This past weekend Elizabeth and I went on our first adventure outside Gondar to a village called Gorgora. Gorgora is located south of Gondar on the north shore of Lake Tana. It was a lovely weekend getaway and I wanted to share a glimpse of our experience with you.
We left the guesthouse bright and early on Saturday morning to get to the bus station by 5:30a. When we arrived at the bus station, it was dark and many people were standing outside the bus station’s gates waiting for them to open. When they eventually opened, everyone hurried into the station to find their bus. Elizabeth and I wandered about asking for ‘Gorgora’ and within minutes, we found the right minibus. We boarded the minibus and waited about an hour until the bus driver deemed the minibus ‘full’ and ready to depart for Gorgora. After a brief pit stop to fill the car’s tires with air, we were off!
At ~6:30a on a Saturday, most of Gondar is still sleeping and all the tuck shops are closed and roads empty. We quickly made our way through the city and out into the countryside. The drive was absolutely beautiful – very green, with rolling hills, farmland, and cattle. I enjoyed passing through the various villages along the way, watching women make coffee, children playing soccer in the street, and groups of older boys all huddled around a foosball table. It was nice to see the rural landscape and get a sense for the lifestyle in the surrounding villages.
Apparently the road to Gorgora was completed last year, so the drive only took about 1.5 hours. The paved road literally ends when you arrive in Gorgora and approach the lake. Elizabeth and I hopped out of the minibus and asked around for the location of our accommodation – Tim and Kim’s Lodge. A friendly local accompanied us on a 10-15 minute walk to the lodge, which is nestled on a hill with wonderful views of Lake Tana.
Elizabeth and I spent the next day and a half in awe of Gorgora – beautiful views, warm weather, and good company. We read books, laid on the rocks basking in the sun, went swimming, played board games, ate delicious food, and conversed with the other guests. It was very peaceful and relaxing!
On Sunday morning, I decided to go on a walk to explore the village and surrounding areas. When I approached the main village road, I could hear singing and music. I knew our fellow study coordinator, Adino, was in Gorgora for the weekend attending one of his friend’s weddings. I assumed the music was coming from the wedding and followed the dirt road until I reached the Church (and Adino!). When I arrived, the wedding guests and bride and groom were in a procession from the Church to the reception at a nearby hotel. I briefly said hello to Adino and then ventured to the Debre Sina Maryam Church, which was truly stunning and worth the visit. It was built in the 1600s and is located right on the shore of Lake Tana. The Church is still covered by a thatched roof, which gives it an impressive, ancient feel.
On Sunday afternoon, Elizabeth and I decided to return to Gondar. We again walked to the main road, where we waited about 10-15 minutes for a minibus to arrive. We piled into the minibus and returned to Gondar, picking up various passengers at villages along the way. It’s impressive (and somewhat concerning) how many people can be squeezed into one minibus.
When we arrived in Gondar, Elizabeth and I joked about how urban the city felt after spending 2 days in the countryside. A city we normally describe as very manageable and peaceful, seemed to be bustling with people, cars, shops, etc.! It’s funny how easily you can get accustomed to new scenery.