The coach picked us up outside the hall, and I was transported back to my childhood; soggy sandwiches and warm orange drinks. Then I was back and we were filing into the coach. It was 9 am and we were to be on the road for six hours or more. The place we were going?
“What’s the difference?” you ask.
Well you are given access inside the circle, in fact you are given uninhibited access of the stones. There is a guide with you and you have to wait until the other tourists have gone, but wandering around Stonehenge in the twilight is something amazing.
The feeling hits you in the solar plexus.
Although there is a road nearby, the land is flat and at the time of day I was aware of just how open the landscape is. It is this newness that I love about visiting a new place. Even if that place is old, so old that it appears part of the landscape.
The simple fact you can turn a circle and realise that you have never stood there before, have never experienced what you are smelling and seeing, that is what I love about going to new places.
At Stonehenge it was the cool temperature of the stones, and their massive bulk. The smell of cut grass and the fading light. The simple other-world feeling that you get when you stand inside the stones and watch the sun sink below the horizon.
That is what makes me feel like a stranger in a strange land.