Simien trek - Ethiopia    (DAY 1)

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Debark - Sankaber Camp

Voyage (nice expression for such hell) from Gondar took 3,5 hours. It was our first "bus adventure". Asphalt finished just after last street of Gondar. Some fine views of jagged mountains alongside the road showed that next days will be exciting. In Debark we found a trick against kids and beggars. When you look like that you've been there many times (not staying and looking around) people starts to ignore you and even children are not shouting and leaving you alone. It is hard to resist. Sometimes we gave coins to beggars but there were so many ... it's hard. Older beggars were not so agressive and appreciated very much every "penny". But kids when received something immediately demanded more. They treated that as "give me money" sport (more about foreigners' hysteria see chapter People....). But Debark was not the worst one.

We registered ourselves on Simien National Park Headquater office and payed total 810B (entrance to park 50B/48hrs/per + 20B/day/per for camp site + 30B/day for "scout" - local guarded man which is mandatory) for 6-day trek. We didnt take guide or mules what was something unusual. We are training for Kilimanjaro! We were and we will be for a long time for locals "those white mad people who carrying big backpacks and giving away baloons and pens". 100% foreigners we met had mules and guides....but on Kilimanjaro later on we experienced opposite extreme...

We bought some bread (one of the few food items which you can buy in Debark) and started our trek at noon. We're quite lucky with timing. Just four days ago we were in Prague and until now we visited Adis, Lalibela and Gondar! Step-by-step we are "loosing" acompanying kids.

The countryside was really breathtaking. We walked through green corn fields and meadows of flowers. It was like somewhere in Romania or Bulgaria - forget about desert. Temperature was also pleasant 23 degrees. So all together, fine nice summer at the end of November ...

As scout we got Ahmed, the best one from scouts. He was born in mountains and he knows area very well and everybody knows him very well too. Ahmed was a nice guy, he didnt speak English (only few words like water, coffe, tomorrow, sleep and "oki oki" meaning O.K.). He was muslim and we got it when he spued out offered salami. Our Moravian plum brandy "slivovice" also not enjoyed him to much...
Locals bring for 1B a bundle of green peas (identical as our "european") from the field. We crossed small river Lamma Wenz.

Next we passed through Werk Amba valley to start steeply climbing to height of 3150m. Was tough and hot. Than few metres on a road to Chennek which goes through middle of the park up to 4200m. Ahmed knew the way and we used different shortcuts or visited some viewpoints. Surrounding was fascinating. The guidebook recommends "skip rather boring stage from Debark to Sankaber by 4x4 car or truck". It's a big sin to bypass it. Of course in dry season can be really boring but dont miss it if you are there in Sep-Dec time !!

We found ourselves in beautiful valleys with green grass, horses, forests....

.... and than came FAIRYTALE - velvet "golf" grass, little lambs, white horses, bubbling stream and quantum of beautiful yellow-orange big flowers.

It is hard to describe it in words or by photos. This "paradise" we didn't expected in Ethiopia. It was clearly one of the biggest nice surprises during my traveling life.

Than we climbed to first viewpoint which was amaizing. We're standing on the edge of the 1 km high cliff with stunning panorama. Around us were flying some huge predatory birds.

Next surprise was group of about 200 endemic Gelada Baboons which crossed the road. We did photos from distance at the beggining but later found that baboons are not frighten and they just ignoring us. We thought that we were lucky but later we saw them few times more.

At the end hailstorm started....

Completely exhausted we came to Sankaber camp at 6 p.m. just before getting dark. During the evening together with Dan we were invited to coffee by locals. We discovered that this is complete ceremony (see chapter Food in web-guide).

We gave participants sweets, baloons and pens. Baloons were the most successful especially among adults ...

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