Asmara - Keren May 28th 2001
Knowing we are going to Keren this afternoon I
have to find some places of interest for just this morning. I wonder how they
are getting on with the locomotives at the Asmara railway station & depot.
I remember the first time when I visited the station. Feeling very guilty, as
if I was entering someone else his house without permission. This time it is
as if I walk in every day.
Walking to the right side of the depot, I see a
shed for the 1954 German industrial locomotive and the traditional Italian
railcar. The technicians have made great progress. The trains looks as if they
are ready to leave the station. I have been told that the reconstruction of the
railway is approaching Nefasit, so the trains may be leaving Asmara station at
the end of this year.
I think it will be a tremendous attraction for
future tourism, and so do some US journalists who are visiting the place this
same morning. I decide I will book the trip to the Dahlak Islands, which will
include the trip by rail from Ghinda to Massawa.
On the left side of the depot the steam trains
are under repair. Two of them look as if they are operational. Its a
miracle how the Eritreans have build up these locomotives out of scrap. I
hope I will make the trip from Asmara to Massawa with one of them in 2002.
After making pictures of the entire depot (also
for Ralph Reinhold, who made an impressive set of web pages about the
Eritrean railways) I return to our apartment to do some packing to go to Keren.
At the bus station it is very crowded. Hundreds
of people are waiting for the bus to take them to Keren. Tomorrow there will be the yearly pilgrimage to Mariam Da Arit. Many thousands of people from all
parts of Eritrea will visit Keren. Since we do not want to wait for hours in the
sun, we decide to take a taxi for 300 Nakfa ($30,00).The road to Keren is well paved but sometimes a
bit narrow and with many hairpin bends where the drivers use to warn oncoming traffic
sounding their horns.
I am wondering where we will sleep tonight with
so little hotel accommodation and so many visitors. Wrong again! The best bedroom of Herity's sisters
house is reserved for us. The beds are perfect and we have a good night's rest.
Italian railcar under repair in the Asmara railway depot.
Steam train in Asmara railway depot.
Weeds grow over an old Eritrean freight train.
Administration of the Anseba
Region - Keren Eritrea.
Town square in the center of Keren.
Niece of Hansu cleaning the yard.
On the background is the draw well
that is filled with water from the river (with pumps) after the long rains.
The grapes in front of the house
of Hansu and Afworki.
Drinking coffee, Eritrean style, in Hansu and Afworki's garden.
"Adgi" (donkey) in the streets of Keren Eritrea.
Local children - Keren Eritrea.