Hay-on-Wye, ”the town of books”, has been on my list of places to visit for ages. It was probably one of the first Welsh destinations I ever did put on my list. Just the thought of a town filled with book shops – how could anyone not want to visit that?
And I’m not kidding when I say that the town is filled with bookshops. There are over 30 bookshops in this wee town with only around 1,500 people living there. You can figure out the people to bookshop ratio out yourself, I’m sure.
The shops come in all shapes and sizes and some specialise in a specific field. There’s even an “Honesty Bookshop” at Hay Castle where you just go browsing the bookshelves and leave the money in a box. You can get all kinds of books, from just a few pence up to several thousand pounds.
Every year this town hosts the Hay Festival of Literature & Arts. This is the time when writers and book lovers come together to enjoy books and everything about them. The festival ended just 2 weeks before I was there and in several windows you could still see “Kindle free zone” signs in honour the book trading of the town.
I didn’t buy any books while I was there, though, having a week of travel ahead of me and only a small suitcase, which I intended to bring as hand luggage on my flight home. Instead, I bought a pair of handmade earrings. Yes, they do have more than just books!
So what’s the verdict of this place? If you like books, and especially second-hand bookshops, there would be absolutely no reason why you wouldn’t want to visit this place. So what are you waiting for?