Saturday, January 14, 2012

The idea

As if there hasn’t been written more than enough about everything that can possibly be written about, I will once more add to the vast amount of text on the internet. I enjoy blogging, it forces me to be even more observant than I normally am, as to ensure that there is always something to talk about. After Haiti, Indochina and Lebanon, the subject of this blog is going to be a trip through the Horn of Africa, or at least those parts that are relatively accessible (and that excludes, fortunately, most of Somalia, and unfortunately, Eritrea, which has closed all its boundaries with its neighbours).

Apart from a short work trip three years ago, it has been over 20 years ago that I have been to the sub-Saharan part of Africa. My wife Sofia has never been there, yet. So, time to go to Africa, to ensure the necessary variation in our travel experiences – we might just get bored otherwise, no?

Whoever I tell about the idea of going to the Horn - mostly Ethiopia, really - looks at me with a blank stare, before asking why on earth I want to go there. Well, from what I have read so far, it is a fascinating country with a huge variety of interests, from desert landscape at the bottom of the Great African Rift Valley, 150 m below sea level and probably the hottest place on earth (now that is attractive!!) and spectacular mountain scenery in several natural reserves, to ancient Christian cultures complete with rock-hewn churches and mountain-top monasteries and colourful African tribal life that doesn’t come more authentic than here. Apart from that, I have had a longstanding desire to go to Djibouti, never mind that everybody who knows the place tells me it’s not worth it, and I found out that part of Somalia, namely Somaliland, is actually quite OK to travel, and reportedly contains some of the oldest, most beautiful, yet least touristic (why would that be?) rock paintings in Africa. I’ll try to cover all of that, in the coming months, in words and in pictures, perhaps with the occasional reference to historical context, to present day relevance, or simply to trivialities that I find worthwhile mentioning. Whether I will be able to post as regularly as I did in the past remains to be seen, as electricity and internet access may be less frequent and less reliable, than in some other parts of the world.

So, as always, watch this space if you are interested. And if not, you have the freedom to surf away or log off, no offense taken.

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