On our way to Assab and back, we followed the road and thus the coastline. We appreciated the desert landscape, but we also knew we were never far from the sea. We therefore decided that, on our way back, we had to see the interior of the region. We decided for Badda. After we had convinced Abdul, our driver, that we wanted to veer off the main road, we drove to Marsa Fatma, a collection of huts on the way to Massawa. A sandy road took us South from there, right into the Danakil Depression, famous for its inhospitability and as one of the hottest places on earth. Moreover, various ancient travel reports refer to the Afars, the local population, as proud and fierce. We miraculously passed the checkpoint in Adaito and were on our way to Badda, famous mainly for its volcanic lake.
The landscape got more barren and more impressive the further south we drove. We had to pass some difficult stretches of stones and sand, of rocks and rubble, but for Abdul they were merely a challenge. We saw defence lines, small stone protective walls, reminders of the war with Ethiopia. And we saw the sun going down, towards the mountains of the highland. The Danakil Depression is below sea level. It had been a long and tiring day, and we decided that it would be best to sleep in Badda. After more than two hours, we reached the village. Small chairs and benches were prepared for us, and soon we were talking in what appeared to be the village chiefs.
We inquired about visiting lake Badda, and about the availability of beds. According to the people, a visit to the lake was impossible that afternoon and had to be done the next morning, and would cost 300 Nakfa, and the price of a bed was double what we had paid in Iddi. Their price was more than half a month's salary, and we proposed a lower price, but the proud Afars' counteroffer was actually a higher price! Apparently, they were not interested in taking us anywhere, except for prices apparently paid by previous visitors. At this point, just one hour before sunset, some of our group decided to leave and Abdul happily followed them into the car, without leaving any room for discussion or rational thinking. Thus, we suddenly found ourselves on the way back to the main road, with the sun setting behind us, covering the world around us in an ominous darkness. Worst of all, we missed out on the fabulous landscape and arrived in total darkness in Galeelo, where electricity hadn't been working for weeks. Our excursion to Badda had ended far away from it.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Badda (Eritrea). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Badda.
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