We discovered when we reached the airport to fly from Axum to Gondar that our flight had been moved an hour earlier. Luckily we were there in plenty of time – we had been calling to confirm our other flights and had even been told before going to Lalibela that all flights were confirmed! We managed to make our flight, which stopped briefly in Lalibela again before delivering us to Gondar. Gondar is not the most beautiful town now but it is famous for its history and its castle – we spent our afternoon wandering around the castle complex which is a collection of different buildings, all in various states of ruin.
We also made our way to Fasiladis’ Bath, a peaceful and serene bath that is still used for religious ceremonies. This was a very chilled and relaxed place to spend some time – we followed this up with one of the best macchiatos that we found in the North.
The next morning, we went on a trip to Kosoye, which is about half an hour from Gondar. From here you can see the Simien mountains (pictured above), as well as colobus monkeys and gelada baboons. We spent time hiking around here and exploring (despite my vow of no more hiking) – it was a bit overpriced for what it was (350 birr each) but we didn’t feel so bad when we met other tourists who paid over 1000 birr each to do the same thing. This is one of the challenges of travelling – sometimes you just don’t know what things should cost and you just have to hope that you aren’t being ripped off!
The trip also included a very underwhelming visit to the Felasha village – Ethiopian Jewish people used to live there but almost all have relocated to Israel and the village is now just a few stalls with handcrafts and the homes of the remaining villagers.
In the afternoon we saw the beautiful Debre Berhan Selassie church, which has a ceiling with angels looking down at you (as well as a scene of the prophet Mohamed being led to hell on a camel – not your typical church art!) The art on the walls here is very typically Ethiopian in style and the church is set in peaceful grounds – it was another quiet oasis, like Fasiladis’ Bath.
After this it was time for a macchiato, so we headed to a hotel overlooking the main square. There seemed to be some kind of demonstration going on but we couldn’t quite work out the meaning behind it so we just relaxed and drank our coffee…and after a short time, the crowd dispersed and things were back to normal. A side note – Gondar has its fair share of touts and children asking for money/chocolate/a pen etc. We didn’t love the actual town but it is definitely worth seeing the things there, and if you can manage to speak a bit of Amharic your stress levels will go down exponentially as people all over Ethiopia respond extremely graciously to even small attempts!