Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

castles

Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:59 PM
The wind was strong this morning and big dust bowls were blowing everywhere when we departed the Simien Mountains. Back on the dusty dirt roads, passing small villages and in a couple of hours we've reached our destination, Gonder. Again, the hotel Taye Belay was exactly as it was shown online. Very old furniture, very tired bathroom and windows that didnt shut completely. Mine opened up to a huge balcony overlooking the town and the castles compound. Much like Aksum, Gonder was only big in name only. Another dusty town with old stone houses, few paved roads. So much for its more glorious days.

After a very delicious buffet lunch at the hotel, we walked a short distance to visit the medieval castles. The Fasilides, Iyasus, David and Yohannes collection of castles and palaces were all inside a compound enclosed by a stone wall. These castles were european in character, some in a poorer state of ruin than others, and the Yohannes one was renovated by italians. The stables were impressive and the royal enclosure even included a lion cage, a music hall and a library/archive building. the Birhan Seghed Kuregna Iyasu and Itegie Mintiwab castle looked quite modern with decorations in the windows. Fascinating. Being a castle freak, the Hippo had a field day there.

We've also visited the Debre Birhan Selassie, the Light of Trinity church. The inside of this one was completely covered in paintings. Faces of angels and saints decorated the ceiling. having this enormous cold, I retired back to the hotel afterwards while the others went ahead to visit the Fasilides Baths.

After a shower, which consisted of 1 hand holding close the sliding shower doors that kept sliding open, and another hand constantly adjusting the water temperature (either too hot or completely cold), while watching the ants marching happily across the bathroom floor, and intended to rest but the shabby bed in the hotel room was unappealing, so instead I went next door for souvenir shopping. Found a cup and saucer with ethiopian religious paintings on the rims, that kinda had the same style as the one I bought from Egypt (except the egyptian one had king tut on it). Extremely satisfied with this purchase.

tonight's dinner was at a restaurant owned by 4 sisters, called the '4 sisters'. The buffet had traditional ethiopian food on one side and western food on the other. we've sampled the tej, the traditional ethiopian honey wine. extremely sweet. then we had a performance of the traditional shoulder dance of gonder, by the waiters/waitresses. they carried a white hankerchief and flexed their shoulders and upper torsos in tune of the music. very unusual dance and not like any african dance I've seen. too bad I didnt bring my camera.

Tonight, I've started with the deet spray and put deet lotion on my face, neck, arms and hands, all exposed areas.

Gonder photos:

gonder

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