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From Addis to Zanzibar

Now I’m here – at Mercury’s café in Zanzibar - on a seaside rendezvous with the love of my life.

It feels good to smell the ocean again after a long and dusty trip. Watching the scene in front of me – a football fight between the local kids - I imagine young Freddie playing the game on these beaches many years ago just as the...

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Names of places can put a spell on you even long before (if ever) you visit them. When you hear them for the first time and before you even know where exactly they are to be found on a map they perform some kind of magic in your head and from that moment onwards a somewhat romanticised image will remain attached with the name forever (or until you ...

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Meeting Simba and friends

Serengeti National Park was maybe one of the most anticipated travel destinations on our trip as a place that evokes all kind of adventurous associations: wildbeests crossing Grumeti River captured by famous National Geographic photographers, or lionesses hunting gazelles as seen in documentaries on rainy November afternoons, or the cliché v...

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4.45 am at 4552 metres above sea level, Elena hut. According to circumstances we had a relatively warm night. The silhouette of a thick down jacket appears in the door. Our cook has prepared porridge – on time – for the first time. A good omen? Our bags are packed and we are only a steamy bowl of oats away from setting off to climb Margherita Peak,...

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Prim(at)e time

When I was a kid and we went to the zoo I always loved to watch the monkeys. Of course, I would never have admitted that I preferred the monkeys over other animals because that would have been like admitting one favours Messi (or here in Africa rather Drogba or Eto’o) – it would have been just too commonplace a choice. But still, I liked to watch t...

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The taste of the Nile

One and a half centuries ago John Speke stood on a hill near Lake Victoria and watched the water tumbling down some rapids which he was to name the Rippon Falls. It was the long sought source of the White Nile. The falls have long gone – submersed by the Owen dam project – and although there is not much to see now the place retains a magical attrac...

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Time to change your dressing style

Beauty is a curious phenomenon. Admittedly, there are shared criteria as youth, soft skin or symmetry that are preferred by most human kinds. But when it comes to clothes, accessories and hair style one wonders about the variety of taste, fashion and cultural differences. If you have visited the North of Ethiopia (or any third world country really)...

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Cultural exchange rate

Having only eight days left before a plane would take us to Uganda and our heads still full of ideas of what to see and do in the South during the last days of our Ethiopia trip we opt once more to rent our own means of transport for a full week. The well maintained landcruiser came with the friendly driver Masfen who had recently changed his busin...

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Do not drink and fish

I happily raised the camera when I saw the big, fat crocodiles dotting the shoreline of Lake Chamo and bravely asked our captain if maybe we could go even a bit closer for a better shot. The captain nodded and shortly afterwards I realised that this beach full of crocodiles was as a matter of fact our targeted landing place. Now, I got a little ner...

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Unhappy with your job?

Are you unhappy with your job? Feeling a bit stressed out lately? Then the following position as a salt breaker at the Lake Assal salt mine might be an interesting opportunity for you.

For this challenging job you need good stamina and advanced knowledge of Neolithic tools. Afar language skills would be an asset. Wages paid are proba...

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The hottest place on earth

In the friendly town of Mekele we drank two latte macchiato while balancing our possibilities to spend 20’000 Birr (1’200 dollars). Either we could order another 5’000 macchiatos or invest in a three day trip to the Danakil depression instead. As I am trying to reduce my coffee consumption (see first blog) we opted for the second option.

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Kings and priests

Have you ever been wondering where the original Ark of the Covenant could be today? Somehow this rather important question has never surfaced in my ten official years of Christian education – or otherwise I have forgotten it. Well, it is here in Aksum, Ethiopia. And this is why this entry starts in Aksum – eventhough this is not in correspondence w...

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Abyssinian abysses

Have you ever heard about the Simien Mountains? If not, imagine something like the Grand Canyon without viewing platforms and fewer tourists. This is where we spent this year’s Christmas – walking along sheer cliffs and peeking down Abyssinian abysses.

Our scout doesn’t speak a word of English, but he knows the way. Even trying to in...

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At the source of the Nile

It’s strange indeed. One stiff night in an overcrowded airplane (see our last blog) and a hassle free 10-hour bus ride on one of Ethiopia’s better roads have brought us here to Bahir Dar. Now, I am sitting in this cosy garden of the Ghion Hotel watching hornbills philandering while Nico is trying to wrap our plan- and responsibility-free 4 months i...

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Arriving in Addis

I don’t know if there are any hand luggage regulations in place at Ethiopian Airlines but if there are they are certainly not enforced very enthusiastically. Every passenger (except us) seemed to have brought about as many trolleys, backpacks and bags as they could possibly carry or drag along and it seemed impossible to fit everything in the overh...

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The view from the window

Not long ago I bought a new camera as I wanted to be ready to take great pictures of elephants roaming the African steppe if indeed one day I would make it to the black continent. One of the first pictures I took was a test shot out of my apartment window. The scene - not very spectacular - consisted only of rooftops covered with snow on the other ...

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