Destination: Lalibela

After an extra day’s preparation, our wonderful 3 month stay in Gondar came to a close. We got back on our freshly oiled & prepared bikes, headed down the hill and out of the city early in the morning before the heat. The temperature was reasonably cool, but as we looked across the mist soaked valley of Gondar we knew it wouldn’t be long before heat set in. Sun cream remained a key essential; despite the cooler temperature caused by the altitude (2,133m), the radiation from the sun is actually stronger so it doesn’t take long to “rouge up”.

On the first day we encountered two fairly hefty climbs (the latter required an injection of Kendal Mint cake) before arriving in Addis Zemen. I found the second climb particularly challenging, especially given that it was our first day back on the bike for 3 months. Ideally I’d have liked an easier re-introduction to cycling, but being in mountainous Ethiopia – no chance!

The next day we continued heading in the direction of Bahir Dar until we hit Werete, where we turned off onto the road for Debre Tabor, approximately 40 kms ahead. The road smoothed itself up a gradual hill, but these gradual mounds soon turned into hills and then mountains. However, as we were to experience over the next few days, the geology over this section of road is only, sadly, part of the difficulty.

You, You, You!

The other, quite considerable difficulty is the children that line the road. Over the next few kms, if you’re cycling this road (or indeed any part of Ethiopia) you will become very familiar to the following phrases “You, You, You!”, “Ferenji, Ferenji, Ferenji!”, “You, Ferenji”, “Pen, Pen, Pen”, “Give Me Pen!”, “Give Me Exercise Book!”, “Give, Give Give”, “Highland [Water], Pen, Highland, And [One] Birr!”, “Seten [Give]! Seten!, Seten!”

You won’t get these phrases just once either; you will get them constantly as you cycle in all matter of creative combinations and permutations. Sometimes politely, other times shouted at you. At first you just shrug it off by politely saying sorry, nothing to give “Yelem” (there is nothing), or “Yikarta” (excuse me / common word for sorry) – but after a while even saying these words can be tiresome. A phrase you can use if you’re particularly tired is “exire yis’teleney” which translates as “may God give to you”. This often works, but not always – though I tried to use it sparingly.

When you’re able to get good speed on the bike, it’s generally much less of a problem (except when the kids try to grab stuff off your bike); but when you’re toiling up a hill and there’s about 10 kids all asking – it can become very tiring…until eventually it becomes annoying. Sadly stone throwing does happen, but you can often spot the culprits in advance and tell them off before they do anything; but often they’ll still throw the stone at you regardless! Lovely.

And so we kept pedalling; a serious climb was encountered heading up to Debre Tabor; I’m not sure exactly how high it was but at the end I was laying on the pavement cradling a small packet of butter tablet that I’d had shipped out in the earlier Aid Package. Our Hotel, which Dan had found, was only about 1/2km away; but it was up a hill and I was completely empty. Eventually, after counting all the paving slabs on the way up, I made it to the hotel. To my sheer joy the hotel had hot showers and even BBC News. I devoured two main courses at dinner, quaffed coke like a Hummer and then slept very well before waking early the next morning to get ready for the off.

Despite a difficult cycle, we had passed beautiful scenery; from the smaller hills to the West we moved into the mountains towards the East. Mountains really are mountains in Ethiopia, but the roads are good; passing baboons is great fun and the views from the top are spectacular. There’s also quite a few of the old Derg tanks littering the road; the Derg was a military junta whom took power in Ethiopia in 1974 after ousting Haile Selassie. The violent reign of the Communist Derg thankfully came to an end in 1987.

So the next day we continued the ups and downs (mainly ups), eventually making it around 10km short of Nefas Mewcha where we camped behind a mud brick house with the agreement of the owner (whom the next morning we gave 40BIRR as a thank you). Working out the tip/thank you is often difficult in Ethiopia – but I generally steer for the lower value as any money is a lot to rural dwellers.

Shortly after snuggling into our sleeping bags (it was cold up there), I was asked out of the tent by a Policeman. After getting out of the tent I soon realised we were completely surrounded by police.

