looked like it should still run on gas and went into the bakery. I ordered a small slice of pizza and coke and stood outside to eat it. The owners of this store were clever, just outside the door was a small electrical sub station box, if that’s what you call them. They had glued a piece of wood to the top of it and put bar stools on either side creating an instant table, genius. I sat on the bar stool and watched Milan life, Milan is like old and new have merged creating spectacular, in front of me was an old rickety tram and off to my right was what looked like a brand new bombardier tram, the whole area was fascinating. I followed my compass east and picked up the signs for the airport which was were I needed to head to pick up the road to lake Garda.
I stopped behind the airport near Segrate, I was on a cycle path with a lake on one side and the field at the end of the runway on the other. The sun was blazing and it was hot, so I decided to take a break and hang all my gear up to dry out. I had bought a Russian salad earlier, so whilst every thing was drying I sat on the grass and ate it. A woman on her bike with two kids on roller skates stopped for a chat and told me there were no campsites nearby. The weather was good so I continued on the cycle path for about an hour before coming across the Concordia hotel, I called in to check the price. I had been freezing the night before sleeping on a trim trail so I decided to stay even though it was 60 Euros but it did include breakfast. I put my bike in garage number 2, which meant I only had to take my panniers upstairs with me. The room was basic with a tiled floor not neat square or rectangular tiles but pieces of smashed tiles heavily grouted so you didn’t cut your feet. The bathroom was small, no cat swinging possible but it would do. The shower was broken, when turned on the water came out of the wrong end of the hose and you had to hold the shower head as the holder was broken. However it was clean head free WiFi and plug sockets next to the bed. Across the road was a penny market so I went and bought my provisions. A pear, banana, fizzy water and nestea.

It was the first hotel I had stayed in since leaving Saint Omer in France about 1200 miles between hotels can’t be bad on a bike tour. I slept well and went down for breakfast at 08:00. The breakfast room was small had half a dozen tables and a buffet, I attempted to eat 60 Euros worth of buffet, I think I managed about 10 Euros worth. I hung around the hotel until 11:00 so I could upload video and charge everything. I took my time reloading the bike so I could balance all my gear a little better. I set off following the signs for Spizi then the SP14, I saw a garden centre and went in to look for a camping gas canister, what they had looked to big. so I didn’t buy it. I visited a shop in Rodano and grabbed a focciatio with cheese for my lunch. The sp14 was a good road but I had saddle sores so stopped at a supermarket which didn’t sell food but had 90% alcohol so I bought it as I planned on making a hobo stove. The cafe next door was called Perbacco and the coffee was cheap and delicious, the owners were very friendly and the weather was lovely so I sat outside wrote my journal and drank two coffees.

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Beautiful Italy

Italy - Beautiful Italy

I was freezing, wet and at most had slept for a couple of hours on the trim trail, I hadn’t shaved in three days, my arse ached from the cycling and now I was setting off in the dark just to get warm. I followed an early morning jogger towards the exit of the shopping centre and as I passed the hotel I was angry with myself for not checking in the night before, how I longed for a comfortable bed and a good nights sleep. I followed the signs to Monza, I was next to a wide road on a fairly decent cycle path so made headway quickly. Daylight started to break and the sky was a wonderful dark blue, I had warmed up and although tired was starting to enjoy the journey. I saw a sign for the famous Monza race track and one for the town centre, I followed the road for the town centre.

Cycling along at the side of an amazing dual carriageway, not like back home, this one was grand almost like it would lead to a palace. It had trees along the meridian and a row of trees on each side, the buildings were really old, big and grand. I came across a neoclassical hotel at a large T junction and across the road was The Royal Villa of Monza, Villa Reale. So it did lead to a palace, at 06:00 I had reached Monza. I propped my bike on the wall surrounding the villa and as dawn broke I took some photos. I cycled towards the Piazza Trento e Trieste, I arrived in the Piazza just before 07:00, there were street cleaners, a few dog walkers and students heading to school. I filmed on the square but had to do three takes as a little dog called Jennifer was running around me and jumping up at the camera. I was getting chilly again so went to the cafe bar at the edge of the piazza. It was a traditional Italian bar, a curved wooden counter with spirits along the back and of course a huge coffee machine. I ordered a coffee and pastry and then headed to pay the owners mother who was sat at a little counter by the door. I bet no one gets past her, I paid and sat outside watching the piazza come to life on this clear but chilly day.


