Lalibela to Hayk – Day 64

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Africa » Ethiopia
November 16th 2007
Published: November 28th 2007
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Hayk is a small town on the road south towards Adis Ababa.

To get there, some 180 miles, we had to retrace our tracks south from Lalibela, only some 40 miles of quite good road through lovely scenery, before reaching the dreaded China Road on the top of the plateau once again. We called it the China Road because the Chinese are building it - bless them.

It was back to misery driving again as we pressed on eastwards before descending the spectacular western wall of the Great Rift Valley to Waldiya. This was a drop of several thousand feet and the views which ever way we looked were stunning. We were hopeful of finding a better road southwards again, but no such luck! The dreaded Chinese were here too, but now culverts were the flavour of the day. Every single one was being repaired which meant a diversion off the road as frequently as we moved into top gear. What a tedious journey once again!

However we were following the wall of the Great Rift which towered to our right continuously and the views were heartening at least. We ascended slightly to Hayk, some 60 miles south of Waldiya, where our guide book showed a lake just to the north of the town. We turned off towards it hopeful of finding some sort of campsite. It was a stunning little lake, a mile or so across, with a peninsular on which was situated a monastery complex.

Outside the monastery gates was a grassed area leading down to the water’s edge. A lovely campsite! We asked a guard if we could camp there, to which he indicated “Yes”, so we set up camp. After half an hour or so, a whole troop of monks appeared, including the abbot who had a very stern expression. One, fortunately, spoke English and we discovered that they were a bit miffed that we had set up camp without their permission.

We explained we had done so in all good faith, and after much tugging of forelocks and a large meal of humble pie, all was smoothed over and they left us in peace. We were dreading the onslaught of kids but we pleasantly surprised only to have a few of them come and gawp at us, and after a while they became bored and, from then on, left us alone. The bird life was lovely, the views over the lake were also lovely, and once again we had our evening drinks before the pot-stew supper under the stars and moon. Only one snag - this place had no convenient bushes anywhere near to hand. But we managed somehow!

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