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November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

November - December 2007
Walking through Eritrea

 

 

 

Keren Eritrea - November 25 2007

 

The historic Eritrean railway once covered more then 300 kilometers on a route from the port of Massawa to Agordat via Asmara and Keren. The section from Asmara to Ghinda is the most spectacular, but the track from Keren to Hummed is also of scenic interest.

Today I will try if I can find the former railway tracks from Keren to Hummed (24 kilometers) and Halib Mentel (12 kilometers), to plan a hike in both directions one of the next days of my visit to Keren.

The track to Halib Mentel is easy to find, starting from the railway bridge just behind bar Stuttgart. To find the track is just a matter of logic. Just imagine that a train will usually follows a (nearly) straight line, does not like to make steep climbs, and the track was covered with lots of ballast, that can still be traced, even after all the years that the line has been dismantled.

When I return to the center of Asmara, I walk into a bicycle race. Soldiers and students are directing traffic and pedestrians away from the course. I take a little rest in the center of the Giro Fiori, sitting side by side with the military, watching the racers pass a few times, before resuming my search for the imaginary railway.

The track in the other direction to Hummed starts with a track that is covered by bushes when passing a shed and a road. Going down from this road, one can easily follow the track until Keren Lalay.

Lots of abandoned and dismantled military vehicles remind the visitor that this area once was the scene of heavy military engagements in WW2 and again during the struggle for independence. In a small tea shop next to the Hollywood Hotel, I drink a few cups of tea, before returning to Ciuf Ciufit.

When I am a few blocks from the house of Afworki and Hansu, I walk into a wedding. I HAVE to come in, drink suwa and eat some injera. And I have to sit next to Mebratu, the father of the bridegroom, in the best chair, as an honored guest. I spend some time at the wedding. It is the end of the ceremony, I am invited to come to the house. I promise to come back later.

There is some pictures of last times visit to be delivered, and I do need my daily ration of mineral water and fruit juice. And some arakies to eliminate any bacteria. When I visit Shishai in her small grocery shop, she is very happy I did not forget her. I have to promise her to come back before returning to Asmara.

A last visit to the wedding, that will continue in the house until midnight with music and dance. But I am tired of walking and do not want to disturb Hansu and Afworki coming into their house late.

 

Bicycle race - Giro Fiori Keren Eritrea.

Bicycle race - Giro Fiori Keren Eritrea.

Bicycle race on one of the many broad, tarred and well maintained streets of Keren Eritrea.

Bicycle race on one of the many broad, tarred
 and well maintained streets of Keren Eritrea.

Wedeb Hotel Bar and Restaurant - Keren Eritrea.

Wedeb Hotel Bar and Restaurant - Keren Eritrea.

Tank Grave Yard - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

Tank grave yard - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

Lidya (Ghenet's daughter) - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

Lidya (Ghenet's daughter) - Keren Lalay Eritrea.

Billboard of the AIDS awareness campaign - Keren Eritrea.

Billboard of the AIDS awareness campaign - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

Wedding - Keren Eritrea.

 

 
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