Greetings from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
We left Bahir Dar on a bus and drove 270 km to avoid the “rock throwing bastards,” in the country side. (Actually, there are not that many kids doing it, but if it’s two, or three times a day, it certainly adds a little spice to the ride.) I don’t think it would have been any different than other days, but the tour operators are playing it safe, as last year they had an incident and someone was knocked off their bike and broke their jaw.
In Bahir Dar we took a boat ride out to one of the islands in Lake Tana and visited a 700 year old monastery. It is an active Coptic Christian monastery with 26 priests and 13 monks. The monks live on the campus and grow coffee beans, as a source of income. The priests live elsewhere with their families, as they are allowed to marry. The religion seems to be a lot like Roman Catholic, but they have 16 additional books in their bible. The one I found most interesting is the “Book of Mary,” as she seems to play a very large role in their teachings.
On the return trip from the monastery we went to the source of the Blue Nile. It is a large estuary where we saw hippos lounging around.
The riding this week featured climbing out of the Blue Nile Gorge. It was only a 88 km, (55 mile) ride that day, but the last 20 km was a 1,380 m climb out of the gourge. YES that’s right, 4,550′ in 12 miles. The elevation was in the 8,000′ range. It was a son of a bitch, but I enjoyed the climbing immensely. On the ride up there were numerous families of baboons scurrying along the route.
The following day, my 62 birthday, we climbed to the highest point of the tour, 3,122 m (10,300′).
The last riding day into Addis Ababa everyone cruised the 109 km ride, but it was another big day of climbing. So for the last three days of riding in the Ethiopian Highlands, we rode 283 km (175 miles) and climbed 4,589 m (15,114′).
Rightly so, we now have two days rest in Addis Ababa. Alleluia!
Since we left Cairo we have travelled 3,738 km, (2,318 miles). That’s a little over 30% of the journey. Amazed I’ve gotten is far.