Having cycled through Egypt where generally the Police are annoying (when you stop), part of me was expecting them to move us on. But to our relief they didn’t; they were very friendly, just checked what we were doing before wishing us a good night. In fact, I suspect the police asked the owner of the house to ensure we were safe, as we woke the next morning to find him asleep outside the house. Either that or a domestic, but I’m almost certain the Police asked him to. We were grateful either way…

We headed through Nefas Mewcha (administrative centre for Lay Gayint), where sadly my Ethiopian mobile phone was stolen. In a brief 10 second moment, I left open my “Captains Chest” (front pannier) to retrieve my Letherman Multi-tool so I could open a cold bottle of Pepsi. Rather frustratingly, in that 10 second moment the sticky hands of a street-kid also entered the Chest, and it was gone; bummer. Thankfully I had another phone (with my UK SIM card in it), but still, it was annoying.

After Nefas Mewcha we swept through a stunning gradual downhill section, before heading upwards again, past an amazing Orthodox church and then up, up, up until we got to Debre Zebit where we ate some wonderfully tasty bread, followed by Injera & enkulal (egg).

We rolled a little further down the road, which from then onwards is more of a gentle up and down, before staying the night in Orkaie. We watched a few games of Ethiopian Carrom (a pool like game played without cues where the objective is to knock down three pawns in the middle of the table), before retiring with a Pepsi to cook noodles and then sleep. The next morning we headed through the slightly flatter, but still up and down terrain hoping at least to get to the junction where the road turns off for Lalibela at Gashena.

Unexpectedly, we made it there really quickly; before lunchtime in fact. Dan didn’t even realise the turning was there but thankfully had stopped for a Pepsi and dabo (bread) before I caught him up about 15 minutes later.

So the left-hand turn to Lalibela was before us; we knew this part was going to be much harder and, sure enough, it was. The first 42km are piste (rock/rubble) so the bikes were bouncing around on the road. I took pressure out of my tires (from 65psi to around 45/50psi) to ease the load on the bike (and pain on by backside); it improved the grip and definitely seemed to help. The first part was downhill but in Ethiopia what goes down also goes up, so before long we were back on the slow uphill.

At the first village along the way we stopped for a Coke and managed to attract the attention of the entire village, whom in typical Ethiopian style all stood around having a good look at us; they’re just curious of course, but in the heat when you’re tired you just want peace. With a small amount of English from some locals and our small Amharic we were able to strike up simple conversation – but we were pretty tired so conversation was “basic”.

Stones turned to rocks

After 30 minutes and two soft drinks each, we headed off where we were met with the worst the kids would throw at us, literally. We left the village with the usual attention of a celebrity, waving and smiling at the kids. They threw a few stones, thanks very much, before we entered a switch back and went downhill reasonably rapidly. At this point the kids threw rocks at us; which is immensely dangerous. Dan, who’s normally pretty relaxed in these situations, unleashed a barrage of “Oi” before marching up the hill like a livid headmaster who’s just about to expel the entire school. They ran away (of course); he waited (to make a point), but generally there’s very little you can do. But that said, in my opinion it’s important to make it clear that this type of behaviour is simply unacceptable; so it’s right we make a point of it.

I’ve often read (and heard) of other ferenjis (foreigners) getting so annoyed they end up getting into a full stone throwing battle with the kids! Thankfully we didn’t resort to war tactics, but limits were pushed and our patience brought to near the line.

I’ve long and hard thought about why it is they do it, but I think the reasoning comes from a few factors. Stone throwing is part of Ethiopian culture; parents will throw (or threaten to throw) stones when there’s simply too many kids around (like when we rock up at a shop for a Pepsi.) The kids (who almost always herd the cattle and livestock) also use stones to keep the animals together and from eating crops.

The constant pestering for items (particularly money, pens and exercise books) can seem cute at first…but it’s continual and, in my optional, sadly born out of badly handled foreign aid. Ethiopia has had a lot of foreign aid – and rightly so because the country has been dealt particularly awful and difficult events in just recent history alone. But through this constant giving a dependency has been born; a dependency where most Ethiopians see Ferenjis as simply people who will always give them something – they just expect that’s the way it is. When you don’t give they feel annoyed; in their eyes simply because you have water or money, they feel its right that you should give it to them. “You’re rich therefore you give to me” is a common comment you’ll hear. Giving is something that naturally you’ll want to do, but lessons through cycling Ethiopia bare evidence that it should be done in a culturally aware and responsible way – preferably through local organisations (like Yenege Tesfa) or schools…not individual handouts simply when someone asks.

