Everything changed immediately right after the boarder. What strikes you immediately are the many people here. Doesn’t matter where you go in Ethiopia, there are peoples everywhere. The women’s don’t have to wear scarfs here. That was a big change after all the muslim countries. From now on it was tidy up the hill. The children are the main problem here. Always when they see you they start crying: You, You, You or money, money money and Faranji (Foreigner). At the beginning that was funny for us. But after a short time it’s a right to the nerve. What a stark contrast to the wonderful Sudan!
In every village we were surrounded by 30- 50 children. They tried to tear things of our bicycles and followed us all the time. If they don’t get something, they throw stones. The misfortune happened on the third day: We already cycled the hole day, it was getting dark and we couldn’t find a place to camp. In a small wood, next to the road, we asked a farmer for camping. After a while he left and 3 teenagers showed up. For some few seconds I left my bike out of sight. When I turned around my backpack was open and three doses with food were missing. We took our bikes, went back to the road and stopped a bus. Completely done we arrived in Gonder. We were not even three days in this country and just wanted to get out now.
The next day we met Effrem, the owner of the Fasil Lodge. He apologized profusely to us and invited us to camp for free in his lodge. Two years ago he had a bike couple from Germany here. They were completely robbed and had at the end only their bikes left. Dominik, another cyclist from Germany (www.cologne-capetown.com/die-tour-ist-vorbei), his bike was stolen at Christmas near Addis Ababa. He then had to cancel his trip.
Effrem encouraged us to cycle to the sources of the Blue Nile. Thank You so much for your help! Unfortunately, we had a lot of troubles again. From now on we always slept in lodging for our own safety. On the second day we had to cycle two passes. When driving on the second pass, followed us a huge horde of children. The adults do nothing. They even laughed us out. Suddenly, I saw in my rear-view mirror how the kids wanted to pull the mattress out of Zoltàns bike. I stopped immediately and the kids ran a little of it. In the next moment a huge stone flew past my head. That was enough! With a stick in my hand i ran back to the village. Except my rage I was screaming at the parents. The people here have children without end, but are not able to educate them. There was not much and I would have processed a by idiots making mincemeat. What a goddamn shit country!
In Addis Zemen we decided to stop a Truck. In this country we no longer wanted to cycle. At the Manuhie Lodge we met Martin, Alexa and Susanne from Germany. With them we went the next day to the waterfalls of the Blue Nile.
The Blue Nile Falls (Tis Issat) are located about 30 km to the south. Nowadays the amount of water running through the falls is being reduced and regulated, since the construction of a hydroelectric power dam. Nevertheless, the Blue Nile Falls are still one of the main tourist attractions of Bahir Dar, especially during the rainy season when the water level rises and the falls become greater. All tourists have to pay five time more than the natives. This damned mess is withdrawn throughout all the land. I find this a baseless impertinence. What would happen in Europe if we treat our tourists the same way?!
After two days we left Bahir Dar by bus to Addis Ababa. The Selam Bus was very comfortable and our bicycles arrived in good condition. In Addis Ababa we celebrated a reunion of the BAND OF BROTHERS. Matthias and Marco arrived the next day and as well Michael. All of us, except Marco, decided to leave the country by plane. Zoltàn is flying to Egypt to recover there from the Ethiopians. I will not miss his snoring but his positive attitude certainly.
We talked all together about the reason of this aggressive people here in Ethiopia. The main problem from our point of view are the NGO’s and the United Nations. Many times we observed how the employees of these organizations went out of the car and then gave children sweets and pens. The children mostly just know some few words in English. Just enough to beg. In every single village you can see minimum one sign of a NGO. The people here are to work no longer accustomed himself. Only the wive’s are working hard. Without them this country would be completely destroyed. But the church with its fundamental belief and the corrupt government play a crucial role in. People are intentionally kept at a low level of education. In Sudan I’ve never seen so many organizations. But things are working there much better. Too much aid is definitely bad for a country.
