11. Como – Milan – From Bad to Worse

Last night it was very restless in Como. Because it is very hot during the day, the road workers start work from 8 o’clock in the evening. This time a piece of asphalt has to be replaced, with planers and milling machines doing the preparatory work, the asphalt paver unloads its load and finally the roller appears to smooth it out. At half past one in the night, the job is done and the neighborhood can go to sleep. At least, because of the heat during the day, the sweepers start cleaning the street well at 5 o’clock in the morning so that Como looks like a sun during the day. The fact that the population has a short night’s sleep as a result of these activities is apparently less interesting.

That’s the way it is with me too. I get up with a hungover feeling after the short night. Since I have booked a room in an apartment, I have to arrange my breakfast myself. At 8 am, I’m driving through downtown looking for a quick meal with coffee. It’s quiet on the street. Where the restaurants are fully booked with tourists in the evening, the seats are empty in the morning. Because Italians are quite busy talking to each other, my eye falls on “Bar Argentino” where coffee and alcoholic drinks are served. After my request for breakfast, there is an enthusiastic action by the staff who goes to get sandwiches from the bakery but in the meantime serves me a delicious cappuccino. That’s what I call service, which gives the staff a good tip at checkout. After fifteen minutes I enjoy breakfast with a second cappuccino and I can’t go wrong with my morning.

However, during breakfast it suddenly starts to rain; with the prospect of the bike ride to Milan an unpleasant thought because I mainly have to use the main road because there are hardly any bicycle paths in this area. Maybe the EU still has some money somewhere to stimulate the construction of bicycle paths in this area……

Rain in Como

The rain makes me realize that I haven’t had to test the quality of my rain gear yet so this is the perfect opportunity. I leave in a southerly direction and drive the first hours in heavy rain showers where the temperature is pleasant. My raincoat and overshoes are doing great and keeping my upper body and feet dry.

A cheap cappuccino

Towards noon it stops raining and immediately the temperature rises above 30 degrees and the heat takes over my mood again. A cappuccino is the perfect medicine for me and on the way I drink one in “Bar Roma” which costs me only €1.40. I won’t tell them what they dare to ask in Switzerland or the Netherlands…..

I’m still driving the motorized traffic on the same road, getting busier as Milan approaches. In front of me looms the autostrada SS36 to Milan and the cycle path leads me parallel to it for tens of miles. I suspect that the cycle path is little used because the weeds are slowly swallowing the area. Along the way I see a bench that will soon be gone.

After a good hour’s drive, the road bends into the agglomeration of Milan. Via various suburbs and routes through residential areas I arrive in the “Parco Nord Milano”; a beautiful wide park with playground equipment, beautiful bridges and barbecue areas. Suddenly I see clothes, mattresses and rubbish lying under trees. Further on, groups of people lie in the shadows and I realize that there are groups of refugees and homeless people living here. I continue my route, but each time I am asked if I want to give money. I quickly leave the park via a wide road to go to my apartment via a detour. The police patrol the outside of the park and check cars and people entering or near the park. They leave me undisturbed, but I get the feeling that I have escaped a dangerous situation.

With this thought in mind, Milan suddenly becomes a lot less fun. The city is a big anthill with a lot of traffic noise, it is sweltering hot and almost every street has been broken up for repairs so that there is a lot of traffic jam.

Around 3 pm I reach my apartment, which is behind a large sturdy fence with a large courtyard. When I’m in the apartment, it’s quiet; the bustle of the city has miraculously disappeared. Because I have my own kitchen, I do my shopping and can therefore comfortably prepare for tomorrow’s rest day and say goodbye to city life for a while.