So it’s a difficult one; it can be tiring but the approach I took was to always be firm (sometimes very firm!) but give nothing, because giving anything only makes the matter worse. It’s kind of a case for being cruel to be kind; but the reality is these attitudes need to change. I know many cyclists & tourists (and have read about even more) who avoid Ethiopia in part because of this behaviour; so it’s in everyone’s interest to deal with it. Tourism could be enormous in Ethiopia; as big as Kenya if not bigger (in my opinion). Tourism brings money; lots of it.

Anyway, speech over with we continued en route to Lalibela. As we prepared to camp about 40km from the city, we experienced another feature of Ethiopia; there are people everywhere! Even if it’s getting dark and you’re up a hill away from the road, someone will see you and the “spider web” of communication will spread until a group of people come to pay you a visit.

But on this occasion, the kind chap who’s name I forget came to tell us that it was “dangerous” to camp where were had opted. In fact I doubt it was dangerous at all, but they were concerned and told us a there was a small village, Girany Amba, only a few km away. We headed off, up hill and kindly asked the folks to go ahead of us as we were a bit tired of all the attention. But afterwards we got chatting, and when we approached the village they kindly offered for us to stay in their house. Thank you!

We entered up a concrete step and through the metal front door; the only light was from a candle and a coffee ceremony was being prepared quietly inside. We sat on small stools; they offered us Coke and even some injera which was wonderful. Dan & I were actually pretty tired, but grateful for the hospitality we stayed up to talk with the family. Their house also seemed to function as a social commune for the village and not before long the headmaster of the local school came in, as did a teacher.

Water & Sanitation

Later they asked if we’d like to visit the school the next day; it was holiday for them so the school would be empty. Knowing we only had about 40ks to do the next day, we could afford a later start so we happily accepted the invitation, retired to our tents to wake early(ish) the next morning.

We headed over to Mesai Dabo School. Being the only school in the Village (and main school in the area) it had 6 classrooms (though only 3/4 in action). All were decorated with learning materials, phrases and educational tools. The classrooms get very full, accommodating up to 30/50 children in a relatively small space. But still, the classrooms and school had a very friendly feel and you really felt education was strongly promoted here.

They had areas decorated with the national anthem, phrases and mottos adorned the walls; the Ethiopian & Amhara flags flew with pride (though not today as they’re only flown on school days)…but nevertheless, I’m sure the kids would have been very proud to go to school here.

But a key problem was the toilet & sanitary area. The toilet block, which had separate areas for boys, girls & teachers was lacking water; excrement lined the floor and the general aroma of the building not a bouquet you’d want to promote.

Nearby was a river, the spring and source of which was just about 100 meters from the toilet block. Their plan was to install and pump for the spring and tank for the toilet block so they could offer flushing facilities, alongside a sink to wash hands afterwards. The local municipality is able to offer a truck that extracts the waste material away (from within the sewage tank), so that side at least was covered.

Dan and I discussed the situation; we both agreed this was a potential project for Better Life Cycle. We left the school, but made a promise that if they could put a proposal together, including an idea of costs, where to source the materials and local man power, then we’d discuss further. Dan is due to revisit the area in March when his mum comes out to Ethiopia, so hopefully by then they will have had a chance to think the proposal through in more detail.

There are orphaned children at the school, as well as children with a secure family home. But with a small amount of the Better Life Cycle funds we believe we’d be able help this school not only achieve better sanitation, but also contribute towards exercise books and school materials, all of which can be sourced locally.

So a project for the pipeline, but a project we are hopeful, excited and positive about.

Lalibela…almost there…

The journey then continued towards Lalibela. The kilometres ticked, the road as ever up and down. We cycled over sharp rocks, sand & dust blew in our faces from the passing busses; the dry surroundings offered little in the way of shade from the intense heat. But to our sheer delight when we reached the top of another hill, the road about 2km away wasn’t white, nor rocky; it was tarmac. We had reached the point where the piste track meets the road coming from Lalibela airport. From that point onwards we had tarmac, and what a joy it was to be back on the black stuff.

A comical moment occurred during my initial 100m of the tarmac. In joy I shouted “I Love You, I Love You!” only for a local cow herder to hear me, partly think I was talking to him and reply “I Love you too!” 🙂

We meandered our way upwards before stopping under the shade of a tree to cook noodles with water from the stream. As ever we had an audience of onlookers, not to mention some cattle that paid us a visit and also drank from the stream. But rested and packed with carbohydrates, we headed up the hill.