The piazza was getting busy and when I had finished my coffee I walked around Monza taking in the early morning sights. The town had a wonderful church and a really old square. School was starting,
the streets were full of kids and the traffic was building. I cycle towards the edge of town but as the roads were busy I stopped for another coffee. The sign on the door read free WiFi, so I locked my bike to the bike rack close to the little cafe and went on. It wasn’t busy, only one other person who was just leaving. The walls were covered in memorabilia, lots of photos of famous guitarist’s and in every photo was an image of the guy who was stood behind the counter. There were guitars hanging on the walls and some other pop art, a small stage was in the corner of this cafe, now when I say small it was as if someone had taken the legs off one of the cafes tables and left the table top on the floor, then put a chair on it and a mic stand in front of it. I ordered the pancakes and coffee, 09:00am and on to breakfast number two. I sat outside which was becoming the norm for eating and drinking, mainly so I could watch my bike and the world gostir, This place was crazy, the pavements were packed with people some of them dressed up like they were on a walk of shame but as I was close to Milan it was just Italian fashion. The road was also busy and I wondered how safe I would be cycling into Milan centre. The breakfast was good but the internet connection wasn’t working so I got the GoPro out and filmed.

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Apparently Italy is not statistically the worst for cyclists getting squashed on the road. The journey from Monza to the outskirts of Milan was easy, some of it by road, a little by pavement and only a tiny fraction on cycle paths. It was a busy main arterial road heading to Milan. I came across a park and decided to sit in the sun and write my journal. The park wasn’t busy at first but after half an hour it was full of mums and toddlers playing, at the back of the park was a grand building with the name Fanny embossed in big letters at the apex of the entrance. I couldn’t help thinking it would be a good name for a gynaecological clinic. I pushed on, heading to the centre of Milan, I was feeling a bit grubby, I hadn’t shaved in three days and had been sleeping rough, I felt like a tramp. I came to a three way junction and had to wait at a red light, whilst I said I noticed a public swimming pool in front of me. I got off my bike and pushed it to the bike rack outside. I took my gear off the bike and carried it into the building, there was a women arguing at the desk, half a dozen people waiting to pay and this tramp like creature wearing a cycle helmet holding 2 panniers and a tent. I wasn’t the average customer and created quite a stir, the women behind the desk finished her argument, ignored everyone else in the queue and asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted to freshen up and maybe swim, she didn’t understand me but luckily someone on front of me spoke English and translated. Once I had explained my journey everyone became extremely helpful. The queue parted, the woman at the desk gave me a key to a small safe for my valuables a swimming hat and a big friendly smile. I paid 4 Euros and when I had my change I headed for the changing room. I had doors held open for me, everyone was helpful, pleasant and I felt like a bit of a celebrity, they probably just thought, he smells let’s get him in a shower quickly.

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I left that public swimming pool clean, smelling fresh and happy. All of a sudden I was energised and ready to enjoy Milan. It took a while to get into the heart of Milan but the architecture was magnificent, the roads weren’t, it was incredibly busy and there were times I nearly became a statistic. I made it to the epicentre of one of the most beautiful cities I had ever been to and what they say about Milan being the fashion and designer capital was true people were walking around in some horrendous outfits. There were shops as far as the eye could see, every designer outlet you could imagine. I walked around Milan for hours the main day square was breathtaking, a magnificent cathedral, museums and monuments. I filmed in the main square which attracted no attention what so ever! I even photo bombed a few people for a laugh. Milan is defiantly a place I’ll return to.

