Here in Colombia, there are lots of fairs and festivals to celebrate things… flowers, lights, kites, honey, European cinema, the green moon, tango and mango. You name it. (For a full calendar list, click here). Last week, I went to the Feria Del Libros (a fair just for books) in Bogota.
Before you think this is the wellie wearing, beer swigging, wet camping type of festival or bunting blowing in a summer’s day fair, then think again. Here they’re events exploding in light, colour, energy and always surrounded by food:
I haven’t been to many festivals in Colombia yet, but there are no tents in sight. It’s a day to night fiesta with obligatory Aguadiente and rumba. The Feria Del Libros was a slightly more sober affair, although if the sugar hit wasn’t enough to keep you going as you browsed the book stands, you could opt for the bar service instead to help wash down your bag of crisps:
The site for the Feria Del Libros was in the convention centre in Bogota. Think Earl’s Court filled with books. Yes, they take books seriously here….and anything else that has been honoured with a ‘festival’ or ‘fair’ occasion. So instead of book stalls, imagine aircraft carrier sized buildings crammed with books (in Spanish) from around the world.
Books are another item lumbered with high costs and taxes. They are a luxury here, so the feria offers the public books at reasonable prices for locals who end up filling their bookshelves in one quick supermarket sweep…like an excited office worker in the pub on a Friday night:
Again, the culture of Amazon, BOGOHP and second hand book shops is a far away memory here. And yes, before you reply on mass, this is a good case for a Kindle, which I have so far resisted.
I didn’t buy anything as I had already filled one 23kg suitcase full of books, but I did get to go to Brasil for 10 minutes:
Overall my experience of the feria didn’t disappoint. It finished last Monday. If I had written this post earlier, perhaps you could have gone too. Oh well, there’s plenty more festivals and ferias in the sea.