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Reality sinks in

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We got up early, checked out of our hotel, got breakfast and headed for an internet cafe. The news wasn't good. Now it began to sink in just how big our problem was. No planes were going to be flying for several days, so we had two choices: stay n Rome and wait for the situation to improve; or make our way back over land to the UK.

Neither solution was ideal. We didn't really have the money to stay in Rome (you can eat cheaply and sightsee cheaply but accomodation is fairly pricey) and we didn't know how long we might have to stay. But after several long train journeys we weren't jumping for joy at the prospect of more train travel either.

The scene that greeted us at Rome Termini train station made us even more worried. It was chaos, with a very large queue snaking right through the main hall. Some woman with a loudhailer seemed to announce that there were no more spaces on trains to Paris but it was almost impossible to make out what she was saying. We immediately gave up on leaving Rome that day and made straight for the Tourist Information desk to book a room for the night. We managed to get a cheap room and decided to start planning our exit for the following day.

We decided to try and avoid all major transport hubs and tourist cities. The scenes in Rome convinced us that we had to steer clear of anywhere that thousands of other people had become stranded. We looked at a map and picked out a route that took us up the west coast of Italy into Genoa, and from there we could reach France. We felt relieved when the self-service machine allowed us to book a ticket. We had what all those other people queueing wanted - we had a ticket to leave Rome. Our journey home was going to start at 6am on Sunday morning.

We tried to enjoy our last day in Rome, but after the trip to the train station there was not a great deal of the day left. We walked around with heavy hearts and were in bed early that night - ready to face whatever the journey home had in store.


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The Journey Home 17/4 - 19/4

Rome/Genoa/Nice/Marseilles/Paris/Le Havre/Portsmouth/Ryde