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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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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