Monday, 17 May 2004

Day 12 Monday

Up early and headed off for the station at 6.30, getting there at 7.30. Bought a book to read as I reckoned it was likely to be a long day - Ernest Hemingway's Farewell to Arms. Just before eight, made my way to platform 17. The train was there with the end destination, Velletri, on the display. I got on. One or two others got on that I saw. I was a bit perturbed that it did not leave for five minutes after the due time, but it was Italy, after all. I was more concerned when the train then appeared to be heading north. After a while, two men came through the compartment and said the train was not going to Velletri and told me to go to the front of the train (they were going the other way). Velletri was the end of the line and we all got off. My fellow passengers and I accosted a guard who directed us across some sidings and over a bridge to another platform where we waited for a train back into Rome. There, we got on the right train and I got off at Champion station. There was a ten minute or so wait for the bus to the airport. I raced in and presented myself breathless at the check in. I was told that the plane was boarding and was too late to go through. I could have gone back into Rome and spent another couple of days there but mentally I was attuned to going home so I went to the ticket desk to make enquiries about another flight. There was a Ryanair flight at one o'clock to Stansted which would cost me €300; the woman then asked if I would prefer to go to Stansted with Easyjet in 45 minutes for €175 - I said yes please. I was able to check in right away and appeared to be the last to do so. My backpack had to go in as hand baggage. It was duly X-rayed and some suspicious things found! My round-ended scissors in my first aid kit were confiscated as scissors are on the prohibited list. My twelve sharp ended tent pegs were carefully examined but as tent pegs were not on the prohibited list, I was able to keep them with me! Crazy.

An uneventful flight to Stansted. Within fifteen minutes of landing I was on the shuttle bus and on the way to Oxford.

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