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Published: February 5th 2020
We left Debark early hoping for some great views of the Simian Mountains and we were not disappointed but when you have mountains the roads are certainly more exciting.
The road out of Debark remained Tarmac but soon became a dirt track and soon literally drove down the side of a mountain on a road that isn’t quite as bad as the road of “death” in Bolivia but comes a close second. The views were spectacular and the driving certainly exciting albeit rather slow. By the end of the day we would not tire of amazing rock formations, lava and sandstone but perhaps at well over 100 hairpins some straight road would be good.
We continued on and got back on to tarmac and started heading close to the Eritrea border, however it is a relatively closed and quasi-communist so the idea of popping in wasn’t really practical.
We came to Askum which is the real heart of the Christian community in Ethiopia with some churches dating from the 6th
century. We stopped at the Church of St. Mary which has had a church on the site since the 6th
century and we were in luck with a wedding on which seemed to involve shouting, drums and bells. More interesting it is also supposedly home to the Ark of the Covenant but it is kept in a secure building surrounded by barbed wire in which one man lives but even he isn’t allowed to look at it! Finally we went to an ancient monastery where woman are still not allowed, don’t worry, you weren’t missing too much except for it being rather dark and very smelly.
We then headed on to stay at Agrigat our most northerly point in Ethiopia on the Eritrea border. We found a spot to camp in what seemed to be an unused premium hotel compound.
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