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.