Day 118 Ethiopia : Lalibela - Dessie

 Day 118 Ethiopia


Trip Distance 302 km (188 m) Total Distance 13684 km (8505 m)
Road Condition 80% tar 20% dirt, corrugation, mud  
Time to travel 4 hrs 2.5 hrs  
Tossa Pension N11 08.330 E39 37.923 EB120 - En suite, hot showers when electricity available, flushing loo, the bathrooms although slightly dirty and grubby has a good hot shower

After a good breakfast and checking out we set off at just before 9am heading for Addis but expecting to stop off about half way.  The first 16kms as we exited Lalibela was good quality asphalt but this quickly turned to 42kms of dirt, corrugations and mud.  We had decided to take the route back to Gashena and then onto Dessie despite Tracks4Africa recommending a different route.  Once we had got to the recommended route by Tracks4Africa, the road looked little more than a track.  As "luck" would have it the turnoff was crowded with mini-buses as a truck had just dumped its load on the corner of an extremely winding bit of road.  Finding an English speaking mini-bus driver was quite easy and he had suggested that the quickest route to Dessie was to backtrack to Gashena.  Early on in our trip we had discussed the value of local knowledge - in this case, it was extremely valuable.  Iain and Ryan left Lalibela 2 hours after us and took the Tracks4Africa track that we had discussed the previous night.  They had a really difficult drive using that track as it isn't maintained and was really rough and extremely rocky.  Ryan ended up with leaking fork seals on his bike and had damaged his pannier on a rock outcrop.  In addition, despite their speed that they can maintain on asphalt roads - much faster than we can - and the fact that they didn't stop for any lunch (we stopped for 1 hour in Weldia and had a fantastic plate of Shiro and Injeera for lunch at a restaurant at the roundabout), they arrived in Dessie 1 hour after we did.

On entering Dessie we repeated our mistake that we did in Debre Tabor and drove straight passed what looked like a great place to stay and headed on into town following the hotels on Tracks4Africa.  Turns out the the hotels in Dessie are real dives and the Ghion, Ambaras and Fasika all charge in excess of EB170 per room per night for a grubby room, dirty bathroom and cold bucket wash.  Not a chance!  We drove back to Tossa that we had passed earlier on entering Dessie and went to check them out.  The rooms are clean (although I did get a couple of flea bites), the bathrooms have a fantastic shower (when electricity is available) and a flushing loo all en-suite for 50% less than the central hotels.  Although, it is a pension and doesn't have meals or hot drinks available to order, there are restaurants within a tuk-tuk ride.

With the electricity off we ended up cracking open the laptop and whiling away the time watching "Over the Hedge" for the 4th time and laughing just as much as the 1st time.  Especially when we saw Hammy (and in all other times we'd seen the movie we missed this spot) squirting a can of cheese into his mouth and seeing it erupt in twin streams from his nose!!!! :o)