20.11. Wake-up at 5 a.m. We went to the bus station to win a "fight" for free seat in a bus to Bahir Dar. Fortunatelly we bought tickets yesterday. Linda, Phil and Roger are going with us too. After first metres of drive bus stopped and we had to leave the bus! The bus was very nice so the soldiers returnig from front wanted to confiscate him... After two hours of uncertainity we left Gondar in a same bus. After "dusty" ride we came at noon to Bahir. Town is much nicer than Gondar, wide palm tree avenues, newer buildings, etc. Recommended pension Tana is full and same situation is with other backpackers' places. The reason is that today there are big celebrations and all top Ethiopean politicians and business people were there. "Tana Paestry" (0,5l fresh orange juice for 3B + great cakes and coffee) was our "basecamp" for whole afternoon in time of search for resonable accomodation. Finally we found great garden camp place behind luxury Ghion Hotel just on a bank of lake Tana. "Starting price" was 40B per tent and with nice "theater performance" by Phil and Linda manager agreed on 25B per tent. Their negociating skills were unbeatable... We built tent on grass few metres from the lake with surrounding pelicans .... and soldiers roaming and searching around. In hotel was held premiers' dinner. I'am sure that this night it was the best protected camping ground in Ethiopia...
Not wasting time we hired motor boat for round trip around Island monasteries (price 50B/per + 10B for "tip"). First we went by minibus to the outskirts of town (direction towards bridge across Nile) to small pier hidden between the papyrus plants. The boat was quite O.K. with Honda engine on a back. It took one hour to Zege Monasteries. We met overloaded papyrus boat. Our guide chewed all time "chat" - green leaves with halucinogenous effects.
First stop was the biggest and most famous monastir Kidare Mitiret (or Oraki Dan Hebreh?). Passing jungle trail to monastir in a hurry was similar to adventurous computer game. We had to "fight" with wave of "guides", then with kids with souvenirs finaly through gate reached monastery. It had an interesting round shape evoking oversized jungle house.
But inside, behind the huge door were hidden walls completely covered by frescoes in style similar to Bulgarian or Greek monasteries. Entrance fee 15B/per. We skipped next monastery on Zege island due to time constrains. If you will make planning, reserve at least 6 hours for visiting all monasteries!
We visited monastery on a small Kubran Gabriel island covered by the lush jungle. Monastery is located on a top of the hill and is only for men. Women are strictly forbitten to enter! From size was smaller and frescoes were heavely damaged by age. The monks were polite, showed us interiors and even pose for photo.
Next stop was Entosis Jesus Island with other monastery. The sun moved toward horizon making very nice atmosphere ... There were mini fileds of coffee, papaya, corn, mango and other plants. Due to fact that it become dark we skipped next monastery Debre Maryan on Centimeri Island and "Source of the Nile" with hippos. It was a pitty, reserve really a plenty of time. Evening we spent with our friends in lovely restaurant Tana Paestry. Steak a lá Bismark 8B, delicious Ethiopean National Soup 4B, beer 3,5, soft 2,25, whisky/gin 0,2dl 5B. Fish steak 6B with fries. It was a real feast (nobody had any stomach problems even we have eaten vegetables).
[ Blue Nile Falls ]