Biblical Ethiopia February 09 2014
Since our arrival in Ethiopia, on the 31 of January, it feels as though we have peddled over all the mountains this country has to offer! We crossed the border from Sudan into Mettema, Ethiopia and have been climbing the Simien Mountains, mostly off road, ever since! The views, although endless, are truly breathtaking.
There are around 91 million people in Ethiopia, so the villages we have biked through are packed with people. Often the locals are not watching closely for a stream of bikers to wiz through their ever-so quite village, so are not paying attention to where they are walking, thus riding with extreme precaution is very important.
The young children of Ethiopia, although very cute and generally smiling and welcoming, do love to throw rocks. It seems it is part of Ethiopian culture to partake in the activity. When the adults scold the children for throwing rocks, the punishment given is identical- rocks are pitched in the direction of the youngsters. Each rider has their own philosophy on how to deal with the children: ignore, yell, wave, talk, or cheer as they peddle passed.
Personally I have the approach to talk, wave and cheer at the children as I am approaching. I do my best to say Hello in Amheric, and have had some delightful conversations with children as they attempt to run along beside my bike. However, it is intimidating to approach a group of small, seemingly innocent kids, and have no idea how they are going to react. I have taken the tours advice and tried my best to ride with a buddy, which often does help, not protect you from the children, but be an extra target in the village!
We have been luckily to visit some of the most historical areas of Ethiopia: Gondar, Axum, and Lailbela. The Coptic Christian influence is amazing, and history behind the churches is really quite impressive. From the Debre Birhan Selassie to the rock cut churches I feel really luckily to be able to ride into these historical cities.
We have over 15 days left in Ethiopia, and I am excited for what is to come!