Left the thick smog of Addis behind us, passing through The Blue Nile Gorge, this is cited as one of Africa’s largest canyon’s. It was indeed spectacular, but a bit hairy at times, our gears started playing up, crunching and the Landy refused to go into forth gear and several others on occasions, believe me, the Ethiopian Highlands was not the place for this to happen. The mountains were enormous, over 2,500 mtres every couple of kms, luckily much of it was spent going at a snails pace. Michael decided he needed feeding (as you do while peering down a sheer plunge of 100ft) so we stopped at what we thought was a rather magnificent view-point, only to have a Landrover full of police arrive telling us to move on, in a not-so-friendly way.
A night was spent at Debre Markos, on the top floor of a six storey building, in the centre of town, this also proved slightly un-nerving when you see how they construct their buildings here, we both woke in the night because of the foul smelling drains, we put wet cloths over the plugholes to stem the stench and eventually went back to sleep, dreaming of the bush!
Next day,we left, after forgetting to shut the back of the car up, half our kit fell out into the busy road, I rushed around dodging tuk-tuks, donkey’s etc, managing to retrieve most things, with only a couple of breakages, a few locals helped me too, so I gave them our bread rolls and avocado’s, for their kind assistance. I’m actually quite surprised this hasn’t happened before.
We then left town and journeyed on to Bahir Dar, the car struggled badly, suffering gear problems and altitude sickness this time (as did Michael!)
Things weren’t helped by kids throwing stones, shouting names and spitting. Not very endearing and something wev’e never experienced before. Sadly this dosen’t inspire you to wave and smile as we normally do, but every now and then you get some gorgeous little kid waving and youv’e already passed them by without acknowledgement and you feel so bad for not having waved back.
The next few days were spent in Bahir Dar, an attractive town, quite large, with palm lined avenues,situated on the southern banks of Lake Tana, Ethiopia’s largest lake.
We were camping, on what appeared to be the public footpath through the gardens of The Ghion Hotel, with no privacy whatsoever, but being quite used to such things by now, it wasn’t as much of a problem compared with those we faced with a sick Landrover.
Next day,no less than four mechanics appeared (as they do) this time they stripped the car and took out the gear-box to find the problem, which we soon discovered was no synchromesh/4th gear, but lots of horrible broken bits instead………..oh joy, clearly we wouldn’t have got much further, so better to deal with it there, rather than than middle of the Sudanese desert .
We were well looked after, on the public footpath, by a couple of very protective guards who shouted at everyone who came near us at night, as we had the car’s contents scattered around us, including the gear-box,car seats etc, unfortunatelythough, in the daytime we had a fat drunkard, reeling around, shouting and singingwho kept telling me I was beautiful and trying to kiss me with his nasty alcohol stinking breath and believe you me I certainly wasn’t feeling that beautiful and Michael, none too charitable! Stressy times.
.Finally got away – complete gearbox required as it had eaten second and 4th – amazing we still moved..
Headed to Gonder spent night in posh hotel – well its got hot water and reasonable food. Heading for Kartoum to see if we can get out of africa via port to Jordan – if not we will have to rethink Egypts clearly getting worse so no hope there!
It may b some time.before next post.
Hopefully posted piccies formatting of some posts might be odd – the mother did something only she knows how and no time to try to correct