Thursday, 24 November 2016

Day 94, 95 Gonder to Woldiya and to Addis Ababa 402km 8 hours and 510km

We ride through heavily populated regions today. 
We see many young men.
The population of Ethiopia is 102million. A four fold increase since 1965.
The median age is 18.9 years. 

Ethiopia is considered to be the region from which humans first set out to the Middle East. 
We saw an excellent exhibition in the museum in Addis Ababa including a replica of Lucy.

Ethiopians are proud of the fact that they are the only African nation that was not colonised (forgetting the Italian occupation).

The African Union is based in Addis Ababa and many countries have their embassies there.
Civil war and purges following the death of Haile Selassie in 1974 have devastated the economy.  A Soviet backed regime, the Derg, held power until 1991 when the Ethiopian Revolutionay Democratic Front took control.

Coffee has its origins in Ethiopia.
Farewell to Simon who runs a tourism business based out of the Lodge du Chateau - lovely oasis in Gonder for independent and organised travellers.

Eucalypts are everywhere in Ethiopia. Introduced from Australia a century ago for reforestation. 
They are used for building houses, for firewood and for shelter.
Cactus seem to thrive in these cool high altitudes.

The timber merchant - eucalyptus poles for house building.

The road has some rough patches. Especially bridges which are being rebuilt. Not visible here is the almost 30cm drop at each end.

A bird for dinner?

We had planned to ride to Lalibela to see the ancient churches but the road was too rugged for us to ride two up with my low tolerance for being tossed around  at the moment.

We rode up to several high mountain plateaux where is was very cold - as low as 11.5° at  4320m (13,880') in one place.
Lovely winding sealed roads. We encountered livestock and people all along the way.

Water jerrycans lined up at the well.

Camels moving hay.
An audience at a local cafe.

Down the hills and far away to Addis Ababa. 
Day 95 was an extra long day. 
Fortitude was required as we rode in toward the setting sun and as the GPS stopped working.
We rode through a market - which we discovered the next day is the biggest market in Africa. 
Dick navigated our way to our hotel for the night resolving to stick with our usual intention to stay at the nearest hotel we can find at around 4pm.

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