Blogs from Ethiopia, Africa

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Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region July 3rd 2014

My friend Hannah and I spent a night in Sinkata to visit a friend of hers, check out a cluster of rock-hewn churches nearby, and then in the morning run to Hawzien to check out another church there. The town itself looks more like a pueblo in an arid region in Mexico than in northern Ethiopia. The Peace Corp volunteer there said that they have no water eight months of the year. Most of the way to Mekele (2 hours by minibus) and to Hawzien (40 minutes by minibus) is paved now, but the main road in town seems to be the last step in this process. Once it is done (a year or two?), Sinkata might grow some decent restaurants and places to stay. For the time being, it looks like a war zone. After ... read more
Sin Kata
Farm near churches
Petra and Paulos Melehayzenghi

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region July 1st 2014

I stayed in Mekele with my friend Hannah, a Peace Corps volunteer. It was by far the most comfortable and modern city I've visited in Ethiopia, so it was the perfect place to relax for five days. I'll write much more later, but I've added a few photos below.... read more
Axumit wine with Coke
coffee ceremony
Hannah on narrow market alley

Africa » Ethiopia » Tigray Region June 28th 2014

It's worth it to stop in Axum for a few hours, though its reputation as a tourist destination is generally disappointing. The entire town seems to be under major construction. After weaving our way through giant trucks, rock breakers, and heavy machinery, we came to the ruins, and one aggressive tout. The monuments were impressive, though many of them have collapsed. The underground section was closed while we were there, though it looked interesting. We spent maybe twenty minutes looking around and then walked toward the bus station for some coffee and lunch. The main road is actually quite nice and peaceful. Once the construction is complete in a couple of years, Axum might be a more pleasant place to spend some time. I'll write more later; there are several photos below.... read more
rock breakers
Amazing bayunet (sp?) dish
fallen monuments

Africa » Ethiopia June 28th 2014

We stopped in this town on our way from Axum to Mekele. There were no other tourists there, so we received a lot of attention -- even more than in other parts of Ethiopia. We arrived in late June, just before a 'whipping holiday,' as one called it, on July 5th. It was disconcerting to walk and run though the streets as children practiced their whip cracking technique, nearly hitting us at times. It sounded like there were fireworks going off all around us. One man stood on the red cliffs above, cracking his whip and sending an echo through the valley. We spent two nights in a cheap and friendly pension near the main road. While we'd hoped to do some hiking in the area, we mainly went for some runs around the edges of ... read more
Mountains just before Abi Aday
Market
Beautiful Special Foul

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Simien Mountains June 27th 2014

I still have a lot more to write about this, but here is a rough draft with lots of photos: Spending some time in the Simien Mountains was a top priority for me in Ethiopia, as it was the first thing a fellow traveler had told me about the country a few years ago. Unfortunately, late June is the beginning of the rainy season, so it wasn't the best time to go. Our group endured thunderstorms throughout the day, limited views of the mountains, and several river crossings, the last of which made it impossible to summit Ras Dashen. Below is a description of the five day trek to summit Ras Dashen. I highly recommend Bradt's Guide to Ethiopia for details and more description, but it pretty much follows what we did. Also, url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7tsWnTFX4Ig&feature=youtu.be&list=PLEvjtUTFZP3Aym0Z1olXFsI9cBITZVzFfhere is a ... read more
Guards
Group with guide
Waterfall into Chasm

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Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Bahir Dar June 21st 2014

After a day of walking around Addis second-guessing my options as to how I'd get to Bahir Dar, I finally found an Ethiopian Airlines office that would honor my discount without a round trip ticket from and back to Canada. This meant that the flight to Bahir Dar would be 60 dollars instead of 150. After an hour delay at the airport and a somewhat stormy flight, I arrived in Bahir Dar at about 8PM. It was still much warmer outside than in Addis, and I was surprised to see that the streets were lined with palm trees. My guide book (Bradt Travel Guide) didn't seem to recommend anywhere they had listed, but some Peace Corps volunteers recommended to stay in this hotel: NGG Lounge www.ngghotel.com While it's a large institutional-looking building, it's well constructed and ... read more
man and herd
injera and wat
lentils

Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar June 21st 2014

Traveling from Bahir Dar to Gondar is a shocking change in scenery: we went from a muggy, tropical atmosphere to a mountain town in just three hours. We barely missed the 7AM bus, but after a fist fight or two between bus station touts, we found a minibus and headed to the foothills for 60 birr per person (about $3, and the same price as the bus would have been). I woke up with a bit of a stomach bug, so the winding rode made for a difficult ride. I started to feel more and more ill along the way, and by the time I arrived in Gondar I was running in and out of the bathroom every few minutes at the house of a Peace Corp volunteer friend of Hannah's. But after a day of ... read more
Saw
Coffee with Ladies
Me on Castle Steps

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region June 10th 2014

10 June: Ethiopia Warning!! If you look at the photos for the post, please be aware there are skeletons. Once we were checked into our hotel, we went to ask the desk about things to do. They recommended for dinner to go to this local restaurant for traditional food and they also had the traditional dancing. They said to go around 8pm so we had about three hours to kill. Since we were already hungry we decided to have a munchies at the hotel. They lead us to the top floor where they had an open room with balcony to see out over the city. It was a great view. When then ordered fresh juice of strawberries and some French fries. We sat around for a while and enjoyed the view until the came up with ... read more
View from our hotel in Addis Ababa
View from our hotel in Addis Ababa
View from our hotel in Addis Ababa

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region » Addis Ababa » Arada June 8th 2014

After a nice farewell in Singapore with Nandi seeing me off and Halle picking me up with her mother and sister to see me off, my evening flight started off well. Headed to Bangkok where we picked up more passengers and then headed on to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where I met Samantha. From there our tour guide picked us up and we headed for Debrecen libanos. The drive was about two hours. Along the way it was interesting to see the cities and towns. Many houses are built with small tree trunks and then mud/clay. Many women were carrying her bags on their backs, many donkeys also carrying heavy loads. There were many farms with sheep, horse carriages, sheep, and cows. Many being bearded along the roads or country side. When we finally reached Debrecen libanos, ... read more
Christian monastery
Valley
Ethiopian bird

Africa » Ethiopia » Addis Ababa Region » Addis Ababa April 7th 2014

After 6 weeks in the Southern Africa region, it was an exciting prospect to be changing things up. Daniel, Phil and I were on our way to Ethiopia. Granted every country in Southern Africa was unique in several ways, but at the same time there was still a regional constant between them all. Aside from the fact that we were still in Africa, this constant was no more upon our arrival to Ethiopia. Daniel was the catalyst for this leg of the trip as his parents live in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, and his mother is the number-2 at the Swedish Embassy there. Graciously, Daniel and his parents invited Phil and I to stay in their home for a week and we gratefully obliged. Typically, Ethiopia wouldn’t be the luxurious stretch of one’s travels, ... read more
The Blue Nile Gorge near Debre Libanos
I salute you Ethiopia - watching over the palace at En Toto
really cool Colobus monkeys in Menagesha




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