We are cycling and night is falling. One by one stars appear in the sky and the full moon rises on our left. Our hands hurt from squeezing the brakes as we’re riding downhill at only 10km/hour. We are looking for a campsite.
It is not easy in the mountains. There is a wall, a narrow road, and then the cliff going down. We planned to camp on top of the pass, but the howling wind made that impossible, so we need to find a place that’s not only flat but sheltered too. A crossing appears – to the left a smaller road leads down to the valley below. Less traffic, more chance of finding a campsite. Down we go. By now it would have been pitch black if it wasn’t for the full moon in a clear crisp sky. Eventually we spot a ledge, we stumble down, crawl underneath a lowhanging tree and there it is: our campsite for the night. It is barely big enough for the tent and there’s some dried manure laying around, but it will have to do. It’s not exactely flat either: in the morning we will find ourselves curled up on the lower end of the tent. Oh well, we’ve had worse.
There’s always a place, somewhere.
It’s not always easy, finding a campsite. Evenings like the one described above where we cycle in the dark and settle for something less-than-ideal were not common, but it happens sometimes, and if you plan to wildcamp on your trip you will have them too.
No matter how desperate the situation might be, keep in mind that there’s always a place, somewhere. It might not be ideal, it might not even be particularly good, but it might be just what you need to put your head down for a few hours.
So, what works as a campsite? Anything! Preferably a grassy meadow along a clean river, but that didn’t happen very often. Alternatively, we have camped in:
- Construction sites
- A parking lot
- Picknick shelters
- A gravelpit
- An illegal garbage dump
- Olive groves
- Gas stations
- An abandoned caravanserai (my personal favorite)
- A chapel
- Literally just on the side of the road
- Farmers’ fields
- River banks
- Under bridges
- A boyscout camp
- Abandoned buildings
- A lavender field
- Vineyards (under the grapes!)
See for some shots the gallery below, in addition to this post. Click on the right side of the box to move to the next image. Hover your mouse over the photo for more information.
What’s your favorite? What’s the strangest place you’ve slept in?