Monday, 24 November 2008

11th November 08

Date: 11th November 08
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Weather: Clear blue skies and sunshine. 32°c
Status: Awaiting the visa process again…

Up early, a bite of breakfast then headed out with Amo and Bre to get to the Egyptian embassy to drop off the receipts which they require as proof of where we’d acquired our Ethiopian currency from, they accepted them and told us to return at 4pm to collect our passports.

We all went along to the Sudanese embassy next to start the line of enquiry as to what we’d need for this visa, its renowned as being a really tough one to get with the grumpiest staff in their embassies, a fact which I can pay testament to after our experience with the unfriendly lady in Nairobi!

We queued outside for a few minutes with some other people until the door was swiftly pulled backwards and the grim faced smoking man allowed us to enter, we joined the next queue and after 10 minutes got to the front to be greeted by a smiling decent gentleman who issued us with the forms, told us what we’d need and happily said goodbye….quite a turn up!

Back at the camp Kees’s truck was now fixed and we spent the afternoon making an awesome lunch, catching up on emails etc and when it was time to leave did so with the Egyptian embassy being our destination.

Collected our visas and photocopied the relevant pages for the Sudanese application tomorrow and decided to head up into the hills to find the Washa Mikael rock church which overlooks the city. We pulled into the car park of the church which signalled the starting point of the drive and found a guide who would take us through the narrow villages to our goal, he sat on the bonnet and we drove for half an hour up a steep rocky road before grassy area we arrived at signalled our destination had been reached.

The church itself was bombed by Italian extremists a number of years ago which collapsed the roof and since then the church is only used twice a year which means it’s a little run down and overgrown but still leaves you amazed at how the excavation was done. The church has around 12 rooms and some amazing arches all of which have been hewn out of the bedrock. The entrance to the church is the most impressive of all with a 10 metre long tunnel leading to it.

We walked from here to the hill which looks over the city and the views were stupendous, the sprawling mass of Addis captured by the mountains around with patchworks of green and brown fields surrounding the obvious civilisation within.

The sun was setting so we made our way to the truck and started the descent back down the hill and through the evening chaos of the village streets, donkeys pulling their loads, the local running club meeting up and the hustle and bustle which makes Africa so amazing to me.

We had dinner and went to bed.

End of day location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Distance covered: 20kms