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Leaving Vienna For The Hadj

Lake Tana & Bahir Dar from a Plane, Ethiopia

Lake Tana & Bahir Dar from a Plane, Ethiopia

The always extremely busy Turkish Airlines check-in at Vienna Airport underwent its ultimate test. A large group of pilgrims was heading for Jeddah. Putting this behind, we soon were in for new cultural experience. The restroom at the gate was packed with mostly elderly pilgrims. Skillfully, they lifted their feet into the washbasin, giving them a good scrub. Weirdly, none of this could be observed during our five hour stop over at Istanbul Airport.

Arriving in Addis Abeba after midnight, we had two options: crashing five hours on a hard chair in the chilly arrival hall of Bole Airport for our early morning flight to Bahir Dar, or finding a bed. The latter seemed more attractive. So we put down our heads in a horrid and run down, overpriced hole near the airport: the Airport Motel.

Exactly 24 hours after leaving Vienna, we touched down in Bahir Dar early morning. “No matter where you go, it takes a day!” Even 25 years after Heidi first picked up this saying from a very experienced Norwegian traveler, it is still true.

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