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The Worst Night

VillaReal - The Worst Night

So here I am, lying in a hammock in a wooded area next to a truck stop. I was comfy and warm, I had managed to get a few hours sleep but now the fun would start! I was peering through the mosquito net over the edge of my hammock, a few trucks turned up and reversed into their spot for the night. Some other trucks started up and left, the new arrivals visited the food wagon before bedding down for the night. I hadn’t noticed earlier but there was a single track road about 500m from my feet, I hadn’t noticed because no vehicles had driven along it before I slept. The whole area was getting busier, a car pulled up, a women got out and climbed into a truck. I saw the headlights and shadows of two cars, which passed the trucks, turned left then stopped almost opposite my feet. These two cars just parked up, their lights went out and then a shadow walked from one car to the other.

I watched the woman get out of a truck and into another one, so I didn’t need to guess what job she had. A few truckers were at the snack van, a hooker was at work in a truckers cab and two people were most likely having it off in a car. I saw a silhouette walk through the wood to my far left, too far away to notice me but I started to get concerned that I would be discovered. The two cars left but not before turning around in the road at one point I was directly in front of someone’s headlights. I was glad my silhouette was unusual as I was in a small group of trees lying in a hammock so I doubt it was obvious that someone was sleeping in the woods. The women who was visiting the trucks got in her car and drove off but two more cars turned up opposite my feet, oh hang on, one car was the same, a Mitsubishi shogun. The lights went out but this time the occupants of both vehicles got out and were heading straight for me.

So here’s me lying in a hammock in the pitch black with two people walking towards me. I lifted my head up slightly so I could see better and when they got close I just said hello. They obviously hadn’t seen me because I scared them, they jumped and then turned and ran. I saw them get back into their cars and drive off. I obviously couldn’t stay, I imagined they would tell others that the wood was haunted and more people would turn up, so I packed up. This turned out to be difficult as it was pitch black, although I managed to hang everything on the bike until I was under a street lamp, I lost my gloves.

I pushed the bike across the main road and went back to Mc Donald’s. I decided to get a coffee and then find a new place to sleep. Mc Donald’s was packed, it seems all the local teenagers hang out here. I thought it was later than it actually was but the clock in Mc Donald’s said 23:30 so I ordered a latte which arrived as a cup of hot milk, I explained I wanted coffee and learnt I had to ask for a cafe latte to get a coffee. I drank it outside and planned the rest of the night. I would cycle around the back of Mc Donald’s and sleep near the pylon I saw earlier in the day. Next to Mc Donald’s was a casino, I hadn’t noticed it the last time I was here as it was closed, there were people coming and going and my confidence in stealth camping was fading fast. Once I had finished my coffee I cycled past the casino and round to the pylon, the car park was full, mainly with young people. It was obviously the place to be but not the place to sleep.

I headed back the way I had arrived over the motorway, behind the burger king but found nothing. I cycled back passed Mc Donald’s and along the main road. I hate cycling in the dark, so I spent most of my journey on the footpath. I saw bar after bar on the way to Monza and all of them were busy, Italians seem to stay out all night. I wasn’t having any luck at finding somewhere to sleep, I think I’ve lost the hang of it. I arrived at a motorway bridge, it was well-lit and there was a hooker stood by the road underneath the bridge. I wondered if we could go back to her place so at least I could get some sleep. I decided to head along the side of the motorway which quickly turned into a decent cycle path and then led into a large commercial shopping centre, there was a hotel at the entrance but it was 02:00 and surely I could manage until day light. The cycle path went all the way around so I followed it until I arrived back at the hotel. I had passed a couple of benches next to a trim trail so went and sat on one of them for a while. The temperature had dropped considerably, I scouted round the trim trail and walked to the edge of the field next to the motorway. There was a few places I could sleep but none would be comfy, so I sat back on the bench for a while. I could see two silhouettes heading along the running path towards me, once they saw me they went and sat down on another bench on the opposite side of the shopping centre.

I pushed the bike over a mound out of sight and lay my ground sheet on the trim trail, I covered myself up and nodded off. I only slept for about an hour before waking up freezing, the grass around me was wet and my groundsheet was covered in dew. I curled up in my sleeping bag trying to get warm but couldn’t so slowly packed up and went back to the bench. I sorted all my gear out under the lights of the cycle path as I did a jogger went passed with a head torch on, that’s dedication. I thought if I cycled on I would get warm, so I headed towards Monza.

