Asmara Eritrea - July 27th 2006
The original plan to walk from Nefasit to
Dekemhare (40 kilometers in two days) is a bit risky because of the daily fierce
rain showers. Therefore I take the number one bus to Biet Georgis, just
outside Asmara, and nice for a half days walk, and a visit to the zoo and the
When I climb the small hill on which the
church is built, the priest in charge invites me to enter the building. With
the maximum politeness I can offer (take off your shoes before entering a
church or a mosque) I go in. The priest even opens and illuminates the
sanctuary. Various paintings of Saint Georgis in different styles are
on the walls, in the sanctuary and in front of it. I leave a small
donation in the offer box and thank the priest for his hospitality before
walking down the hill.
Next to visit is the British war cemetery,
next to the zoo. Here rest the bodies of the British soldiers that pushed
the Italians out of East Africa in WW2. The graves and the gardens are neatly
tended. When I
want to leave the cemetery, a man calls me. I have forgotten to write my
name and a few words in the visitor's book.
For two Nakfa I get an entry ticket for the
zoo. From the entrance it is a one kilometer walk to the animals. Signs
indicate the directions, but it is easier to follow the other guests visiting the zoo.
They know the shortcuts through the zoo's park. The zoo itself is not spectacular, but the area is nice for a one-hour
After the visit to the zoo I walk to the
edge of the escarpment to enjoy the beautiful views. It results in a 10
kilometers walk because of the fact that I choose the wrong trail. Every
once a while I experience new surprises: beautiful landscapes, nature,
women and boys harvesting beles (cactus fruits). Just when I start worrying
(thinking I am lost) I reach the road to Asmara, far from the zoo, but
close the Lagetto Nightclub.
From here I leave the main road again (I
like surprises) walking through the suburbs of Asmara, to end up at the railway,
that will guide you to the city center, if of course you have some sense
The rest of the day is for my visits to the
Ministry of Tourism and the Eritrean National Chamber of Commerce. And further
data collection. In Restaurant Marosso I follow the advice of the waiter:
"The lasagna is ready, but you can order whatever you like", is
his clear hint. The lasagna indeed is delicious. "Tu'um" in
In the late afternoon, I walk into the
celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the Asmara Nursing College, and
watch the presentations in the stalls on the school's compound, that
portray the role of nursing in Eritrea, and various related sectors. The
exhibition also presents some of the history of the nursing school that
was opened in 1955 under the name "Itege Menen School of
Orthodox Church - Biet
Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
Painting of the Saint
Orthodox Church - Biet Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
Orthodox Church (interior) -
Biet Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
British war cemetery -
Biet Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
se-ghe-n (ostrich) Asmara zoo - Biet Georgis
Asmara zoo - Biet Georgis
Surroundings of the Asmara
zoo - Biet Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
Woman collecting beles
(cactus fruits) - Biet Georgis Asmara Eritrea.
Young girl selling
handkerchiefs and chewing gum - Asmara Eritrea.
Eritrean youngsters (from
the United States) gathered
on the stairs of the Asmara Cathedral - Asmara Eritrea.