If you were woken up and told that today, was the day you would be heading to the Gateway to Hell, what would your choice of breakfast be? A Full English perhaps? Or maybe a giant stack of pancakes complete with all the toppings? I tell you what it probably wouldn’t be: a packet of banana cream biscuits! Yes, remarkably someone has actually created this monstrosity, and they are, as you can imagine, absolutely terrible! This was the reality we faced as we waited outside a small police check point, deep in the Ethiopian desert, for our paperwork to be signed, before we could continue our journey; fortunately, we had been given some excellent coffee to offset the taste of the biscuits, and we both agreed that this was a journey well worth enduring any number of banana creams for.
Getting to Awra Amba was part of the appeal, given that its location is best described as ‘off the beaten track’. After the usual arguments at the bus station, negotiating prices and reclaiming our luggage from over-eager teenagers, we were able to secure a bus from Bahir Dar heading east. Without hesitation, our bags were tied to the roof, and we folded ourselves into a minibus ready for the mercifully short journey.