Are you a book maniac? Do you wake up and fall asleep with a book in hand? Do you read books when you’re in subway or you walk along the streets? And when you travel? Is your paper book or e-reader with you? For sure, Hay-on-Wye is your next destination or why not the place where you could settle down till the end of your life.
This is a small Welsh town not far away from Cardiff (it takes an hour drive only). It has less than 2000 inhabitants who have 40 libraries at their disposal. This place is the Mecca for all “reading creatures” and book-lovers like me who get absolutely lost among the thousands of hundreds books there. So, it is worth visiting this small village which will not disappoint people from the “book race” at all if they decide to spend several hours at this particular place.
The “book settlement” can be visited at any time of the year. All of the 40 libraries and bookshops are open all the year round. Speaking about these small “book holy places”, they are somehow “specialized”. For instance, if you choose the Booths Bookshop you will mix pleasant reading with wellness activities because it possesses a wellness centre within its premises. If you adore horror books, your place will be either the Murder or Mayhem. As to Rose’s Book it hides really very rare and unknown texts and books. And here is one side note. A very peculiar fact is that a lot of English libraries and bookshops have closed down in recent years as a result of the world crises while Hay-On-Wye doesn’t face any cultural crises and properties never go bankrupt.
And last thing here. If you have already done the shopping and have filled your more capacious suitcase with plenty of books and texts, there will be nothing better than going to the nearby forests and surroundings where you can sit down and enjoy reading while the breathtaking views of Wales “touch gently” your eyes. Do you know why I mentioned something about “more capacious” suitcases? For two reasons. Firstly, the variety of books, rare texts as well as titles that have not been published for years is big, indeed. That’s the reason why the town “won” the nickname the Book Town in the 70s of last century. Secondly, also second-hand books are offered and on display and they are really cheap (between 50 cents and one eruo). That’s why if you plan a visit to Hay-on-Wye take your more capacious suitcase, not only a rucksack. 😉
I told you almost in the very beginning that Hay-on-Wye can be visited at any time of the year. But if you can make your plans for the period from May 26 – June 05, you, as a book-lover will be even luckier. The reason is that the annual Hay Festival organized by the Guardian is held in the “Book Mecca”. The Book festival invites more than 85 000 prominent authors, poets, politicians, philosophers and musicians from all over the world who take part in the great number of accompanying events. They entertain visitors and locals alike with various types of seminars and concerts.