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Touring through Eritrea
November and December 2006
 
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November and December 2006
 

 

Beleza and Adi Nefas - November 22nd 2006

 

A trip to Massawa and the Dahlak Islands with Travel House International, tomorrow and the days after, limits the options for today. I will do a one day trip & hike to the villages Adi Nefas and Beleza. Tedros advised me to combine the visit of the two villages, and walk either from Adi Nefas to Beleza or from Beleza to Adi Nefas, because the two villages are connected by a path with a length of just three kilometers.

Beleza is a village close to one of Eritrea's larger water reservoirs, 14 kilometers north of Asmara. It also houses one of Eritrea's major power plants. Adi Nefas is a potential mining area with high grade copper-gold-zinc deposits, 12 kilometers north of Asmara. The area in between is dominated by agriculture. Fields irrigated by the water reservoirs of Beleza and Adi Nefas are cultivated for the production of barley, wheat, potatoes and other crops.

At the bus station on Eritrea Square in Asmara, I find a bus to Beleza. Later I would learn that the bus to Adi Nefas will start from Acria and not from Eritrea Square. Just before Beleza, the bus passes the water reservoir and the power plant. I get off the bus, together with the workers. But when I plan to walk to the water reservoir the military sends me back. I guess the area is to sensitive to allow tourists.

I walk a few hundred meters to the village and spend one hour or so to wander around and to visit the church, the flour mill, the water supply, and a small bar, before returning to the mosque, where the path to Adi Nefas starts. 

The walk to Adi Nefas is basically a three kilometer easy to follow path, crossing a main road after some 500 meters. Just to be sure, I ask the farmers every once and a while if this is the correct directions. After half an hour and two kilometer I reach the Adi Nefas water reservoir and I see the village on a black colored hill. Therefore the last part of the hike is half an hour uphill, which makes me wonder how a bus can reach this village.

The village is small and easy to explore. It looks as if no foreigner ever sets foot here. Some people think I am lost. In a bar I have a drink and egg burger The south side of the village goes gently downhill and it is here where most of the houses are built. The bus station is at the foot of the hill. Three small and very old busses link Adi Nefas with Acria, a northern suburb of Asmara.

It is a six kilometers drive on a good road. When the bus is close to Acria, the landscape changes in red colored hills. I decide I will return to do the same distance in the opposite direction  on foot, a hike that will take an hour.

From Acria I walk back to the center of Asmara. At 17:30 I have an appointment with Kibreab. After finishing his work in the Housing and Commerce Bank, we will will drink some Asmara beers. We have good reasons to celebrate. Kibreab guides me to Bar Gurgusum, in Harnet Avenue, opposite to the Commercial Bank of Eritrea. Behind the cold gray facade, you would expect a cozy bar.

The lady bar tender, Rita is a lady with Italian temperament combined with the typical Eritrean virtues. She made a dish with small pieces of bread with sardines, tomato, cheese and peppers. She insists I eat enough to have my share of the dish. Her extrovert character must be the result of her partly Italian lineage. One of her grandparents was an Italian. She communicates with all the visitors of Bar Gurgusum and makes them feet at home. I guess I should come her more often. 

  

Volcanic landscape - Beleza Eritrea.

Volcanic landscape - Beleza Eritrea.

Hidmo (traditional dwelling) - Beleza Eritrea.

Hidmo (traditional dwelling) - Beleza Eritrea.

Farmers with their harvest - Beleza Eritrea.

Farmers with their harvest - Beleza Eritrea.

Orthodox Church - Beleza Eritrea.

Orthodox Church - Beleza Eritrea.

Water reservoir - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

Water reservoir - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

Hidmo (traditional dwelling) - Adi Nefas Eritrea. 

Hidmo (traditional dwelling) - Adi Nefas Eritrea. 

Traditional houses - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

Traditional houses - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

Collecting water from the water reservoir - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

Collecting water from the water reservoir - Adi Nefas Eritrea.

View over Adi Nefas.

View over Adi Nefas.

Rita, Bar Gurgusum - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

Rita, Bar Gurgusum - Harnet Avenue Asmara Eritrea.

 

 
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