Hay on Wye – The Town of Books

What more can a book lover possibly want?

The quaint town that is packed full of book shops. Even the pubs & the cafes have books stacked in them. It is also famous for its literary festival, when readers & writers from all over the world, descend upon it to discuss books.

My favorite bookshop has to be the ‘Murder & Mayhem’ which was stacked full of books on crime. So tiny from the outside but containing several ghoulish delights inside.

The ‘Rose’s bookshop of children’s & illustrated books’ contains some books that are really old, from the time that cloth was used to make books. This shop is a delight to walk through. Signed editions, first editions – you name it and they have it, as long as the book is aimed at children. The following photo shows the first edition Enid Blyton books at Rose’s bookshop.

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Everything in this town screams books:

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A cinema that has been converted to a bookshop:

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Hay-on-Wye, my kind of a town.

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It is nice to see such thriving independent bookshops instead of the usual charmless book-chains.

Frank Gardner’s Far Horizons

Currently reading this book written by the BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner – ‘Far Horizons – Unusual journeys and strange encounters from a travelling life’. This book has given me itchy feet and looking back, the last time I travelled to a ‘off the beaten track’ destination was nearly five years ago. Having being educated in India, I was never really exposed to the concept of a gap year and that is one thing that I fervently wish that I could have done. To be young and travel to unusual places, not caring about what you ate, not being overly concerned about timings and schedules, meeting plenty of like-minded travellers, learning new languages – not caring about anything really – just living and travelling and experiencing new sensations. Surely not going on a gap year is like having a chunk of life unlived? Reading this book makes me want to book my next trip pronto – somewhere with a unique culture, a different language, unusual cuisine – Japan? Bhutan? Cambodia? Unfortunately the mundane duties of leading a “responsible” life beckon. The travelling will have to wait.

Michael Palin has written the foreword and he has this to say about Frank Gardner: ” Both of us are addicted to travel. We’ve been to roughly the same number of countries – over ninety, but less than a hundred – and often enough to many of the same places, though I greatly envy him Oman and Jordan and the islands of Sumatra and Socotra. He, like me, relishes the promise of a new journey to a new destination, preferably somewhere a little difficult to get to. We both love travelling in the back of pick-up trucks at the end of a hard day’s work, and on trains in which you can sit at the open door and watch the world go by. We have both eaten nasty things in nasty places and though, unlike him, I’ve never been attacked by a wolf or shared a swimming pool with a snake, I understand Gardner’s healthy suspicion of the natural world. Both of us appreciate the importance of having a sense of humour and not having a sense of self-importance.”