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Ethiopia – On the way to Omo valley – transfer to Gonder

Royal enclosure at Gonder. North,  Ethiopia. At the morning I have meeting with Sami. He is the owner of a car we want to rent on the way to Omo valley. I am at the time at our meeting point in front of Baro hotel. He is waiting for me. Other tourist guides try to offer their service but I do not want. I am leaving with Sami to his office. Discussing my plan to Omo and conditions of the contract. Everything is perfect. I will start my trip to Omo after 4 days, after Timkat holiday.

Timkat is something special so today I am going to move to Gonder to see celebration. Timkat is celebrated through whole country (well Christian part of the country) but three places attracts more pilgrims than others. Addis Abeba, Gonder, and Lalibela are these three places. Last year I visited Timkat at Lalibela so this year is time for change. That’s why I want to go to Gonder to see celebration inside Fasiladas’ Baths.

Next step for me is transfer back to airport. Yesterday I went to city and now I am leaving. I hope to have more time at Addis after Timkat. I am coming to airport (35 birr by taxi after short bargain) well advanced to have enough time to check-in. Ethiopian Airlines are efficient and great company but during festival and holiday time I afraid that airport will be a little bit chaotic. Unfortunately I am right. There is a big group of passengers bumped from morning flight. I am refused at check-in because I did not reconfirmed my noon flight. But this is not right. I reconfirmed by email with Ethiopian Airlines headquarter at Addis but I forgot to print my reconfirmation email. What a situation. I try to discuss with check-in employer but I have no chance. Only my boss can reconfirm your ticket is his answer. I wait for about a long nervous hour. I need to flight today because tomorrow is 19 January the first day of Timkat. I am lucky. After an hour I get place at plane. I have boarding card at my hand so I am winner.

Flight to Gonder is short about one hour. Fokker F50 of Ethiopian Airlines is fine and also on-board service is excellent. Small snack and cola is fine refreshment. Airport is about 20 kilometers outside town so I take place at minibus (35 birr). On the way to town we are meeting big procession. People sing ad dance and follow the road to Gonder. Driver stops near Fasiladas’ Baths and leave us all to see dancing of people who are ready here for Timkat celebration. Baths are completely full of pilgrims and many people are still coming. Watching this gather is amazing. You can feel energy of the people in the air. This Baths are most important for Timkat. Here I must come tomorrow early morning.

Last few kilometers to the town is seasy. What is not easy is to find place to sleep. Most of the hotels are full or completely closed. Last chance is Terara Hotel on the small hill. Also full. I am little depressed. I fight for the place at plane to star evening with new problem. Well driver is nice guy and took me to small local unsigned guesthouse. They have available small room. Great, I am staying here. It is evening now so just time to take dinner and go to sleep. Tomorrow I have to be about 5 am at Fasiladas’ Baths. I need to be fresh.


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