When: 27th Sept- 14th Oct 2007
How I moved: Ethiopia is huge so I had to take 4 flights (flights fares). No buses are allowed to travel after 6.00 pm, hence any long-distance-bus leaves at 6.00 am (at least 5.30 am at the station to fight for the seat) and most of the travels take 2 days. Otherwise gathering a group you can ride your own jeep, but that's not my way.
Freezing or baking?: Nice mild weather (16C- 28C). Though in Dahar Bar and Dire Dawa warmed up, still bearable. Anyway most of the time cloudy and everywhere in the late afternoon it never missed a shower.
Where I slept: There's no lack of cheap guesthouses (3- 10 euro): even they promise you, don't count on the hot water (few times also the cold one in buckets) and on the 24h electric power. It'll happen to share the bed (but not the bill! ) with the bugs, bring your powder.
What I liked: Cheeeeeeap beeeeeeer!!!!! (0.5 euro/ bottle). I appreciated the Muslim- Cristian atmosphere in Harar and Lalibela with its surroundings won't disappoint you!
What I disliked: Hanging around in the towns can be a hassle and I ended up getting quite fed up: "Faranji, Faranji!!" (foreigner= white man) it'll echo constantly in your ears. Fighting for your seat on the bus at 5.30am it's not fun. I found the food terrible.
How much daily: If you have time to travel by bus, Ethiopia can be relatively cheap (15- 20 euro/day). Otherwise, with averagely 100 euro per flight, your budget'll soar, let alone renting your own vehicle.
Dangers/ hassles: "Faranji, Faranji (foreigner)!!"can be really unbearable, anyway the real danger will be your minibus to get smashed against something while rallying on the way.
What to bring: a sweater, bug/fleapowder, a small umbrella and a lot of patience
THE TRAVEL IN ETHIOPIA
Landed in Addis Ababa from Milan, with a stopover in Rome,
it has been a tough beginning of the travel. First of all no sign of my
backpack at the luggage claim and then I got kicked out from the Djibouti
embassy trying to apply for a visa. Counting on the Djibouti consulate
in Dire Dawa, I decided to proceed flying there (88euro, 1h).
I flew from Hargeisa to Addis Ababa and then to Gondar with
a stopover in Bahar Dar (100euro). I found Gondar greener than I thought,
and it turned out pleasant to walk around the hills to reach on foot places
like the Kweskam complex. Moreover it was quite surprising that, after
60 years, Italian architecture still survives in some of the nicest buildings
of the town.
I'm sorry to say, but for a traveller Ethiopians are more
a hassle than a help. Walking around means put up with an endless: "Faranji,
Faranji!! (white man)" I know there could be many justifications:
poverty, lack of education, just curiosity, mostly are kids
even agree with them, but at the end, it turns out so bothering, that
you think twice before wandering aimlessly. The worst places were Lalibela,
Addis Ababa and the Blue Nile waterfalls.
I was in Bahar Dar and by all means I wanted to get to Lalibela
by bus since I was fed up of getting planes. The previous day I went to
the bus station to buy the ticket, but, although I insisted, I was told
the ticket could be bought only on the bus.