Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did.
So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. --- Mark Twain

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ethiopia - Gondar

Day 71
Etioopia – Gondar
12581 km since the beginning of the journey.

Ethiopia or by the full name - The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia .

The border-crossing was a usual one. And there were not many other ways, because Metama is the only border-crossing point between Sudan and Ethiopia according to my information. There are a few more tracks on the map but nobody actually knows anything certain about them. Gallabat is a small border town with houses and sales counters on both side . While slowing down the speed someone will surely run beside the car and make it clear that he is the person who helps the tourists across the border. Usually there is no need for this kind of helpers because the procedure is almost everywhere the same – police, then customs and then border guard. And while entering the country – vice versa. First the border guard stamp into the passport , then the customs and the car clearance. And insurance if necessary. But the runner showed with his hand that the first place to go must be a place „security“ by name. I wonder why ? Anyway - instead of doing it I looked for and found a building with the biggest number of men in uniforms in front of it and marched inside with mu documents and passport in my hand.

The first clearance took half an hour. The officials filled in a kind of forms and wrote down the data into a thick book – as always. IT era has not reached here yet.

And about 100 metres on there was another house , and nearly 50 people waiting at the counter. I managed to hand my passport over the heads to the official and was given back a kind of a form – fortunately it was in two languages - besides Arabic also in English. Having filled it a stamp was added to my passport and „Good-bye Sudan“. The country which is remembered with only the best impressions.

Here between the two states there was no „No- man`s – land“. Just a rope was pulled over the road and the other side was Ethiopia. Similar houses and sales counters on both side of the road.

First of all I was told at the customs that they were having a lunch break and it could take up to a couple of an hours. OK, let it be lunch hour then. And the first document that was asked to present was not my passport but the letter of the car guarantee . I had got it from the German Embassy as there was no Estonian Embassy in Addis Abeda. This clearance was different from the ordinary one l as GPS and computers and cameras were all registered. And then they wished to see them. In addition the car chassis number was checked and it was the first time that they wanted to see the number of the car engine. To that I answered that that`s „impossible „ , raised the seat up and showed that I`ve got the engine and the number of this engine is somewhere down under. And to have a look at that it would be necessary to dismantle the car. Fortunately they were satisfied.

Welcome to Ethiopia.

In Africa Ethiopia has the second place by the population of 85 miljon and and by the area the 10 th place. Which means that the country is overpopulated.

Compared to Sudan – the first thought was – how come that there are so many of them here. And generally all the people and animals move in the middle of the road. The motor - vehicles are met much more seldom than previously.

After crossing the border – mountains again.

And the road was really very decent.

And if something happens to the car then it will be left there were it happaned.

Gondar and Royal Compound

Buying a ticket. The ticket is valid the whole day and has the buyer`s name on it.


An eagle look.

Street cafe – at last after a long time in a country where people know how to make coffee.

In the morning only + 13 C. Compared to Estonia – much warmer but yestarday in Sudan at noon it was + 36 C. And at night it was raining – which means that some roads can be quite muddy.

When to listen to and believe in rumors then it comes out that the road to Axum is
hard to pass because of the construction work of the road. And another story says that there is not any kind of construction going on.
So the only option is to go and find it out.

As to the mobile connection - neither Tele 2 nor AirBalicCard works here. So there is no sense to call or send messangers here. The net connection was said to be poor as well. Of course there are internet cafes but the speed and quality of the connection is another story.

This message is written in a public internet in the centre of Gondar. I was allowed to use my laptop and finally I managed to get into network.

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