Friday, July 08, 2005

Elan Valley -> Hay-on-Wye -> Merthyr Tydfil







Drove from Aberystwyth to Hay-on-Wye via Devil's bridge and the beautiful Elan Valley reservoirs. Spent one day there and then another in Merthyr Tydfil.




Hay-on-Wye is the world's first booktown, reputedly with more second hand and remaindered books than anywhere else - a population of 1300 people and 39 bookshops. In an unusual show of restraint I only pick up about a dozen books in my 24 hours there. Bondi is incredibly tolerant as he is moved from bookshop to bookshop and plants himself comfortably in each foyer area as soon as I start scanning a shelf of books.

Made the acquaintance of Ross, a very well-travelled booklover and translator who now lives close to Hay, and who, after a few hours of conversation, offers me use of a cabin as base for my travels when I need it.

I'm actually staying at a B&B on the edge of town, which is in Herefordshire (ie England).

Jason, in Merthyr Tydfil (once the industrial heart of Wales) also offers me a base to travel from. A new angina medication being tested on the working stiffs of Merthyr had interesting erection-stimulating side-effects. In coming years, the combination of Viagra and spam would prove to be an irresistible combination.

The mosquito ringtone "Teen Buzz" also derives from Merthyr. Supposedly inaudible to those over 18, I can still hear it with ease some 25 years on.





We hiked with Bondi up the path to Corn Du, companion peak of Pen y Fan, highest point in the Brecon Beacons. It's a bit too warm for Bondi, and the combination of a restless tummy and vertigo preclude me from going right to the top. Back near the road we pass a large group of soldiers on some training exercise. They seemed to be terrified of Bondi. Poor dears.

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