Even though Ethiopia is not a major destination for people, we are very motivated to discover this country. Ethiopia is unique due to its language, writing, and culture. We are extremely anxious to discover this nation which is five time the size of Italy and also a former Italian colony in the 1930’s. The first pleasant surprise for us, is to finally been able to drink great coffee. Since we started this journey around the world it has been very difficult to find such amazing coffee as we found here in Ethiopia. Another positive note for us, is the lack of private cars in this country. People are all walking by the side of the roads and the main mean of transport are the little Tuk-Tuk and small wooden chariots pulled by donkeys. The lack of private cars don’t eliminate the danger of driving. The streets are full of loose animals such as cows, donkeys, and of course goats and sheep. Also camels are very common working animal in Ethiopia. They are all over. All of these animals are wondering freely in the middle of the roads making our driving somewhat more challenging than other countries we have crossed in the past. Most of Ethiopia is formed by highlands. We rarely were driving below 1500 meters above sea level. The average roads are between 2000 and 3200 meters above sea level. Luckily for us we are in Ethiopia during dry season therefore many river beds we had to cross were without water.
Driving through these highlands, the first impression is that the main economy is based on agricultural produces. The main produces are coffee and vegetables.
We also noticed a ton of people carrying yellow plastic containers which are used to gather water from wells around the villages. it appears to us that this is definitely one of the main jobs carried on by woman and children.
We entered Ethiopia from Moyale. The first 100 KM of Road were half descent until Yabelo. After that we started to take our usual secondary roads which were rocky, dusty and pretty hard on our motorcycles. So hard that i broke my rear shock absorber. From that point onward my driving conditions in Ethiopia was really terrible. We reached Lake Chamo, and consequently drove through Arba Minch and Shashemene.
Shashemene is a place that Matteo really wanted to visit because it is believed to be the ” Promise Land” for the followers of the Rastas Religion. The town wasn’t really what we expected to be therefore the following morning we left again direction Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has been very interesting when interacting with locals. We were treated like real “movie stars” every time we had a break along the road. In minutes we were surrounded by ton of people of all ages. All were staring at us like we came from another planet.