The Rome planning had to be adjusted fairly late in the day when we discovered that our sleeper to Milan would be leaving from Tiburtina, a station on the outskirts of the city rather than from the main station in the centre. Our train from Venice stopped at both so we decided to detrain at Tiburtina, dump the bags and take the metro into the city. Wrong move. The left luggage facility at Tiburtina closed for good on April 30th. It was baking hot and we now had to take the metro into town with all of our bags. At the main station we had a seemingly endless walk to the left luggage.
The time consumed meant that we had to miss out on a visit to the Vatican, not a disaster as it did not involve any proper trains although Darren was disappointed. He had put on his clean trousers in order to make the right impression with the Pope.
The next activity was to go to collect our specially ordered picnic from Volpetti's, a very smart gourmet delicatessen. This proved to be somewhat bigger than anticipated so another plan revision was hastliy devised. We would eat some now in the park up the hill and transfer the remainder by taxi direct to Tiburtina. The starter pack contained olives, artichoke hearts, wonderful bread, prosciutto and cheeses and salami so good that even our jaded palates could appreciate them. Tye wine was sublime. Perhaps they don't let the good stuff out of the country. We ate all of this in a public park looking over the city towards St Peter's. If the rest is as good as this the hundred euros each will be a snip.
By now we were a bit footsore and weary. For me sandals were not a good choice. The main party limped down the opposite side of our hill while Lloyd and Steve went back to pick up the remaining 6 boxes of food and drink. We took in the view of the Circus Maximus and then took the metro to the Coliseum. We pitched camp in a nearby bar and were served German beer in litre steins and complimentary snacks which were not in the same league as what we had just eaten.
We saw the sun and beers go down until it was time to go and recover our luggage. It was a bit cooler and knowing that we were on the last leg for today helped ease the pain. At Tiburtina we found Lloyd and Steve witth the provisions mountain. In our relief at completing today's Hors Categorie stage we cracked open a couple more bottles on the platform. Most welcome. Tonight's City Notte sleeper to Milan is one of our leader's recurring nightmares as we have a change of stations in Milan and only about an hour to make the connection. The train arrives 6 minutes early from Naples. Is this a good omen?