Debre Libanos and Blue Nile Gorge

My partner Louis and I got back from Ethiopia at the end of November and there are just a couple of things I do think are worth a mention:

  1. Debre Libanos – we used your email update to locate Abenet’s hotel and he was gob smacked that we knew his name on arrival. His hotel is right by the turning for the Portuguese bridge (you actually have to park in the hotel car park and pay him 10 birr if you are visiting the bridge only). As we had the update on us & were able to give him the paragraph relating to him, for his office wall, he charged us 150 birr per night as stated but when we were leaving (after 2 nights) he told us the price is now 200 birr per night. He was a very chatty and pleasant man, he is Ethiopian but has worked in Germany for 35 years starting off as a waiter and ending up owning his own restaurant there, which he sold as a going concern. His wife Annette is German and they have lots of German friends who come & visit & stay at the hotel. Also people drive up from Addis to stay the weekend – a German baker and his wife, UN worker and Swedish Embassy worker while we were there. He told me he owned the land from the road to right by the Portuguese bridge, some land down in the gorge where we could see a distant church and also has some land in Muger Gorge where he plans to build another hotel. The locals refer to the hotel as ‘the German Hotel’ and as far as I could tell there were 5 double rooms with another 4 (1 of which had 2 double beds) under construction so eventually it will sleep 20 in total. Abenet said he would like to be included in the next edition of your book. Address: Ethio German Park Hotel, Debre Libanos, Chagel; Name: Abenet Shifferaw Tel: Mobile 0911978834; Office: 0116563213. It was very spacious and comfy and the nearest thing I saw to western standards apart from Tukul Village in Lalibela (we didn’t stay there I’m just nosey! We stayed at Chez Sophie’s)
  2. Crossing the Blue Nile Gorge – Purely by our own naivety we got stuck in Goha Tsion (mini-buses stopped, no other transport until next day) at 2pm it seemed a dead end place and whilst sitting in a dirty cafe deciding what to do next we witnessed a nasty (by my standards) fight which freaked me out. So we decided to hitch hike to Dejen thinking we’d make it by dark (32km in the guide book). We had no trouble getting a lift in a huge Chinese lorry – Ethiopian driver from Addis. The journey was slow and hot but we expected that and sat back and enjoyed the scenery. There were distance markers (milestones) every kilometre along the roadside and at 30km just before we got back on the asphalt road the lorry broke down. It was dusk and we thought there were only 2 km to go so we very nearly got out and walked the rest of the way. In fact Dejen is 40km from Goha Tsion so we would have had to walk 8km in the dark and been at risk from who knows what. I’m so glad we stayed with the lorry and eventually got safely to Dejen after 8pm at night. Sorry to be picky over 8km but it could have been life of death for us! Actually after getting in the lorry we noticed what looked like a brand new hotel in Goha Tsion on the left hand side of the main road as you leave heading for Dejen called the Blue Nile Hotel. With hindsight it may have been wiser for us to have stayed there overnight.

Thanks, Rita Griffiths

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