Rest Day - Gondar
A good sleep and excellent breakfast at the Lodge du Chateau; even better to renew acquaintance with Simon Yigzaw, proprietor. This really is a neat place to stay, and Gondar itself is so interesting.
Remembered to commence the re-charging* of all the various electronic gizmos and related batteries which burden my daily bag to maximum weight. Got my Ethiopian SIM card and airtime squared away in short order, laundry in the works, a couple of minor shopping items checked off, macchiato on a terrace overlooking the Piazza with people-watching thrown in all completed by late morning. Headed up the hill to the Goha Hotel and TDA group; lunch and chatting with a few of the riders and crew; bike cleaning/maintenance completed. Again sorted through permanent vs daily bag and what goes into which (really don’t know why I do this every rest day, but it seems that I do).
*... I do carry a small solar panel for recharging, but given my usual arrival times into camp on riding days, it’s typically only enough to maintain status quo on the iPhone, not actually recharge it to any significant degree. So spare battery packs are a must on this trip.
Headed back down the hill to visit the castles for which Gondar is known. I wanted to see again the Royal Enclosure, the remains of a fortress-city, founded in the 17th century by Emperor Fasilides and home of Ethiopia's Emperors. Unique in Africa, the site was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I got there late afternoon in just the right light; hardly any other visitors and had a good wander about. This is the thing with ‘rest days’ ... not enough hours in the day!
Met up with Jim, Jolien and Brigitta at the Four Sisters Restaurant for a good Ethiopian meal. Walked back to LdC in last light along quiet cobbled lanes, smelling coffee, with popcorn and incense accompanying, being roasted over charcoal braziers. Very Ethiopian.
Set alarm again for early ... need to be back up the hill well before 06:00 to get daily bag loaded, water bottles filled and bike re-checked all in time for riders meeting, breakfast, and then we start out again on the road.