Gonder, Rest Days
As I arrived at the hotel in Gonder in the TDA ambulance and on an I V it was not my priority to go and be a tourist !!
I spent the first night drinking lots of water, eating healthy food and generally trying to relax and sleep, by morning I felt a little better but by no means back to my best, my legs were still wobbly and I still felt vacant, it meant a day of R & R, fortunately the hotel had a lounge to relax in and fairly good Wi Fi , I therefore spent my day uploading all my photos to Facebook, emailing, blogging and in the meantime the hotel took care of the laundry.
By the time the evening came I felt well enough to join other riders on a trip to an Ethiopian restaurant. We arrived to find a wedding in full progress, the restaurant was therefore full but they made us welcome and set up tables in the carpark. The food was not entirely to my taste but we did get invited into the wedding for a bit of dancing 😉
The following day I was still not 100% so again took it easy until lunch, Naomi convinced me to go and see Gonder castle with her. I’m so glad to have made the effort as it truly is a beautiful place, built around the 1600’s and added to over the next 200 years it is now a complex of 5 castles, they are all different and mostly in fairly good order. Unesco has it listed as a heritage site and is about to start more renovations, this can only be a good a thing 😉
The evening saw most riders eating at the hotel due to the normal early start in the morning, we paid our bill before bed so as not to be in a queue in the morning and had an early night.
Stage 24, Gonder to Farm Camp
Not perfect but much better !!
117km, two big climbs, one before lunch and one after lunch, rolling hills in between…..the road surface was almost perfect and the weather was cool in the morning but scorching in the afternoon. Add to that the incredible scenery and it all makes for a fantastic days riding !!
Our normal group started together, we were in no real hurry so just rolled out and got into a reasonable pace, Gus wasn’t feeling great and Eerin was back on her bike after several days of being ill, no point pushing to hard. Getting out of Gonder was mainly downhill through the main town then out into the more scruffy part of town, road side shops selling all sorts, people everywhere and kids on there way to school….most were friendly and shouted encouragement or just shouted welcome, the occasional kid picked up a rock but we escaped into the country without harm.
Once out of town the ride started for real, we’d done 15km in fumes and dust and were glad of the fresh air, the rolling hills spread out in front of us and some tested our legs but we soon warmed to the job and were soon at the foot of the first major climb. I cycle faster uphill than the others and set off with the intention of seeing them at lunch which was pretty much after the downhill on the other side of the hill !!
As predicted I was waiting for them at lunch, it was a special lunch as we now have avocado !! Again after lunch we set of together, more rolling hills, great scenery and the heat was rising, water would be important again today.
After about 20km another rider who’d been ill over the rest days cycled onto our wheels, even ill he was faster than our group and soon went past us, I was worried about him as he seemed to be pushing hard. I went with him leaving my normal group. Together we went up the next major climb, I made sure that he was behind me and stopped the water truck to make sure he had plenty of water. We crested the hill and now only had about 30km to go, most of it downhill, we stopped for a coke stop with about 23km to go and met up with Stephan and Dara. We left before them, the next 23km were on flat roads but with a head or side wind, I sat on front for most of it and we finally made camp at about 1.30pm, a great ride as we all knew it would be 😉
The usual routine of camp followed, tents, dinner, rider meetings and bike maintenance, bed will be early again even though tomorrow’s ride is short at 61km…..almost a day off 😉
Stage 25, Farm Camp to Bahir Dar
Ride to rest !
Like I said, today’s stage is short at 61km, the route is rolling hills and again we have a rest day to look forward to 😉
Breakfast finished, plates washed and out on the road just after 7.30, we, our little group took it easy to start with and had probably gone about 15 to 20km before I got restless and decided to increase my pace, I caught a few people after a while and was feeling good then Vince passed me and I tried to stay with him, I only managed to keep with him for about 5km before he proved to strong. I continued on my own until the finish at the Dib Ambessa Hotel in Bahir Dar, believe it or not they let you camp on the roof !!
The scenery on route was stunning and with no trouble from the kids today it was a very pleasurable ride, it was good to push myself a little harder than normal 😉
At the hotel the TDA crew were serving lunch in the courtyard, I went to book a room, took all my stuff to the third floor only to find that the shower didn’t work, ten minutes later I’d got a new room overlooking the courtyard and with a shower that works !!
Naomi showed up about two hours later and after she’d sorted herself out we joined a group of riders on a trip to the Blue Nile Water Falls. Although the falls are much better in the rainy season and we were told that there wouldn’t be much water I decided to go anyway. I’ll probably never get the chance to go again so thought it would be a good trip. There were 13 of us, the mini bus was fairly comfortable which made the one hour journey on unmade roads bearable. Once there we took a short boat ride across the Nile, it’s not very wide here, and then a fifteen minute walk to the falls. I found it more impressive than I expected, a 45m drop of fairly powerful water gave you a good idea of what it would be like in full flow.
Lots of photos later we headed back to the bus and then back to the hotel, we joined another group for dinner and ended up in a place called Starbacks Restaurant. Burgers, fries and beers were the order of the day, the food was good and the price low, all in all a very enjoyable day.
Tomorrow is a full day off and with nothing planned and no maintenance to do I plan to relax !!