Roadtrip Day 12: Discovering the Market in Gondar

Monday 15th January, 2018

Todays trip 63 km, 1 hour

With the Ethiopian party season upon us, it is time for a new dress!

While Mike and Frank head to the Tay hotel for a coffee, followed by an early beer, Lina and I hit the local market with John, Lina’s brother, to shop for my party dress. So, comfortable shoes on, we hit the road.

We take a bajaj and arrive at the large open air market. This market is the biggest in Gondar. It is very busy, pedestrians intermingle with bajaj and horse drawn carts, making their way slowly through and around the large number of stalls.

Gondar Market

I love markets, the smells of spices and food, the noise of people haggling, and the amazing sights. You can get everything here; from stick toothbrushes to clay coffee pots, from donkeys to party dresses. The usual wide selection of plastic containers, tin cookware, clothes, towels, rugs, furniture….

John selecting a new toothbrush

The market has both shops as well as more temporary stalls. There are dedicated areas for different items.

We head into the dress section, and it is nice to note that even here there are “husband seats” at each dress stall. I try on a couple of dresses provoking much hilarity amongst the store owners. John patiently sits on the husband seat while Lina and I debate colours and designs.

All dresses are white, with a range of embroidered designs, and come complete with matching scarfs. Alterations are no problem and done on the spot.

Trying on dresses, this is not the one I bought though!

With our purchase in the bag, we head back to the Tay hotel to meet up with the men. For lunch we go to the Dashen Brewery, a boutique brewery which also serves great food. Frank is a big softy and ends up sharing his roast chicken with a very friendly local cat.

We leave Gondar to spent the next couple of days at Gorgora, a small village on the shores of Lake Tana. We stop on the way at Lina’s village to drop off some furniture. We will come back here for a home stay in a couple of days, so watch this space!!!

Then we check into our villa on Lake Tana, which hasn’t been touched or cleaned since the 1970’s. we sit around our camp fire and relax with a bedele (beer) and ambo & coke enjoying the sunset. The night sky is amazing here, stars everywhere, including shooting stars!

Sunset over Lake Tana

Trip Details and Tips:

Accomodation: Mengistu’s villa at the Gongora Port Hotel

Tip: Shopping in the markets of Ethiopia is the same as everywhere else. Be prepared to haggle, and enjoy the process in the full knowledge that you probably still pay well over the odds!

Great items to buy: horsehair fly squatters, coffee pots, the big white cotton wraps known as “gabi”, embroidered items, and coffee & spices (unless you go back to Australia or New Zealand).

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