by Agata, Beata, Patrycja and Zosia

We are Agata, Beata, Patrycja and Zosia, 20-years-old students of Ethiopian Studies, totally new in the trade of traveling.

This year we visited Ethiopia for the first time and… we fell in love! We spent there 46 days, starting on 3rd September and finishing on 22nd October.

During this time we crossed almost all Ethiopia, experiencing its amazing cultures and traditions.

After returning back to Poland everyone asks us to tell them „How was that like?”, “Did you like it?”, “What have you seen?”. People don’t realize that we just cannot “tell Ethiopia”. You have to visit Ethiopia, see it, get to know it, live it!

It’s really difficult to tell somehow what exactly we experienced while being in Ethiopia. Probably the best way to show it is just to present each stages of our trip around the country and then to try to describe accompanying unique emotions.

Like almost every visit in Ethiopia we started with Addis Ababa – the capital. Just in theaddis ababa city beginning of our trip, we met one of the greatest people on our way through the country – Eskinder!

Not only did he accompanied us during our first contact with new reality, but also he was supporting us when we needed it in every single decision we had to make.

He was always ready to come to us with his helicopter and parachute if any help was needed!!!).

Here we would like to say a Big Thank You. We don’t know if we would be able to achieve it all without you there.

During our Ethiopian trip we have visited 3 totally different parts of Ethiopia: starting from the North, through East and finishing with South of the country.

bahir dar cityBahir Dar became first destination on our way to the North.

On the first day of our staying in there we managed to achieve one of the most important attraction of this city – boat trip on the lake T’ana, which is accompanied by little stops on single monasteries (there are 2o of them!).

The lake itself has amazingly interesting as well: Blue Nile is originating in here, you can find tombs of Ethiopian emperors interred in some of the islands and finally you can just watch incredible fauna!

While writing about T’ana Lake we can’t forget about enjoyable surprise that we got: it was a little trip on papyrus boat.

Next stop was Gondar – the city where we have spent loudly celebrated on 11thGonder town September New Year – 2004.

Despite this one Gondar has also charmed us with nearly situated Siemien Mountains and short trekking which we organized there.

We spent amazing moment on the top of the mountain full of baboon.

Of course we just can’t forget about Axum, northernmost city of our trip. We can easily call it one of the most important places of Ethiopian history.

Axum impressed us with well-known all around the world monumental Stelaes, erected between the third and fourth centuries A.D., which still remain mystery when we try to discover the technique of sculpting, transporting and setting them to the right place!

Despite the fact that we spent only one day in Mekele, we will remember this city because of great hospitality that we experienced.

It’s also one of the biggest university centers in the country and what more, Mekele University had some cooperation few years ago with the one represented by us – University of Warsaw, that’s what made us even happier to visit it now!

lalibela churchThe last stop of our “North trip” was Lalibela. It’s not easy to describe it in just few words.

For sure everyone should visit it to at least try to understand the importance of religion in Ethiopian society.

Walking the paths between all the Lalibela’s churches (there are 12 of incredible rock-cut churches!) you can feel like the time has just stopped passing by and there’s nothing more important than only contemplation.

After finishing our historical trail around the North we came back to Addis Ababa to have a little rest before next dose of impressions which was waiting for us in Harar – our main East destination. After arriving this city we got surprised by huge change of the climate.

From Christian North we have just suddenly jumped into top Ethiopian Islam center. Harar made us impressed with serenity present in all the city.

Even though variety of  different religions like Islam and Christianity and lingual diversityharer town meet in one place it’s really hard to find any sign of reluctance.

It’s impossible not to mention the main tourist attraction of Harar – feeding hyenas coming to the town every evening.

We had also this pleasure to participate in graduation ceremony of one of the colleges of Harar and Mesqel – a holiday commemorating the discovery of the True Cross by Queen Helena in the fourth century.

If we’re writing about Harar we just can’t skip tradition of chewing chat, which is very popular all over the country, the most popular is just in here!

After coming back from the East part we just departed in direction to the wished-for South and that’s how we’ve finally landed in Arba Minch.

Pictures from this place will stay in our minds forever. First attraction we experienced was a trip through real savanna, when we could just stand face to face with zebras  or antelopes.

Just after this one next surprise was waiting for us – we got boat trip on the Chamo Lake, where incredible birds, crocodiles and hippos accompanied us!

From Arba Minch we set off to Jinka, stopping just for a little while in Konso WHERE WE BOUGHT SONY TV MADE IN KONSO.

Jinka, it’s really difficult for us to describe this place which is connected with so many amazing stories and emotions. It’s the place where for the first time in our lives we met Mursi and Hammer people coming for a weekly market.

It’s the place from where we just went for a walk to the Ari village and finally it’s the place where we met the greatest of the South.

First day of staying in Jinka we went to nearly placed village of Mursi tribe – tribe with tradition of putting kind of plates into women’s lips. After coming back to Jinka we decided to take a little walk to the Ari village where we could observe everyday life of the people living there.

hamer marketsNext day we went to Turmi – the capital of Hammer tribe about 100km to the South from Jinka.

On the way we stopped for a while in the biggest tribal market in Dimeka where we could buy some local stuff and eat really good injera.

When we achieved our final destination we went straight to the house of one of Hammers family. As tradition says we got greeted by householder and the goat was killed for us!

We managed to stay the night in the Hammer house where we woke up early morning to get ready for celebration connected with initiation of young boy – bull-jumping – which took place just after midday.

After this one we just went off for our way back to Jinka, from where we went to Awasa to enjoy beautiful lake and nearly placed Shashamane – the capital of rasta culture – and that was our last stop of all our trip!

Undeniably, Ethiopia enchanted us with the kindness of the people, the beauty of landscapes and remarkable history.

Thanks to Ethiopians we know what their culture and tradition means. Now we have so many wonderful memories that we have no hesitation in saying that it was the best.

Eskinder Hailu - Manager, Highway Tours

Eskinder Hailu
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