Travelling to Hay (Hay Festival Part 1)

I wanted to go to Hay-On-Wye since the first time I had heard about it.

The most bookish village of England, they called it, with its 25 bookshops and 2 bookbinders. Apart from the fact that it’s in Wales, my sources had it quite right: it’s book-lovers paradise.

If you add to this that Caitlin Moran was talking at the Hay Festival, then… well… I couldn’t possibly stay home, could I?

PART 1: I started this post with the intention of writing about my trip to Hay and the Festival. 300 words in, I realised there’s too much to talk about it, so I’ll call this PART 1.

So, on Monday 30th of May, I left home to go and get my rented car. Right from the start I should have known that travel was going to be the main issue of the day.

For those who are not familiar with Bristol, UK, I’ll put it this way:

ME: Let’s not pass by Place A, I don’t know the road well enough, we might get lost. Let’s go through B.

ME: (halfway through B) This is taking a long time. Let’s set the navigator and get a shorter route.

ME: (15 minutes later) Look, we are passing by Place A. (O_0)

I’m not even getting into all the bureaucratic mess we had to deal with at the car rental agency (let’s just say I ended up using the agency’s PC in desperation…).

We leave Bristol following the map I printed from Google, since I decided that the phone would run out of battery much more quickly than printed paper. Unfortunately, I hadn’t considered that my phone is a much better navigator than my partner.

We end up in Monmouth for no particular reason.

It’s past lunchtime, when we finally park the car in Hay, firmly convinced that there are way too many reasons to turn our life into a multi-millionaire sit-com business.

We spend the day in Hay and even manage to take the right road to the Festival, when the time approaches. I buy three books (‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley, ‘Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke, and ‘Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, said the Sloth’ by Eric Carle).

https://www.hayfestival.com/portal/index.aspx?skinid=1&localesetting=en-GB
Hay Festival Site – Photograph by Marsha Arnold

The wind is blowing and my belly is full of ice-cream and pastrami sandwich, which make for a bad combination. I put on my jacket and I take shelter against the wind, hoping to get through the night without having to sprint to the toilet (spoiler alert: I made it!).

Waiting to cross the street and dive into the purple Festival atmosphere, the widest smile is spreading on my face…

— This post is getting to long. Have some tea, maybe a biscuit, or a nap. I’ll be back tomorrow for Part 2 and Caitlin Moran’s talk!

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