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Wojciech's Travel log

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You can lose everything, but nobody will take away what you saw and what you experienced...

Log entries 21 - 30 of 2443 Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Mar 07, 2021 12:00 AM How can I buy the proper bus ticket?

How can I buy the proper bus ticket? They build here in Addis 20-storey hotels but they do not have the bus terminal for travel to their provinces... I recognized that on the corrner of Meskel Square near Estepanos church many intercity bus companies have ticket-selling agencies located in the poor shacks. Nowadays quality Selam Bus do not go to the north where I am heading because tribal tensions so I was looking for Valiya Bus. I found 3 young ladies in the shack... - I need a ticket for Monday's bus to Waldia! They did not speak English. I used the calendar, pen and paper to explain. I got a ticket for 478 birr. But the date on the ticket was completely different - they still use traditional Ethiopian calendar. uuu. Where is the time of departure? She said: ten. -Ten o'clock in the morning? Yes, but Ethopian time! Ufff, confusion, the time they use is 6 hours ahead of international time for this zone! So i will be departing at 4 am!
I switched on my smartphone an they showed me on the map parking in front of Shebelle restaurant, near Mexico junction. We will see if it works! :)

Mar 06, 2021 12:00 AM The only tourist in Addis Ababa

The only tourist in Addis Ababa From the top terrace of my hotel there is a nice panoramic view of Addis - see picture. Today I spent 5 hours walking around the capital of Ethiopia. I started from the Holy Trinity Cathedral surrounded by the cemetery of noble Ethiopians. The parliament building is just nearby, but it is forbidden to photograph. Then I went down to Churchill Street - once the main and most representative. Today it is grey and dusty with deteriorated building of the National Theatre. Following uphill I found the monument of the Imperial Lion - it still exists, but surrounded by the piles of garbage. The only positive surprise was the Gare at the end of the street - former station of the Ethiopia - Djibouti railway. Once ruined now it is restored and converted into the café. Plants and flowers around... and the great view of the new Addis skyline... Friendly Ethiopians invited me to drink coffee with them. Thank you for the interesting talk! In the afternoon I took the long walk via Africa Ave to Bole. In this street you will find the only supermarkets in European meaning. The can of sardines cost me 51 birr and the round box of Laughing Cow cheese - 52. During my whole todays walk I didn't meet any other tourist!

Mar 06, 2021 12:00 AM Addis Ababa after 45 years...

Addis Ababa after 45 years... I must adjust to the altitude... Addis Ababa lies on the level 2350 m above the sea! Strong sun shines during the day, but in the night temperature drops down to 12 degrees Celsius!
When I was here in 1976 it was rather quiet, low-rise city. Now they built here 20-storey hotels and apartment houses. That's what I see from my window: traditional life in the single-story houses under the palms and the skyscrapers just behind them. But they still do not have the street numbers and side-streets has no names. So the best way to find my White House Hotel is to say "100 m behind Abissynia restaurant". This traditional restaurant is well known (not for me) and has uniforned guards at the gate - see picture.
A lot of poverty is visible on the streets. But the beggars are not aggressive. A big roll in the bakery costs 12 birr, kilo of bananas - 25 birr. I will survive!
For one USD they pay 40 birrs.

Mar 04, 2021 12:00 AM Smell of Africa

Smell of Africa The express train to Vienna aiport cost me 4.20 euro - I was running to the main hall of Hauptbanhof to buy the ticket. It is the shame, that they do not install any ticket machines on the wide platforms! Rude train attendent asked me to wear seciall model of the face mask - FFsomething. Are they crazy? 17 minutes later I reached deserted VIE airport. Depressing view - only one check-in stand open! They checked my COVID test. OK! No single shop or bar open! Ethiopian dreamliner was dirty - so you know that they transport Africans. 6 hours flight, one hot meal, two beers (their wine is very weak). We landed in Addis at sunrise. Visa on arrival costs 50 USD. Welcome to Black Africa! Yes, this continent has a special smell. I bargained with the taxi driver - he took me for 150 birr to my little hotel in the no-name street with no pavement and full of water holes. Local ladies bake the coffee beans on the side walk. I need the rest!

