30.04.2006 20 °C
Like clockwork we rolled out on to the narrow Via Romana as the early morning bus approached, just in time to meet us at the stop. Nice to pay one euro each to get back to the station instead of eighteen for a taxi. We find the right platform and train and begin to retrace our way by rail to Nice.
With no direct train available, change at Genoa required, from the fast train down to the dirty and slow rolling stock familiar to us from our night time adventures. Time enough in Genoa to stroll past the Christopher Columbus statue near the rail station (love your work Chris, but sorry we can't fund your trip to the New World. Maybe someone else can chip in?) Procured coffee and cake in the only shop in the street with visible tables and chairs in the sunshine and returned to the station in time for our train to Nice.
All we want to do now, having decided to abandon Venice as a destination, is to get back to England with enough time in hand to squeeze in the sights we missed first time round: Stonehenge and Bath in particular. So, after deep discussions with a helpful ticket clerk at Nice, it was determined that the fast train under the English Channel would be the best option despite a supplementary charge of 75 euros each on top of our Eurail passes. The alternative would be a slow train to Calais, followed by paying our own way on the ferry with maybe a discounted fare, and further uncertain arrangements from Dover back to London.
Journey from Nice to Paris peaceful enough for us - seasoned enough to gather provisions before the journey, but in this case the dining car was in operation. One young American lady found she had failed to get off at Aix-en-Provence and instead found herself several hundred km away in Paris at midnight, perhaps as a result of her insisting she could speak French but clearly could not listen to French and extract any meaning from it.
I had booked a room at the Terminus de Lyon Hotel just near the Gare de Lyon station, so it only took ten minutes and our trusty compass to find our way there. Clean, adequate room, and we were soon asleep.