The hill, as ever, was a mountain; the severity of the slope increased before a horrifically tiring switchback that took us to the plateau higher up. From there the road continued to climb but at a much slower pace. The sun was setting, the temperatures dropped and we headed towards Lalibela. Slightly downhill then uphill again; after navigating a fringe town and going around a cliff head – before us shone the lights of Lalibela. We got closer and then took a wrong turning before being helped by street kids who kindly showed us the correct way through the cobbled alleys.

We settled on Seven Olives hotel, but with a higher than expected price, we had to negotiate and haggle down.

The hotel was not without its incident of course. Lalibela is a popular tourist destination; ferenjis flock here from far and wide to see the staggeringly amazing rock-hewn churches (of which there are many).

As Dan and I chatted outside the hotel, a ferenji came out of the reception and fainted; ‘ello. Dazed and confused, he got up and staggered forward; I decided to help him and he fainted again. I managed to lower him down, talk to him before he insisted that he wanted to go back to his room. I helped him back and that was the end of it, so I thought.

A moment later whist chatting to other ferenjis who were overlanding, I looked down at my legs and to my horror realised that the sick ferenji clearly had a bad case of diarrhoea. So much so that it had squirted out of his trousers and onto my leg when he fainted (bowel control clearly on neutral at that point). Gravity had taken hold and it had dribbled down my leg and into my shoe. Nice. So I had arrived completely knackered in Lalibela and someone shits on my leg; Halleileuiyah!

I was embarrassed; I tried to twist my leg and conceal the unfortunate mess from the ferenjis I was talking to, but clearly they had noticed. The hotel owner, also a little embarrassed, came over with some water to help wash (squirt) it off.

But every cloud or slither of sewage has a silver lining; the event helped our bartering and we agreed to stay at a discounted rate. To be honest though, I felt sorry for the ferenji who ironically was a medical student; he must have known what happened. Oh well, we had made it – time for a shower and touch of sanitisation!

Disappointingly, the next day I was ill. I’m not sure from what, but I think it was a mixture of things. Possible mild food poisoning from what I ate the night before, a reaction from drinking the stream water (despite it being boiled), mild sun stroke and sheer exhaustion. I was knackered, utterly knackered. I lay in bed like an old man, muscling only enough energy to have a shower that evening.

The next day we had planned to leave, but given my sickness we stayed on to ensure we visited the wonderful monolithic rock hewn churches of Lalibela (also known as the 2nd Jerusalem). In response to the capture of Jerusalem in 1197 by Muslims, Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela vowed to build a new Jerusalem in Roha, the town now called Lalibela. Much of the layout, building names and geological items mimic those in Jerusalem. The river, for example, is known as the River Jordan.

Bete Giyorgis (Church of St George) was my favourite visit; a thirteenth century Church hewn into the rock in the shape of a Cross. Lalibela is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bete Giyorgis is often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World – just to give you an idea of how amazing it is.

Thoughtful Danny

Earlier that day, a thoughtful Dan approached me with a question; in all honestly I partly knew it was coming. “Kenny”, he opened, “what would you say if I said I was thinking of returning to Gondar after Addis…and not come to Mombasa?” I sat down; clearly we needed to talk a few things through.

Such decision didn’t just affect me, it also affected Veronica & Eve, both of whom had already committed & booked to come out to cycle from Mombasa (Kenya) to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Dan was already planning on returning to Gondar after the New Year, but returning early meant breaking a commitment.

Naturally Dan had been weighing this up for some time; it was clearly a very difficult decision, but the draw of Nigisti and all the work at Yenege Tesfa had, in truth, temporarily taken Dans focus off the cycling and onto the voluntary work to be done in Gondar. In Yenege Tesfa Dan had found a project which he was wholly involved in; we both were, but Dan’s relationship with Nigisti multiplied the attachment and deepened the involvement.

The Home for Tomorrow project and involvement with the town & community was a real focus for Dan. He left Gondar feeling like he had only just started work there; departure was premature and there was a lot more he wanted to do.

My support for Dan, of course, did not wane in that moment. Dan is the person, best friend and 6ft, blue eyed, bouf haired nutcase who ultimately inspired me to do the cycle. For sure the scenario had changed somewhat to what we initially scoped, but it was never set in stone; such an adventure is likely to have twists and turns along the way…and no doubt there will be more before I roll into Cape Town. Solo cycling did not daunt me, in some respects it’s more rewarding, but at the same time it’s great to share the experience.

