Before leaving Bahir Dar we popped into the Abay Minch Lodge which at $82 per room is a great option for people whose budgets don’t stretch as far as Kureftu.
Our four hour bus journey took us through some stunning countryside and the various stops allowed us time to practise our Amharic with locals!
Our first stop in Gondar was the Four Sisters restaurant. Anyone coming to Gondar must eat here! They had a buffet lunch with a mixture of Ethiopian and English food & it was delicious!!! We felt like celebrities being greeted by the four sisters in traditional costume on arrival.
Gondar was a fascinating city. The Kings of Ethiopia had their power in Gondar for 2 centuries. The city was the first capital of the Ethiopian empire, which began in 1632 with the reign of Fasilidas. There are a dozen castles built by various emperors over the course of 236 years and many of these lie in a plot in the centre of the town.
The castles provided us with yet another great photo opportunity!
Fastledas – the king who built the first castle built this as a weekend retreat. The bath only gets filled for Temcat on January 19th. It takes a week to fill the pool & the water is diverted off the river. The tablets are brought & blessed and there are thousands of people who come to experience it.
Debra Haile Selaiisse – This church built by the grandson of the fastilas king who built the 3rd castle at Gondar. His original aim was to bring the Arc of the Covenant to the church but legend has it that the tablets wouldn’t move. It was also the only church which wasn’t burned by the Sudanese muslims in 1888. Apparently they tried to burn the church but they were attacked by bees.
The church has some incredible murals inside it and also another obliging priest happy to be photographed (for a small fee!)
We finished off the day by doing some hotel inspections of Doha hotel & the brand new Landmark hotel but were delighted to be staying at our favourite by far, the new Mayleko Lodge which is out of town & near the airport. It only opened 4 months ago and has individual stone & thatch bungalows and yummy food……..what more can you ask for!