England it’s an extremely wet country. Two are the colors that rule over the British population: the green of the trees and the gray of the rainy clouds. Almost everyday, for at least a couple of hours, it has to rain. Nevertheless, in two years I was leaving there, never I felt the necessity to buy an umbrella. It is usually a light rain. Harmless.
One day, after a long week working in the care home, I decided to go to visit Stonehenge. It’s one of the main British attractions, one of the best-known prehistoric monument in Europe, and yet no one ever told me any good about this archeologic rests. I had to see it with my eyes.
At that time I was living in Redhill, about half an hour south from London. The plan was to take my bike on the train till Salisbury, from there cycle till Stonehenge, take a couple of pictures and come back home. Easy.
I prepared my backpack, some water, some food, a book, and went off to take the train. It was a lovely day, not even windy.
When you are traveling alone with a backpack you get use to all those looks people give you. It has nothing to do with mockery, it’s more about complicity and smiles of consent. But not that day.
That day I was on a train with a backpack, a filthy bike and an unshaved beard. People were trying to avoid any eye contact. Some of them even changed the coach. Looking my reflection on the train glass I had to agreed with them. I looked like a homeless guy looking for hospitality. I wouldn’t myself speak with someone like that.
All of this give me for some reason some kind of euphoria and excitement. I did the rest of the trip happy, anxious to get in Stonehenge and feel that emotion that only ancient ruins can give.
Approaching to my destination I started to understand that my plan wasn’t that easy after all. Big dark clouds fallowed by heavy rain started to laugh at me and my rejection to buy an umbrella.
Coming out of the train I had a new plan: get a raincoat. I asked where was the city centre and then out under the rain, cycling as fast as I could, looking for the right shop.
After five minutes I was socking wet, big drops were coming all the way down of my nose and I had water even inside my underwear.
I reached the closest shop, something about hike and outdoor activities, bought a raincoat for me and a waterproof cover for my bag, out of the shop and…the rain was gone. Someone was having big laughs that day.
I found a dry spot where to eat my fruit, refusing to drink any water, and focus on my next move. It was still early, I could have a ride around the town, see some places and then go to those beautiful stones.
After seeing some of the main Sainsbury’s attractions I decided to head to my final destination, and of course the rain started again. First slowly like a spring shower, then heavily like a waterfall.
After half an hour I was even wetter than before. The raincoat was protecting me from the rain, but from the other side it was making me sweat, so I was wet under the coat anyway. Anytime a car was approaching, it looked like it was speeding up just for the joy to wet me even more from the sides. I was mad, cycling and shouting at the sky. I didn’t want to go anymore, it was in the end just a damn circle of stones and who likes stones anyway?
Just when I was about to give up, to turn the bike and go back home, I spotted a road sign showing the direction for Old Sarum, a very ancient settlement, in the half way between Stonehenge and the town. I drifted there, took some pictures, had a chat with the guide and left heading finally home.
Nobody likes stones.