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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About John Holt

John Holt has worked in the travel industry for over 14 years and comes highly recommended by Trip Advisor for his practical and candid talks on travel destinations. Spending 18 months as a "Local Interest Specialist" for a leading tour operator John has become known as having more practical information than Google.

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