Napier Trek - Rest Run
We stayed that night in the tired provincial town of Dessie already missing the open spaces, nevertheless enjoying pastries, shops and a few rounds of beer and ouzo.
Fri 28 Nov
Continued south crossing some misty highland reminding us of the Lake District in autumn, and eventually on to Addis.
The evening provided a rare chance for me to go out for dinner. Oliver and I headed for one of the best restaurants in town and enjoyed delicious food and wine with all the familiar trimmings and trappings we’d expect at home: starched white uniforms and table clothes, shining cutlery and glasses, polished furniture, subtle lighting. I think we paid about US$100 for the two of us probably as much as I had spent on food in the previous two months. Still, it does you good to have a fling occasionally.
Sat 29 Nov
The morning began with a chrome café croissants and multicoloured fruit juices. I caught up with some banking, copying photos to CD and writing postcards. We collected our running numbers and souvenir tee-shirts, sadly too small but soon rectified when we told a boy in the street that his was too big for him and persuaded him to swap. Unfortunately Mark had his wallet stolen and with Michelle spent a couple of hours trying to get a police report. They weren’t in the mood for exploring the Mecatto so we went and cooled off in the Ghion pool instead.
That evening we went out for a farewell meal with Oliver in the company of national dancers and some international runners, including Paul Tergat, the marathon world record holder.
Sun 30 Nov - (See also Great
Ethiopian food is probably not the best substitute for pre-race pasta. Mark, Michelle and I all felt rather fragile as we prepared for the Great Ethiopian Run (10k at 2400m). Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie were on the starting podium to see us off. It was hot and hard. Two weeks trekking may have achieved certain fitness but this demanded something else. At 4km Mark went on ahead (or as he puts it Michelle and I started walking). We were grateful for the occasional showers courtesy of local shop owners and the municipal fire hydrants. We walked up the hill between 7km and 8km and then I happily let Michelle go on ahead. I finished in 67mins and proudly collected my medal delighted to have achieved another of my objectives.
After brunch we loaded up the Land Cruiser and headed south to the rift valley lakes. We stayed that night on the shores of Lake Lengano and enjoyed swims at sunset and sunrise.
Mon 1 - Wed 3 Dec
We took three more days enjoying the lakes and birds and generally relaxing after our hard trek. The highlight for me was tucking in to pizzas at a popular middle-class restaurant in student town Awasa. On Wednesday evening I said farewell to Mark and Michelle and packed my bag, tomorrow I would be once more travelling on my own.
Napier Trek - Rest Run