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Italy Here I Come

ItalyBorder e1415623390785 - Italy Here I Come

I woke to see the petrol stations lights come on and the sky was lighter. I fell asleep again until it was daylight but cloudy, the petrol station opens at 6:00 and I got up at 7:00 and packed everything away. I walked across the road to the mirgas 24 hr station, I had some Swiss francs left so I thought I would buy a coffee and spend them. After all the expense of Switzerland I had to laugh when I found out the coffee at mirgas is free. I bought two croissants and had two coffees, the woman in the petrol station spoke great English and we chatted about my plans and my night sleeping across the road. I reorganised all my stuff and rode the 50 m to the border, cyclist go through their own check point. It was 07:45 the customs officer was on his mobile and just nodded me through. I followed the signs for Como on a really bad unsurfaced road. I needed the loo so stopped at a road side cafe, ordered a coffee from a very sexy waitress, who called me George Clooney. It turns out it wasn’t because I was handsome, she thought I was American another customer soon put her right and we all had a good laugh about it.


I had to push the bike up a steep hill towards Como and at one point I nearly went back through the border into Switzerland. As soon as I got to the brow of hill I saw an oasis, no not one with palm trees, I came across a launderette, so stripped off, well changed into my shorts and washed everything. I even washed my sleeping bag, within 10 minutes a car pulled up and a guy with a bunch of keys came in the launderette. He checked the machines and a few other things then left. I think he saw me get undressed on the CCTV and came to check up on me. After the launderette the coast down hill to Como was quick, steep and with lots of bends, so was really fast and fun. I went to the edge of the lake and slowly cycled around the it, the views were amazing. Como had grand architecture, monuments and sculptures the town had a really good atmosphere.


I followed the all directions signs back to the Milan junction and headed towards Monza. The roads were mainly flat just the odd bridge, I was somewhere near Luargo when I came across a Burger King followed by a Mc Donalds, they were both out-of-town close to an industrial park. I called into the Mc Donalds and used their facilities to freshen up, behind Mc Donalds was a closed retail unit. I cycled around the car park and in the corner was a grass area with a pylon in the middle of it. I could easily sleep close to the pylon. It was only 5 o’clock so I grabbed a cheese burger, mozzarella sticks and a coke. I tried to log on to the WiFi but you had to enter a phone number or credit card, which is not what I’ll do on an open network. So free WiFi is rarely free as you end up on a marketing list, so you get adverts constantly.

I went and sat in the car park of the closed unit and adjusted my brakes and gears but there were too many people around, walking dogs and people jogging. There was a woman taking photographs of a child blowing bubbles. I thought I would cycle round the area to see what was here, I could return later if I needed to. I went around an industrial estate and found a hotel, so asked how much but it was full. I came out of the estate opposite Mc Donalds close to a roundabout, I was looking at a truck stop. I crossed the road and had a look, the truck area was small but busy, there was a butty wagon, half a dozen trucks and a gravel road. Just in front of the trucks was a small grass area with trees, I thought that if a trucker could sleep here so could I, wild camping in Italy is illegal but surely I could get away with it here. I propped my bike up against a tree and walked around the wooded area, I came across two trees which would be ideal for my hammock. I moved the bike and setup a simple camp, I used just the hammock which has a mosquito net attached and my sleeping bag. So as long as it didn’t rain I would be okay, it was dusk and I was tired, so I went to sleep wearing my waterproofs a wool hat to keep warm.

I was woken up by the noise of big trucks coming and going, I checked the time and discovered I had only been asleep a couple of hours. It was dark in the wooded area but I could see all the trucks parked up and the lights from passing vehicles. I moved up my hammock so I could watch what was going on, it was to get quite interesting.

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Italy in my Sights

SwissBorder - Italy in my Sights

I had a great sleep in the hammock after my big lunch, I got my gadgets together and headed for the games room. There’s always plug sockets in a games room, so I can charge everything up and plan the next step. I walked into the log cabin and sat on the floor between the pacman and the pinball machine. It wasn’t the best place to sit but I was next to an electrical extension reel. I ended up sat in the games for 2 hours, mainly because it was raining. When the rain eased off I walked the ten steps to the restaurant, I wished I could have cooked my own food but I don’t have any gas. Buying food in a restaurant by debit card is bad as I tend to spend more, although I will be leaving Switzerland without Swiss francs. (Or so I thought). I had a pizza and a beer sat on one of the tall tables near the plug socket at the back of the restaurant.