We also visited some few museums in Addis Ababa. These are the only sights to see here in the city. Especially the Ethnological Museum I particularly liked. We get an insight into the history of the Civil War at the Red Terror Memorial Museum.
The Derg ruled Ethiopia from 1974 to 1987. Between 1975 and 1987, the Derg executed and imprisoned tens of thousands of its opponents without trial. In 1987 Mengistu Haile Mariam abolished the Derg, establishing the People’s Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. After years of warfare by a coalition of ethnic-based parties, Mengistu was overthrown in 1991.
I decided to travel a around the country by bus before leaving it. First I went to Harar. For centuries, Harar has been a major commercial centre, linked by the trade routes with the rest of Ethiopia, the entire Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and, through its ports, the outside world. Harar Jugol, the old walled city, was listed as a World Heritage Site in 2006 by UNESCO in recognition of its cultural heritage. According to UNESCO, it is „considered ‚the fourth holy city‘ of Islam“ with 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century and 102 shrines. The town was a disappointment for me. All the small streets stink enormous and many homeless people are leaning around. If this is to be a World Heritage Site then I am the Pope!
After one day I went back to Addis Ababa. There I met Henri and Clive again. We had seen each other already in Khartoum. Clive had to extend his Visa, Henri and I both needed a Visa for Kenya. On the Kenyan Embassy I met Andy from Germany. We decided to travel together to Lalibela. Everybody told us, that this must be a “must have seen“ in Ethiopia. First we went by bus back to Bahir Dar and the Menuhie Backpacker Lodge (www.facebook.com/manuhie.backpackers.lodge/?fref=ts). We stayed three days there before we continued towards Lalibela. The bus ride up there was a nightmare. Especially, the last part of the road from Gashena to Lalibela. This part is not paved. Therefore, the bus takes almost two hours for the 60 kilometers of the track.
Most of the things here in Ethiopia are builded by the Chinese. Everything made by China is mostly cheap and bad quality. Everybody knows that- except the Ethiopians. They make huge transactions with the Chinese and upset all thereby. Officially, Ethiopia is the only country in Africa which was never colonized. They are enormous proud about that. In their place, I wouldn’t be that at all. Nothing works and everything has to be imported from abroad. I also find the Agriculture scary. Most of the people are still working like in the stone age. A well-trained farmer could earn here with the right infrastructure a tenfold higher amount. No wonder reigns here famine! Education is the most important thing for a society. Here I’ve seen which devastating effects it can have if you neglecting this part.
The next day we wanted to visit the churches in Lalibela. The town is famous for the monolithic rock-cut churches. Ethiopia is one of the earliest nations to adopt Christianity in the first half of the fourth century, and its historical roots date to the time of the Apostles. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current church forms to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by Muslim leader, Saladin.
But right at the first church there was trouble. We stayed in the low town and there was no ticket office on the way to the churches. Immediately some men came running when we made our first photos. They wanted to see our ticket and were really aggressive as we could show none. Foreigners have to pay 50 USD for the ticket. That’s a lot of money. All of the churches are covered with ugly roofs. There was a check point for foreigners in the ticket office. All the natives don’t need this. This was the moment where we definitely had the snout full of this shit country! We decided not to visit Lalibela and left the next morning.
The bus ride back to Bahir Dar and Addis was the absolute horror. The people vomit and spit permanently into the bus. In addition, most of them had a shower for the last time probably using a year ago. The stench was unbearable. If never seen such a primitiv masses on all my travels!
We had to wait for our plane out of this nightmare in Addis Ababa for 8 more days. I was never so happy to leave a country. If all nations would treat their tourists just like the Ethiopians, we would have very soon another world war. Sometimes it is better to leave a country to its fate. Ethiopia is a good example for that. I’ll never ever come back here and recommend it to anyone ever to set a foot in this disaster!