Dora Bitsi

Dora Bitsi

Nov 20 2014

Bahir Dar and Gondar : The glorious North of Ethiopia!

The day we left Lalibela for Bahir Dar we had to change bus twice to finally arrive to our destination after 8hrs. Patience is the key once again here in Ethiopia.

Bahir Dar is for Ethiopians their Riviera. The murky waters of Lake Tana give to Bahir Dar a completely different character! People here are more relaxed and we could see that easily from the amount of numerous cafes and juice bars stationed along the beautiful boulevard with the numerous palm trees.

Walking along the busy pavement with the crowd, we were wondering why someone would prefer Addis to here since it could be said that Bahir Dar was the most beautiful city we had seen so far on Ethiopian land.

Elpis eating his favourite peanuts in front of Tana and me enjoying our looong walk!
So we stayed 3 nights there to get some good rest! We were waking up and had breakfast across the road, omelet with bread and the spiced sweet tea. It is a fact that for sure Ethiopians must have an addiction to sugar since the waiter brought us the small cup filled up to the middle almost with sugar and the rest was the tea!!

Ghion hotel was one of the places you could have a drink next to the quiet breeze of the lake and had also access to the Internet. From there we discovered that there was actually a path that goes all around the lake!

So in the afternoon when the sun is less hot we set out to explore! As it seemed this route was also very popular for the young people as well since there were walking up and down men and women all chatty and playful. The banks of the lake were surpsrisingly green and huge old trees were coming just out of the water next to the papyrous plants and the reed. Looked like an ideal spot also for dates and indeed we spotted some  romantic get togethers.

At some deserted point as we walked north there was a group of boys and also men naked cleaning up themselves in the lake! I was shocked however they seemed to not care at all if someone was looking at them! Other than this the walk was uneventful until we reached a sort of restaurant and sat for injera and shiro. As usually a friendly Ethiopian came to ask us where we are from. We told them we are Greeks and then he laughed saying he had a greek friend and he was saying to him all time “ai sihtir!” , a funny swear word, so we burst laughing!!

Other than this, we had  no money nor time to visit the famous Tana Monasteries in the middle of the lake. You can go there by boat as a one day trip.Time flies and we had to move on!
The Castle of Fasilides- Fasil Ghebi
Founded by Emperor Fasiledes, Gondar was the Capital city of Ethiopia in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Founder of Gondar, Emperor Fasiledes built there his Palace in 1632 and the Royal Enclosure would then be the place from where the Kings would reign for the successive generations. 

From the bus station it was not dificult to reach the castle area .The city looked very traditional  and we were positevely surprised. Students in their uniforms and old women wrapped in their white shauls were walking in its small cobbled streets that streched through stoned arches and low houses. 

There were also a lot of churches hidden in the corners with some homeless people sleeping outside of them. Some in the street with cartons and blankets and some in what looked like tin boxes elevated from the ground!We had seen these before but always thought they were cupboards! It could not fit in our minds that people could live like sardines…

After wandering for a while,we reached our small but clean looking pension style hotel… where we took some rest before starting doing some serious laundry fearing that the bed bugs might have infested our clothes as well!

That was easier said than done with the owner shutting down access to water throughout the day so we had to ask him to open it again and again!

It was out last day in Ethiopia and even though we an interesting (and tiresome) adventure  we want to end it with a nice meal! The Camelot Cafe-Restaurant looked like a typical tourist trap on the outside however we had there our last injera meal in a very nice environment with local band playing Ethiopian tunes after 7!

Our memories of the fun and hard times we went through this last month in Ethiopia were coming to our minds as we were sitting there. Definitely our trip would not be the same without the experience of Ethiopia!! 

Next task crossing the border to neighbouring Sudan!

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