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Published: February 14th 2011
The hike was only a dozen steps old and already, William the Scot and I realised that we don’t have any water left for the rest of the first day. We were hiking the Simeon Mountains for 3 days so we packed enough water but our reserve stocks were with the mules taking another route. How could it be that we would be out of water after only 12 steps?
Simeon is 5 hours along a dusty bumpy bus north of Gondor. You can book a tour or just rock up and hope to join some others. We managed to join up with 6 - 4 Russians and a Belgium couple.
By skipping the tour and doing it ourselves it worked out very cheap for African hiking in a National Park. Getting a bargain would be one of a few positives I could take out from this experience. See my swollen glands I got from that bus ride from Lalibela moved towards the throat and I now had a dry throat that was like sandpaper scrapping against each other whenever I swallowed. So I wasn’t in the mood from the first morning. (It all really popped up that morning.)
The Russians (well mainly one) was very abrupt and had to bargain for everything. So he argued for 2 hours for this, for that and about a price of a mule so this got tiresome.
In the car on the way to the mules we could smell possible petrol fumes but nothing dramatic happened. When we arrived the door of the minibus slid open and one of our water bottles fell out of the car and must have landed on a rock. Penetrating the plastic, we now had a cracked bottle leaking out water. To save wasting water we filled up our current water bottles and discarded the cracked one. Problem solved we thought…
I take a swig when we start walking and I smell a scent of gasoline. Can you believe the luck! The petrol from the mini bus had leaked onto our water bottle, which then fell on a rock, cracking it, meaning petrol touched the water and then that was poured into our current water bottle.
Out of all the days to do it over 3000m up, I’m sick as a dog and the first day of 3 days hiking. The altitude restricted
my breathing causing me to snore every night and my clear unfit state didn’t help either. I am not sure if it was my situation but the hike didn’t impress me that much. It is a negative about travelling too much, places that are so highly recommended turn out to be ordinary.
It was winter, so the nights were pretty cold. I was prepared with 5 layers but the tent was too small and it didn’t zip up properly. William and I are tall people and so the two person tent didn’t leave much room. In fact our feet were dangling outside in the cold altitude all night. I found the route we walked average really especially the last day where we ended up just walking along the road. I really felt part of a national park that day!
I was meant to go up to Aksum and than wait around for Jesus’ Baptism festival in Gondor but I was bullshitted to about the bus to get there so I just went back to Gondor earlier and headed off to Sudan.
Gonder is the Camelot of Africa with castles, which were nothing special in comparison to others
around the world. European looking castles like this are unusual for Africa. The town is cleaner and more modern than Addis in first impressions and generally that’s the case.
Ethiopia is a different place for Africa. And that is so rare. East and Southern Africa only seem to be slightly different to one another. Culturally Ethiopia is a new world. They have a different calendar, read the time different. It is refreshing. Their music is different and its food has its moments.
It grows on you but the people do their best to piss you off. The begging, someone trying to rip you off, people helping you to get money off you. It is hard for me to recommend because of these annoyances but it is recommended because it is so different from the rest of Africa. Even though I didn’t really enjoy my time here I am man enough to accept that Ethiopia will find a way in my head when someone says where should I go in Africa? I wanted some culture and Ethiopia gave it to me.
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