I had a really strange night and have to admit I was a little scared at times. I couldn’t sleep straight away, no doubt due to the afternoon nap. It was about 1:00 am when the horrible noise started, it was an awful screeching sound, like a cat you’ve just stood on but a higher pitch. I heard rustling that sounded like a plastic bag being put over my head, that turned out to be the noise a cornfield makes when a kestrel attacks it’s pretty. It went on for quite a while and was scary, it also happened twice throughout the night. I made a mental note to wear earplugs the next time I sleep next to a cornfield. I got out of my hammock at 08:00 am, packed up and was ready to go by 09:00. Louisa who ran the restaurant had suggested I have breakfast with her but when I got to the restaurant it was closed, even though there was a sign on the door that said it should have been open from 08:00.

I cycled out of the campsite and through the cornfields past farmland on a very smooth bike path, Switzerland route number 31. The map I had from the Swiss tourist board didn’t mention a route 31 but there was a route 3 and a route 1 which looked on the map like they converged with each other. So here’s me enjoying amazing views of Switzerland thinking I would be on Italy in an hour or so only to discover I am cycling on the wrong side of lake Maggiore, seems familiar, not lake Maggiore but the fact I’m on the wrong side of a lake. Although the detour around lake Maggiore were some of the best views of the trip, so far. The journey back along the lake too was spectacular.

It was 10:40 am and I hadn’t eaten and had no money so had to go to a cash machine, luckily there was one right next to me. I thought 10 Swiss francs should do the trick but of course Switzerland had other plans, minimum 50 franc withdrawal, this county has a way of making you spend money. I came across a small roadside bar situated in an industrial area, right next to a caterpillar plant. I had a croissant and two cups of coffee. I’ve also come to the end of my first journal, time to buy a new journal.

I lost over half a day at lake Maggiore and my unintentional tour of Cadenazzo, from one side of the town where I camped in a cornfield for 2 nights to the other which should lead me to the Italian border. I had finally got back on route 3 the excellent north to south Swiss cycle route not that I’ve spent much time on it. I cycled round the edge of another lake, this time heading in the right direction whilst looking for a nice spot to sleep. I was cycling parallel to an autostrada and when it turned over the road I was on, I stopped, it could have been a good place to sleep but it would have been very noisy, it also had started to rain, not hard but just enough to annoy me because it’s on my glasses. I sheltered under the canopy of a citreon garage for a few moments before coming across a vineyard, I could see the town spread out below me from the hill I was on and I knew if I got to the town at night I wouldn’t find a comfy place to sleep. I still went though didn’t I, walking around the town for hours. I even continued on route 3 but it was too dark, I looked in a few car parks and ended up by a railway siding, called Ponte Franco. I sat and watched the trains shunting some big stuff around, good to watch but noisy and sparks everywhere. I was next to a big customs warehouse and could shelter under the canopy where the workers smoke  but a couple of cars had driven past and a moped.

I cycled on for another hour or so and came across a lit road with a sign for Como, that’s in Italy, so I headed that way. It was downhill and headed straight for the border. I came across 3 petrol stations on the road next to the border and decided to sleep in Switzerland rather than go over the border in the dark. I sat outside a small building which turned out to be a pumping station, it had a nice piece of grass behind it and a low metal fence around it, a great place to sleep. The fence was stopping people from falling in the river which separates Switzerland from Italy. I attached my hammock to the fence, it was really low to the ground but comfy. I didn’t cover myself with a tarp but it didn’t rain. I was a bit chilly and had to get in my sleeping bag with my trainers on. I could have easily set my tent up but the hammock is comfy and quick to pack up. I could see the only way anyone could find me so felt safe, behind me was a grass patch and another fence. So if anyone did see me they couldn’t walk towards me. I could see a closed petrol station and a block of flats as long as I didn’t shine a torch I was confident I wouldn’t be seen.

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