We have arrived in Ethiopia at long last. The border crossing went without a hitch as we signed out of Sudan, crossed the bridge to Matema and signed in to Ethiopia. There is immediately a stark difference as the scenery switched from dry, flat landscape to beautiful green rolling hills speckled with cattle, people and villages every few kilometers.
With an estimate of 5.2 children to every mother, there is an abundance of little ones all over the place including in the road. This has made cycling through slightly hair-raising and already, on our first day, a rider collided with one little guy that just popped into the road. Luckily the injuries weren’t too serious.
In past years, riders have also had to deal with stone throwing and little hands pinching items out of pockets and saddle bags, however there has recently been a media campaign to stop this, as tourism is on the rise. This seems to have had an effect however there were still a few stones thrown, bums hit with sticks and an attempt to steel items out of my back pocket whilst cycling slowly uphill. This made our already challenging ride just a little bit harder as we ascended 2400m with some intense inclines to reach our rest stop in Gondar.
All the negative stuff aside though, Ethiopians have been very friendly and the children generally good natured. Sitting down in a local village to a tea or ice cold beverage quickly results in you becoming a main attraction as crowds gather to watch the Ferengi (foreigner) drink. The food is really good, the beers are cold and the coffees reputation is unquestionable. Looking forward to spending some time here.