Northern circuit 2018 trip report

Kevin writes:

Many thanks for your excellent guide. There are a couple of updates that are needed (just returned from two weeks with a church group.)

In no particular order:

Bahir Dar: Misrak Special Food has moved! It is now very close to the Jacaranda Hotel, towards the town centre, on the same side of the road. It remains a great place to visit for “National Food”. You perhaps should explain somewhere that “fasting food” simply means veggie.

Gondar: Four Sisters highly recommended. My friend and I found it in a power cut, which was quite a test of faith when we got to the football pitch. Also Ras Ghemb is now OPEN (as of 1/1/18) and charges 100Birr. It is a very worthwhile visit as there is much in the place that dates from Haile Selassie’s time, and was not ripped out by the Derg. Also very atmospheric and poignant to learn that the Derg used the little private chapel as their torture chamber. Excellent all round views from the roof.

Also Gondar: Quara Hotel not recommended. It is an electrical accident waiting to happen. One of our party was almost electrocuted when he turned his bedside light on (the wire vapourised…) and in my own room there was not a single socket/switch that could be considered safe. Another of the party had all her money stolen from her room (getting a police report proved impossible, and the matter has been raised at the consulate in Addis). Service in the restaurant and the food in general were dreadful.

Lalibela: The footpath up to Yemrehanna Kristos monastery church is now fully paved and staired. It is still a stiff climb, but obviously much easier underfoot than previously. The stairway is lined at points with local beggars. Giving to beggars is part of the Christian culture in Ethiopia, especially outside churches.

We also walked up to Asheton Maryam (all the way from the town centre). From the bottom of the steps signposted on the road it took us an hour to make the climb to the plateau, a further three quarters of an hour to walk along the plateau to the new “car park” and then half an hour to make the final ascent to the monastery. Allowing several points to gasp for breath and enjoy the views/bird life a total ascent time of about three hours for reasonably fit people I think would be fair.


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