I knew Dan faced a tough decision; people were sadly going to be let down, but if his heart was in Gondar and Dan was convinced it’s the right decision, then I support that, 100%.

Our next stage plan was finalised; we’d cycle to Addis where we’d separate; Dan back to Gondar whilst I’d head south through Ethiopia towards the border with Kenya at Moyale.

Destination: Addis Ababa (via “Mount Sinai”)

So the next day, having struggled down the dirt track to get here, we decided to get a minibus back to Weldiya. So off we set, bouncing down the track in our white minibus wondering just how we had cycled the other way.

Back on the tarmac we meandered down towards Weldiya – an epic decent that was simply stunning, but in the back of our minds we duly noted that we’re only going down to have to cycle back up.

We strapped up the bikes at Weldiya, used the Dashen Bank ATM (Dashen Bank has many ATMs throughout Ethiopia that accept Visa/MasterCard) and wired money to the hotel in Lalibela as we didn’t have enough cash to pay for the bill at the time. We set off; we hoped to get a few kms under our belt before resting.

Just after sunset we managed to find an old shack; we hauled the bikes up the hill towards it and setup inside. A while later there was a knock at the door. A local informed us it was his shed. Ahh…but there was no matter; he was happy for us to stay there; we were grateful.

The next morning we awoke with a small audience of folks watching as we prepared breakfast and re-strapped the bikes before the off. Into to drizzle we peddled, onwards and upwards towards Wichale. For lunch we stopped in Hayk (Amharic for Lake); we found a cracking restaurant on the right-hand side as you enter the town. We ate like kings and were invited for coffee at a local coffee house; we duly accepted, topped up our caffeine levels before heading out…and uphill.

The heavens opened and we got soaked, but it was one of those times when we really didn’t care. Despite going uphill, we were making progress. The sun set and it was dark, thundery, wet & cold, but we pushed on in order to get to Dessie – which we did at around 8PM that night. Hotel sourced, we slept, woke early, ate the biggest potion of porridge ever then set out.

Dessie is a pretty ugle, miserable town; Dan and I felt somewhat depressed there; grey, wet, cold, a tad unfriendly and just generally eugh. We peddled through before taking on a wonderfully enjoyable 20km downhill into Kombolcha. We were about to stop for coffee when a truck let rip the biggest, dirtiest plume of smoke from its hideously un-tuned engine. The thick, disgusting, unbreathable cloud enveloped the whole area like a 1920s coal power station on fire. Dan and I choked, took a deep breath and peddled through frantically to try and get to the other side of town.

After a tea stop we headed back out, the road winding along a valley floor. Green, reasonably warm and with the accompaniment of smiling, waving children lining the route. Of course some still asked for items and there was plenty of “You! You! You!”, “Ferenji, Ferenji, Ferenji”, but we’re accustomed to that. The nature of the children was generally a lot better than the Weldiya to Lalibela route.

A few kms in and Dan started to notice a rubbing on his wheel rim. It went away and onward we peddled; but the sound came back and got progressively worse until we stopped 20kms from Kemise. Dan decided to give the bike a roadside service; unstrapped everything, turned the bike over and took the wheel off. Analysing the wheel, to Dans disbelief he noticed a crack in the tungsten reinforced rim.

It was damaged; in fact, it was completely knackered. In that instant it soon dawned on us that this tiny crack spelt the end to our cycling together. After cycling together all the way from the Sinai in Egypt (bar odd stints of solo cycling), it ended, with a cracked rim, right here – on the side of a road in Ethiopia. It was a very sad moment, but it was such a shock it’d take a good few hours to set in.

After a phone call to SJS Cycles in the UK to confirm there’s no fix, the plan changed from bike maintenance to tracking down a 4×4 that could take Dan to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital some 330km away.

We found a truck that could take Dan to the next town, to where I’d cycle and meet him. In the comfort of the hotel we reflected on our cycle together; the good times and the ups and downs (many of which were in Ethiopia!). At 4am the next morning we awoke and Dan, with bike and bags in a bewildered state jammed into a minibus and headed for Addis Ababa.

Now what would I do next? Yep, you guessed it – I went back to sleep before getting on the bike to begin my solo adventure.

Solo cycling begins…

Off I peddled leaving the sad memory of Dan’s departure behind in Kemise. The first few hours were mainly flat, rather glorious cycling; I was enjoying it! The road meandered and then slowly uphill before I made it to Karakore. I was hideously hungry, not to mention thirsty – so I packed away Injera firfir (shredded Injera served in a mound and coated with spice) coupled with 3 coffees and 3 Cokes. I also met a wonderful local so we chatted away the next few hours.

