The first 2 weeks was spent with a Venus Adventures group in the north of Ethiopia, visiting historic castles, rock-hewn churches, old island monasteries, driving through a patchwork quilt of grain fields, drinking the best coffee in the world and eating delicious Ethiopian food (in fact after the first week of the trip we were wondering how we were going to explain putting on weight in Ethiopia!)
There are so many myths about the place it is not a drought-stricken wasteland full of very thin people! It is a beautiful country with amazing scenery, fascinating history and wonderful culture. Most people visit it because it is largely undiscovered by the tourist hordes, which makes it all the more appealing!
The second two weeks of the trip was spent on a private trip to the south of Ethiopia- a complete contrast to the north the south is typical ‘Africa’ for me - hot, flat and dotted with Acacia trees, with big, red sunsets. Bliss.
The highlight of the south are all the weird and wonderful tribes that live there, like the Mursi with their big lip plates, and the Hamar with butter and ochre in their hair… Fascinating stuff! Life is simple here, and age old traditions dictate. Africa always gives me a reality check on life…often we were far from mobile phone reception, internet, and…what credit crisis??!
This is a place where ‘wealth’ is often measured in the amount of goats you own. It was great to escape all the bad news and be in a place where banks, savings, mortgages, television and materialism are irrelevant to most peoples lives. More on Ethiopia in future newsletters as I have a couple of funny stories to tell ….about strange African beauty treatments and living with a tribe….