Saturday, 23 May 2009
Hay-on-Wye. The town of books.
The last picture is the Hay Castle. Also a bookshop.
You could be surprised on seeing a book called ‘A field guide to fairies’. But then again, if you happen to be walking in a weave of magical streets and little huts in a small idyllic village called Hay-on-Wye in Wales, you would almost be looking for fairies when you stumble across this odd illustrated book.
Hay-on-Wye. A town of books. If there is anything that can beat that description, it’s the town itself.
Years ago, when I started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I hastily put it down after reading the first few lines. I could not go on. The writing was so beautiful that I was afraid to finish the book. And I did not read it for several years. Preserving it. How terribly stupid.
My trip to Hay-on-Wye is that feeling all over again. The approach to Hay-on-Wye is like reading the first few lines of the most enchanting book you have ever read and see it come alive. You cross a river to go into town. But you would almost be forgiven if you stop right there and put your bags down and think to yourself that you should turn back for this dream would be broken.
But like Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Hay-on-Wye does not disappoint. You walk on, greeted by the dancing swallows in air, the songs of the blackbirds and songbirds flying as if this place was untouched by the evil hand of man.
You see sheep scattered on the hills. Their sublime minds eschewing the philosophies of the day.
You walk on and land amidst books. Or shall I say you land in that chapter of life where there are nothing but books and beautiful people talking about books.
But I would not want to spoil the story for you. You will have to discover this one on your own.
Hay-on-Wye also hosts the Guardian Hay Literary Festival every May. A festival that sees the youngest to the oldest book lovers arrive here.
How unbelievably amazing is that?