Note: at this point (and after a lot of testing), I’m convinced Coke is better for you than Pepsi when cycling; however, when resting, Pepsi is more enjoyable…controversial I’m sure, but Coke gives you more energy I’m sure of it!

After my Kings’ buffet in Karakore, it was nothing but downhill as I wound my way back towards the valley floor before heading slowly uphill again and into the following valleys. The 3 coffees & cokes provided a wonderful boost; I flew through this part and the cycling felt good. That night, tired and slightly weary but buoyed by passing some wonderful friendly (and beautiful) children, I slept at a comfortable lodge in Sharobet.

The next day I knew I had my work cut out…and sure enough it slammed into my inbox. It was uphill almost straight away; a long toil uphill that would eventually lead me to Debre Sina (Amharic for “Mt Sinai”) where I found a cheap hotel for the night (40 Birr).

I munched on Tibs & Enkulal (meat & egg).

When you get to Debre Sina, you’re greeted with a wonderful sight – the Mezezo escarpment; but if, like me, you’re heading towards Addis, then as beautiful as it may seem – you’re heading up it. But better the devil you know; so a little cold but thankfully with plenty of blankets, I slept the night before a noodle breakfast propelled me on my way.

The climb was wonderful; for sure it was tiring but the views spectacular. The main road was closed, so I had to head up the even steeper piste track; but never mind – there was no other way, so it was up up up until I arrived at a small, mountain top town. Up here it’s ridiculously cold and fresh; I actually had to put my fleece and gloves on before setting off again, after a coke.

For some odd reason, there seems to be a plethora of folks selling baboon haired hats; immensely weird. They weren’t selling them anywhere except up here…and there was hundreds of salesmen, each with hundreds of hats. Even in the middle of nowhere, one would pop out; clearly I didn’t want one, but they kept at it for quite a while.

Thankfully once you get up the escarpment, it’s relatively flat for a while, before you head slowly downhill and then, slowly uphill arriving in Debre Birhan (elevation 2,840m).

I was very excited to be in Debre Birhan, so much so I cycled into a rock and then fell off my bike like a total Muppet. I was only going about 2km per hour so it didn’t matter, but I’m sure the locals had a good chuckle at the ferenji on the floor. Actually a very helpful local helped me up and ensured I found a cheap, but adequate hotel for the night; I was very grateful as I was knackered. I went to bed at 4PM that day and didn’t wake until 6AM, where I got up, headed for a local restaurant and ate an enormous breakfast and gorged on coffee…bliss.

The final 130km journey stood before me; I thought most of it would be downhill but somehow it seemed more uphill; but there were some wonderful downhill’s so I didn’t mind (too much).

With 30km to go I was exhausted so I ate yet more egg, drank Pepsi and tried to summon the final strength to get me to Addis. Eventually I arrived; Addis Ababa (Amharic for New Flower) is a polluted city (more so than Cairo in my opinion), but I didn’t care. Having been here before, I knew my way around (roughly) – so with a few pointers from locals I found myself on the right road – aiming for the British Embassy and then Ann’s house.

Ann is a super kind Canadian lady who’s currently living in Addis Ababa. She’s a good friend of Nigisti and so very kindly offered us a room for the nights we were in Addis.

Dan had made it safely a few days before so had done the decent thing and got the beers in; good lad. I was tired, but relieved I had made it. The door opened and I was reunited with Dan & Ann; beer in hand I settled down – the gated house and wonderful surrounding of Ann’s house was finally here. Time to go grab a pizza and catch up on some well earned rest.

Cycling from Weldiya is tough, but there’s some beautiful scenery along the route that won’t disappoint you; I found the attention from the children a lot less troubling – it still exists but it’s not as bad as it was on the Werete to Weldiya route. Hotels can be found in all the bigger towns, as can cafes, restaurants and places to get the bare essentials.

The roads are good; the traffic well behaved and Addis is a brilliant destination to end up in.

With that in mind we headed off to Afoy (the best Pizza place in town); huge thanks to Ann for your wonderful hospitality.

The next day it was off to Ethiopian Immigration to renew my Visa. Last time we ended up in Court; would it be a smooth process this time?

Southern Ethiopia, Mombasa & Kenya are calling…to be continued…