So we emerged from what seemed like endless dry dessert into the very green and mountainous Ethiopia. Quite a relief as we climbed higher into highlands and we felt the temperature falling from the forties to a much more bearable mid twenties, even requiring an extra layer in the evening. After another difficult border crossing we spent our first night camping at the side of the road, after Ed hit a giant rock, pinching his rear tube. Ethiopia is a country of 80 million people, making wild camping less than ideal. We were greeted in the morning by the local village kids who informed us that our tent had squashed a tiny piece of crop. One US dollar and they seemed happy.
So onto Gondor the next morning after a great roadside breakfast tasting our first Ethiopian coffee. Good atmosphere in the town, and the gateway for a side trip to the Simian mountains national park. We climbed to above 3000 meters, camping inside the National park for two nights. Some good fun gravel riding, even though my bike was struggling to breathe in the thin mountain air. Spectacular scenery all around. The nights were very cold, with frost in the morning.
We said our farewells to Matt, Kim, Ed, Dave and Steph back in Gondor. We had been travelling with them since Egypt. Craig and I needing make fairly swift progress from this point on, as we were held up in Egypt for three weeks with visa/ferry issues. Neil has decided he will travel with us for the time being. The ride south was an easy one through very nice Ethiopian rolling green countryside on decently sealed roads. My bike was still lacking power due to altitude which slowed the progress at times. We took three days to ride down to Addis Abeba where we were hosted by a very helpful Finnish family. They gave us a room to bunk down in, took us out to a German restaurant (Plenty of international influence in Addis) and even cooked us a proper breakfast. A slice of western comfort for three weary travellers. Thanks to Paivi and yuha for the great hospitality.