Gonder is our entrance to the Simien Mountains, where we’ll be trekking for the next few days.

Gonder is known for its medieval castle in the center of town, the royal enclosure. Which, is strange indeed to see similar architectural stylings as we might in Ireland. Visiting the castles filled a easy morning, wandering freely about the grounds, climbing up steps to overlook the city, and appreciating the perfect level of ruin. For us, the derelict buildings that hold just enough resemblance to their former glory without so much rebuilding that it seems fake.

An unexpected adventure brought us out if the city to Dashen Brewery. Though a taxi would cost $2-3 each way we opted to take the cheaper ($.15) minibus. Mostly, because it was meant to be the simplest option (it was very easy) and partly because we wanted to reassure ourselves that we could still hack it travel wise, that we hadn’t grown soft in our “old age.” Of course, taking a crammed minibus for 25 minutes is not exactly impressive, nor is opting for ground transportation back to Addis instead if flying. But, it was slight reassurance our intrepid nature was there when we needed it.

The brewery and beer garden was pleasant, ripe with a green lawn, shading trees, and overflowing with locals, expats, and travelers. We drank two pints each, with a total bill of $2.20 and headed back to our hotel.
In the morning, we will drive out of the city to begin our five day trek in the mountains, one of the main reasons we came to Ethiopia in the first place.


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