Sunday, June 24, 2007


Hay-on-Wye is a small, picturesque town on the Welsh side of the English Welsh border. It's only claim to fame is the astonishing amount of 36 secondhand and antiquarian bookshops in or near Hay. Once a year they have a festival festival in cooperation with The Guardian. The books were only one reason for me, self-confessed bookworm, to come to this remote place. The other reason was the proximity of the Black Mountains and the Brecon Beacons National Park. I had come to walk with a group of like-minded people, I had never met before in my life.

The hotel was not in Hay itself, but on the other side of the river Wye in a small village called Clyro. It's an interesting place, called Baskerville Hall. Arthur Conan Doyle, a friend of the family, stayed in the house many times and developed the plot for the hounds of the Baskerville novel there. The family had asked him not to set the novel in Wales "to ward off tourists".

If you are not interested in books or maps, Hay will not hold your attention for very long. It has a clocktower...

The picture is misleading reading the weather condidions, so here is another one:

... a ruined castle...

... and that's it.

The real beauty is in the surrounding countryside. The following pictures were taken on the first two of our walks. I have lost the itenary, so I cannot say exactly were we went. If I find it again, I will add information. It has to be somewhere, don't think I binned it. But you never know. I do many stupid things these days. On the third day, it was pouring down (I am now 100% sure that my jacket is waterproof and that my trousers aren't; I might just as well have jumped into the pool fully dressed) and I didn't feel like taking any pictures.

Wales has many many sheep...

This little church sits in the middle of fields, no village is close by. You can get to it only by walking over the meadows and scaring the sheep. It is still used at harvest time for thanksgiving.

The guide called this a roundabout. There are stone benches in the middle, so we had lunch.

Day 2 was a Wye valley walk, longer than day 1 but without acclivity.
According to our guide's map, this is another country hotel:

A baby robbin robin, very trusting or very curious. Its parents could be heard chirping frantically in the bushes. They clearly felt that it was getting too close to this herd of humans.

I learned Welsh for library, but missed the live rugby...

Apart from the sheep, there are many other creatures great and small living in these mountains:

My fellow English walkers called this lamb's skin, which is the translation of Arnica. And once you have touched it, you know it is a very fitting name. But isn't it supposed to have yellow flowers???

As I said, no pictures from day 3. We actually cut the route short, because of the rain.

I spent the last day in London and visited the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy. I could have bought a number of the pieces on display, but champagne taste, beer money. So I left empty handed. Celebrity spotting of the day: Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen standing right next to me, both of us checking our blackberries, a bizarre modern still life.

Drinks with collegues in the evening and one last try to have dinner at Govinda's. Closed again. I will give up. If Krishna does not want me to enjoy veggie delights cooked in his name, I will go elsewhere. Well, I did. I came back home.


At June 25, 2007 7:37 am, Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

Thank you so much for lovely photos - makes my mouth water, as I am way overdue for a return trip to the 'Old Place'. Great report of what sounds a marvellous trip.

At June 30, 2007 6:15 am, Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

I came back! And enjoyed the words and photos all over again. :)

At July 21, 2007 11:43 am, Blogger BookClover said...

I love your pictures!


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