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Monday, November 5, 2012

Bahirdar & Blue Nile Gorge


Itinerary Day 03: Bahir Dar and Blue Nile Gorge
In the morning, drive to Bahirdar through the Great Blue Nile Gorge with a stopover at different small towns like Dejen, Chancho and Goha Tsion.

The Blue Nile Gorge is a majestic and enormous river gorge which has a magnificent, alluring physical feature and natural beauty. It is referred by many as “the Grand Canyon of Ethiopia” It’s one of the most captivating gorges in Africa.

 Journal:
We are up at 6:00. The objective is to get packed, have breakfast and be out of the hotel and on the road by 7:30 to beat the morning drive time traffic. For the rest of the trip our driver will be Alex and our guide is Yohanes. We ran into his last tour clients while checking out in the morning. They were waving at him as he pulled up to pick us up. A couple of Brits... or maybe Aussies.

“Was Yohanis your guide?”
I ask.
“Yes”
“He'll be guiding us for our tour.” 
“You are lucky .” she said.

Encouraging. The driver Alex was also specifically requested and recommended to us by Sigrid's on-line Travel-Adviser travel buddy Carol, who did a similar tour a couple years ago, and has been enormously helpful with our planning. When I say "our planning", of course I mean "Sigrid's planning."

Today's Route
We got out of the hotel on time, but we needed to get some cash for the road trip. Four stops and three broken ATM's later, we have the cash but are stuck in traffic. A city of five million with mostly bad roads. You do the math.



This was a driving day. Most on this tour fly from Addis to Bahir Dar. We're driving because we want the car for the Semian Mountain part of the trip.


 We'll be spending a lot of time in the '09 Toyota Land Cruiser with Alex and Yohanes for the next two weeks. Might as well get used to it.Truth be told, there is no better way to get a sense of a country than a long road trip.


Blue Nile River & Bridge
 Over nine hours of elapsed time to get to the Kuriftu Lodge, with only a few brief stops to take pictures of the scenery, lunch and a “coffee ceremony” about half way.





It wasn't the worst road we've ever been on. That would be Nepal 2010. But it was bad enough.  We passed three rolled trucks along the route. The difference is that in Nepal, the rolled trucks were at the botton of a 1,000 foot ravine.


 A day of navigating bad roads, cresting over mountain passes and cutbacks, crossing rivers, passing buses and mule drawn carts, dodging and weaving between herds of cattle, sheep, goats, landslides, and throngs of kids in bright uniforms walking to and from schools.



We arrive at Kurifu Lodge at dusk. The rooms and lodge are a fantasy in wood and stone. The long drive exhausted us, so after dinner and drinks we retire to our room and watch Lake Tana from our veranda. It was worth it.





Internet is theoretically available at the pool and lobby, but it wasn't working for me. Pics and posts will be late from here on out.

Editiors Note: I intend to pre-load and schedule automated blog posts with our daily itinerary for our Ethiopian adventure. For those interested, this may be an easy way to follow along. Since we will not have internet access for most of the trip, my hope is this will make it easier to add some pics and journal commentary if and when we run across an internet connection. If there are no pics or commentary, you'll just have to wait until we get back. We'll see how it goes.

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