The lack of aggressive touts or children made it very relaxing. Also the shoe guards have disappeared. I liked the place a lot, beautiful scenery, crazy churches, friendly people, def one of the highlights of my trip.
We stayed at 7 Olives. They have raised the prices again, but it’s hard to compete with this place when it comes to atmosphere and location. I also got 20 % discount as result of a complete confusion (I wanted to say 20 dollars). They have forms for discounts, so maybe you just need to ask. Mola, one of the receptionists is really nice and helpful.
7 Olives and Blue Nile Restaurant. In Blue Nile we met Joseph, a great local guide, didn’t keep his number. Blue Nile is more basic, but also much cheaper than 7 Olives.
Gonder – Lalibela
We came by local bus from Gonder, changing in Gashena. The station in Gonder looked in the morning like riots were going on. Everyone is behind the fence and when they open it, the streetkids run fasted to occupy and sell the best seats. I luckily got in before as the only one, let in by a guy who wanted money once I was in the bus (which I never gave). The driver was and falling asleep, and chewing chat and drove full speed into a herd of sheep (and didn’t stop after to pay for the dead sheep). In Gashena they really try to rip you off, but I got so annoyed that we got the Ethipian price of 25 Birr. Same story when trying to get our luggage on the roof (we did put it ourselves on the roof, being really fed up with people asking 10 Birr for it, not wanting to put the price down). I think they mostly get away with it, the tourist being faced with ‘a wall’ that leaves not much space for arguing. Being with 3 assertive people helped a lot in this case.
Lalibela – Addis
We found a car that needed to drive back to Addis, obviously there is often some opportunity and ended up paying each 400 Birr (4 pers) for a brand new Landcruiser. 250 Birr of the total amount went to the touts (calling themselves ‘Brokers’). I gave the downpayment the day before to the receptionist of 7 Olives to make sure the money wouldn’t disappear. It is possible to do it in one day if the road construction is in a further stage.