Day 17

When leaving from Bellinzona I suddenly realize there's another mountain ahead. Only some 350 metres to climb, but I'm having a lazy day. Or rather my legs don't feel ready yet. I decide: That's it. I'll go up that mountain but I'll stop at the first camp site available after. 27 km later I find myself in Mezzovico.

When coming down the Alps some days before, I would already feel the noticable change in climate. Now in Mezzovico the dress code set by the owner of the family-run camp site and followed by most male residents is officially "topless".

Thunderstorms have been forecasted for the night. A little nervous about camping I set up my tent anyways. Around midnight, lightning strikes but not in the immediate vicinity. A bit difficult to sleep like that but nothing eye-covers and ear plugs couldn't solve.

Day 18/19

I'm entering new terrain. While the roads in Ticino were getting a little adventurous at times, they have now gotten noticibly worse. I'm not riding to far though and decide to spend 2 days in Como, also because the hostel "Otello Bello" is very accommodating, has friendly staff, free food and is altogether probably the best hostel I've ever stayed at.

While I'm there patrons are mostly American and a few guys from different states spending their summer vacation in Europe are quite excited about my trip.

Day 20

Hmmh, I can't find my Yi 4k camera anymore. It's so small I may have easily misplaced it in one of my small bags/containers. I leave a note anyways at the hostel reception desk and head of for my Italian adventure.

Oh boy, it's something else to cycle if there is not labelled route anymore, as there was for the last 3 weeks. Still, I have the app (OsmAnd+) which let's me choose cycle paths. That should do the trick -- but it doesn't.

On my way to Milano I'm being led through terrible terrain in the middle of the forest, that some MTB cyclist would probably shy away from. The road is, in parts, so rocky that my low riders fall off, 2 times. Several times I have to get off the bike to push it, and even that is hardly possible because the elevation is too steep and the ground doesn't provide enough grip for the feet. Feels like I'm cycling in Kirgistan already!

My conclusion that day: the road sign "pista ciclabile" translates to "avoid cycling here"

And then, to make matters worse, I lose my phone. In the middle of the road. And I don't notice it, for a couple of minutes. It probably jumped out of my bag while I was moving from the curb onto the street (as dozens of times that day). I head to the Mcdonald's nearby to use their Wifi and thanks to Google's phone finder I can locate the position, but altogether it takes almost 2 hours and the involvement of several Italians (none of whom spoke English, remarkably) to track it down and have it returned to me. The screen is broken but it still works fine, so there's that.

It's now past 6 o'clock and with no place for the night yet I call to the local camp site "Camping Village Milan" to inquire for the price and opening times. They refuse to tell me the price ("you have to come here and then we will tell you") and before I can ask how long they're open they hang up on me. With no other options and not in the mood to ride any further I reach the camp site 1 hour later.

The feeling of the camp site is more like a prison camp: 2m high electronic gates that open only on request, I must leave my passport as deposit. The local "mini mart" is more like 2 shelves of overpriced liquor (most items don't have a price sticker at all). When setting up my tent I get attacked by the most vicious mosquitos ever. Even with mosquito repellent staying outdoors is impossible so I eat my homecooked meal (pasta+pesto) in my tent. There is no wind or airflow on the camp site and it's probably 30C in the tent (32 after eating pasta). Until after midnight, cars still enter and leave the camp site. In the distance one can hear people raving to an open air party.