Mar 03, 2021 12:00 AM Across Poland by train...

Across Poland by train... It was still dark when I boarded the train in Gdansk at 6 am. Why train? You know that I am the budget traveller! And I found the cheap connection. First to Warsaw, then to the southern border of Poland - I was not sure if my second train heading to Budapest will cross the border or I will walk from last Polish station in Chalupki. Lucky me! As the only passenger in the car I went through the frontier to Bohumin - first station in Czech Republic. Nobody controlled me! But I saw on the bridges over border river Olza Polish police squads blocking the entrance for Czechs to Poland....Because the pandemic - so high in Czech Rp... My train did not continue to Budapest...
Ok, I am now at the Bohumin station waiting for the train to Vienna. I hope this one will depart!
In Vienna there will be very limited time for the transfer to the airport. Fortunately I have already the boarding pass! Let's hope and be optimistic. New adventure just started! :)

Mar 02, 2021 12:00 AM New voyage starts tomorrow!

New voyage starts tomorrow! These were probably the most difficult waiting hours in my life. The backpack was lying next to me - already packed, and I still didn't know if I will go. I waited with my nerves for the result of the PCR test, which is necessary to open the for me the way to Ethiopia. The test could not be done too early, because it is only valid for a certain number of hours. To make matters worse, two days earlier, after injecting me with the first dose of the COVID vaccine, I got a high temperature and symptoms similar to those I experienced while ill with COVID in November. I was afraid that the disease had come back to me after all... I have just picked up the test result and breathed a sigh - it is good!.
I was in Ethiopia for the first time in 1976 - 45 years ago! The Ethiopian-Eritrean war was going on then and not all provinces of this interesting country were available to foreigners. Since then, I thought about going back to Ethiopia to see at least the unique rock churches in Lalibela. And here I go - against the pandemic and all adversities. The design of my route is marked on the map with a blue line.

Feb 22, 2021 12:00 AM Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland Finally we have white winter in Gdansk! The sun is shining and we have the temperature just few degrees below zero. My Wojtkówka (see picture) sleeps under the snow.
And I am counting days till my covid vaccination date.
Why? I plan to escape just after ... :)

Jan 29, 2021 12:00 AM View from the window

View from the window It is snowing today in Gdansk. I am watching the winter landscape through my window (see picture) thinking about the next voyages. They will be possible only after I will be vaccinated against covid. I already signed for, but the first available term was on the last day of February. So I must be patient... Let's be optimistic!

Jan 25, 2021 12:00 AM Back in sweet home, but quarantined

Back in sweet home, but quarantined When I landed in Warsaw it was obligatory to go through the immigration control. The young lady (she could be my granddaughter) who was in charge was arrogant and not ready for any discussion. - You have to stay 10 days at home on quarantine! - But I am already covid convalescent and the test confirm that I have antigens and as result I am covid - resistant! No discussion!
So I took the flight to the grey Gdansk. The temperature in my city was plus 1 deg. Celsius. Days are still short... Now I can only remember the palm trees of Egypt, the blue sea and the sunny desert. It is hight time to plan the new expedition. When and where to? Who knows? But I am optimistic!

Jan 23, 2021 12:00 AM Flying to the snow...

Flying to the snow... Transfer from the hotel to the Hurghada airport is included, but they wanted to be ready at 4.30 am! It is one bus collecting passengers from many hotels one by one.
We reached the airport before the sunrise - at 5.30. I passed through the first screening just at the entrance, then check-in. They wanted the covid insurance document for Ukraine - even if I will be only in the Kiev airport! Fortunately I had one, valid just the last day.
Do not forget to take from check-in window the departure card. Once you'll fill it you can go to the passport control.
Second security screen is terrible - they wanted me to take the shoes off (no metal in the shoes at all). There were a lot of body touching - not a pleasure, then they collected all liquids from the packed breakfast I received in the hotel.
Finally I was able to enter new departure hall. The flight was on time and was full. It was the same 767 I arrived to Hurghada, but I had now a little better seat.
After 4 hours in the air we landed in snowy Kiev. Bye-bye African sunshine!! I am waiting for the connection to Warsaw.

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