I began the day by rolling 4km into Milan's city centre. After seeing the sights and having a coffee in the square I weaved and dodged through the melee of traffic until heading out on the road towards Como.
The road to Como was much like the road from Ancona to Pescara; long, straight and dull. Thankfully there was a gentle tailwind and the journey was relatively short. On the way I stopped off at a bike shop by the side of the ride, luckily the owner was very friendly and offered to fix the stem on my bike which had now been broken for the past 3 days meaning a fatal steering error was overdue.
When I rolled into Como at around 1pm it was much bigger than I'd expected. The tourist apartments sprawled across the lake's steep mountain sides as far as the eye could see. The original plan to wild camp in Como wasn't going to happen. The lake itself looked quite polluted and far too busy for my liking. I stopped for a coffee which was phenomenal, as well as ridiculously cheap. About 2 hours after arriving in Como I set off over the mountains to Lugano.
The road here was hilly, but so much more interesting with good cycle lanes everywhere. The riding here was much more fun. A full belly last night, a slight tailwind and easy pedalling saw the kilometres fly by. I kept extending my planned overnight stop as I felt great so just carried on pedalling.
Lugano was a beautiful place. The lake was bigger, more beautiful and much quieter with crystal clear water. It was as I had imagined Como to be. I sat on a bench and just watched the world go by before searching for a supermarket. Despite that all I could find after asking several locals was the food section of a designer department store.
After filling up on ridiculously expensive and artisan food, I set off up another long climb from Lugano and headed up the road and into the mountains, even at 5pm it was 32 degrees. I was in high spirits though and the distance flew by. I dipped my head and filled my bottles in a small tap by the side of the road before being greeted by a long, fast descent (which made up for the previous 100km of uphill).
I stopped at a McDonals to call Alex (the call rates were ridiculous now I'd crossed into Switzerland so had to rely on WiFi). After a small backstreet diversion I began hunting for my campsite. Too stubborn to pay 16francs for a campsite I tried to find a quieter pitch. It just so happened I seemed to be riding down the busiest valley in the Swiss Alps, there was no free space not directly behind someones house. Eventually I found somewhere not so secluded near a railway line 8km before Biasca. I pitched up there desperate to beat the rapidly setting sun.