Ethiopia – Bahar Dar – Lake Tana

Lake Tana is a big body of water. It is the largest lake in Ethiopia and the source of the Blue Nile. It is nearly impossible not to charter a boat in Bahar Dar to see the lake. The touts will not let you.

It is a beautiful lake. and a must see. The really interesting thing for most people about the lake is the monasteries. They are scattered on the little islands. And here a boat hire is essential. There are also  hippos,  weaverbirds and pelicans. And some say the odd crocodile. I do not find the monasteries very interesting, but if you are there it is something to do. After two or tree it get a little repetitious. Boat arrives. Tourist gets out. Going on the little path to the monasteries the villages are trying hard to push their products. After a while this gets a little deja-vu. Same thing over and over. You get to the monetary often on the top of the island. Here you pay entrance fee. Some guy tells about the paintings. The claim some of the drawings are more than 1000 years old. Maybe so, but they have been updated a lot. And really – Who cares. All taking in to consideration it is nice on the lake, and definitely a must see.




Inside the monasteries there are often painting and  drums for prying. And sometime you can be lucky to see a priest. I think these guys give a strong impression. Total devotion to God. It is kind of hard to find this in a modern society.  This quiet iterative life have been going on for thousand of years.

The paintings inside is often quite gruesome.  Purgatory seems like the common theme.  I guess this was necessary to keep the sheep in the flock.

There is a lot of  traffic on the lake. And it is very beautiful. People are using boats to connect with each other and the mainland.

All in all the beautiful lake Tana is a very nice break from Bahar Dar and definitely worth seeing. The monisternes are interesting qua their location, but the buildings and interiør are found better.

Daytrip to Blue Nile Falls – Bahar Dar Ethiopia

There is a nice daytrip to be done from Bahar Dar to Blue Nile Falls. Getting there is more than half the fun. I have made a little Video with my Cell and posted it.

Gives a estimate how life on the road is in Ethiopia.

The Blue Nile experience  is a couple of hours wandering around in the beautiful Ethiopian landscape. There is an old Bridge

A suspension bridge and of cause the Blue Nile falls. To be completely honest I do not think that the falls are worth going there for. They are using most of the water to generate electricity. And of cause your are not going there on your own. It seems like everybody from the nearby villages  are trying to make a buck from old granny to very young children selling souvenirs or just begging. They can be quite desperate and persistent. The beautiful Ethiopian scenery though is second to none and is a nice break from Bahar Dar.

Ethiopia – Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia. It is the 4th highest capital city in the world.  2400 m  above sea level. Bogotá, Colombia (2600 m); Quito, Ecuador(2850m) and La Paz, Bolivia (3650 m) are higher still. It is a bustling city with more than 3 million  inhabitants.  The air is thin and you need to be careful to use sun protection, as you don’t feel burned before it is too late. It seemed to me that the air pollution is pretty bad in Addis. This combined with the high altitude make wandering around in the city harder than normal.

I don’t think that Addis is going to win an award for the most beautiful city any time. It is dirty and polluted. Garbage anywhere. People anywhere. But it has pockets of interest. I like the  Piazza area a lot. Ethiopia was never colonized but Italia occupied the country in 1939. And the Piazza still have some old world appeal. I prefer this any day compared with fast drying concrete. Italians left some beautiful buildings. Of couse by now it is run down and ill maintained but still there is a lot of charm.

I will ask anybody going there to very careful with your valuables. Not that Ethiopia is an unsafe place, but poverty can drive some to extremes.

The Tiglachin monument  (English: Our Struggle) is a memorial to Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers involved in the Ogaden War. It was built under Mengistu Haile Mariam on Churchill Avenue in Addis Ababa. (It is sometimes erroneously called the “Derg Monument”, but the monument does not honor the Derg regime.) The monument is composed of various elements: a central statue, a 50 m tall pillar, two wall reliefs on the sides and two squares where the portraits of Cuban soldiers are visible. (WIKI)

I like the fact that this was a gift from North Korea. Obvious the ties with NK is not existing no more with the exit of the DENG. But I think it is a beautiful monument and happy it exist still. Big red star on the top. What not to like?

The Addis Train station is interesting. Even though it seems there hasn’t been  a train for ages (2002) , there is a guy protecting the building against prying eye of the tourists. He has enclosed a big area in front of the building and sitting in the middle on a chair with a stick. Not to be messed with.  Even though it cannot be considered a military secret anymore, why give up your steady job?

There is a cafe on the premises. Everything is very civilized like 100 year ago. The lack of train passengers is outweigh by the passenger from the nearby Busstation.

During my stay in Ethiopia I found myself very fond of mixed Juices. It is a life saver. .

Addis is hard to like. It has some redeeming qualities. It is very in your face experience like you can find in the big cities in India but it is definitely interesting in its own right.


Ethiopia Addis Ababa Taxi.

They have some old bangers roaming around in Addis. Some would think that they should be dead, but the force is still strong with them.

The owners/users make them work with whatever means possible. Often they are so beaten up that most of the interior is missing. And only the most essential is working.

I had an experience going to Addis Airport. I thought I had a deal with a taxi driver going to the airport at 3 o¨clock in the morning. But probably due to the Ethiopia/international time confusion he didn’t show. Found a taxi with a driver sleeping in the backseat. Knocked on the window, and he was fine taking me to the airport. There were no door cards and hardly any upholstery.  It took forever to wake the old dinosaur in a cloud of black smoke.  I think it must take special skilled driver to manage one of these old taxis. Most of the gears didn’t work and the engine misfired on at least 2 cylinders. The noise was incredible. No electricity was working so no lights. Thank god there are streetlights most of the way to the airport. The driver did one thing I liked. He locked all the doors. Maybe he had some bad experience driving in the dark, or maybe he was concerned about my security. Don’t know. Anyway it got the job done. And even though you might think that it is dead by now, I am sure it will take many year before it goes out of circulation.

I like the old battle scared Taxis. By now Ethiopia is having their own car production. So it is only a question of time before there relics will disappear. Good for most people. I for one am going to miss them.


Bulgaria Sofia Pigeon Lady.

I saw her sitting on the pavement with all her pigeons when wandering around the streets of Sofia. I couldn’t help being a little fascinated. I have seen Pigeon people before fx. outside the blue mosque in Istanbul, but they didn’t seem to like the pigeons much. This lady was having a special connection with the birds. She was a lovely old lady.

When seeing somebody like her, I always think about her life and why she is making a living feeding the birds. In her case I am sure it is a labor of love.