After spending time in the little town of Robe, where there we didn’t have access to showers or indoor plumbing, heading to the resort town of Debre Zeit for the last two days of my stay was the other end of the Ethiopian spectrum. Luckily from Robe we were able to get a ride with Peace Corps into Adama, which made the unpaved portion of the journey not only much more comfortable, but also much quicker. Then in Adama we stopped and got a smoothie before meeting up with our friend Million and catching a mini bus to Debre Zeit. The closer we got to town, the more green and floral the surroundings became. Million tells us that flowers are grown in Debre Zeit and then shipped out to parts of Europe during the colder months. Once we arrived, Million made sure that Allison and I made it to our hotel before heading back into town to stay with his family.
We had booked two nights at the Kuriftu Resort and Spa (warning: the website is very nice, but has music that autoplays, so either turn down your volume or you can mute it by clicking that little button under the “destination” navigation tab). We could not have been happier with our choice. The price was more than reasonable for what you get, the grounds are absolutely breathtaking, and has stunning views of Lake Kiroftu. While it’s a little removed from the center of town, we were usually able to negotiate a bajaj down to about 70 Birr each way (about $3.50). That is if you ever actually want to leave the Resort.
First thing we did when we got to the room, well besides use the restroom? Plug in devices and use the wifi. This was by far the fastest and most reliable internet I had while in Africa. It didn’t let me facetime anyone, but I was able to upload a few photos to instagram and reply to some emails.
How cute is their little mini bar area?! While we didn’t use any of the wine that they had in the room, we really enjoyed the little set up / presentation of it. The shower was also amazing. Unfortunately in my rush to take a hot shower, I did not take a photo of it, but it had the nicest rainfall showerhead that was directly in the ceiling, so relaxing. While we didn’t fight over who got to take the first shower, we did argue on who’s water turned the darkest. Yep, that happened. But being clean and being able to wash my hair was sheer wonderful.
After our very grateful usage of the indoor plumbing amenities, we headed to the Spa. You see, we got a complimentary (and complementary) swedish massage for each night we stayed. Luckily for me Allison doesn’t like being touched by strangers, so I was able to get a massage both days we were there. While Allison really wanted to get a hair cut, they unfortunately only do blowouts in their salon, no styling. She was however, very excited about getting a manicure (which turned out lovely by the way).
Let me tell you though. The massage? Yeah, that was the best massage I’ve ever gotten in my entire life. The included scalp massage? Super relaxing and totally worth getting crazy oily hair. I was butter by the time we headed to dinner. The only dilemma was we had no idea how much to tip our respective spa ladies, was 100 birr too much, was 50 birr too little? Does purchasing power parity compared to how much we’d tip in dollars make us inconsiderate imperialists? Existential crisis go. Thankfully it was a short crisis and they were really happy with how much we tipped (or at least appeared to be). Walking on clouds resumed.
While we didn’t have time to take a dip in the pool (or take advantage of the aweome looking steam room that I didn’t take photos of because there were people in there), before dinner, we did decide to revisit them in the morning. Either way the facilities were all top notch and were absolutely beautiful.
Have you heard that notorious Louis CK joke, “The meal isn’t over when I’m full. It’s over when I hate myself.” Well, we certainly hated ourselves after dinner. The food was ‘effing delicious. The complimentary bread platter with all the different sauces (and real butter), was amazing. Allison ended up ordering a chicken dish, I got a kale salad with goat cheese, and then FILET MIGNON TIBS (fans self). Oh my goodness, this meal. The fact that we washed it down with margaritas? Utter perfection.
Walking up these stairs after that meal though? Utter hell. It took way longer than we’d like to admit. Though at least it was a pretty stroll.
The restaurant during the day was just as pretty as it was at night. The breakfast spread was quite nice too, and the pancakes we got were delicious. They also had quite a selection of fresh juices (guava, pineapple, hibiscus…), coffee, and teas.
We spent most of our time during the days with Million and his family, and visiting the other lakes around town. Out of the 7 lakes surrounding the Debre Zeit area, we were able to see 3 of them (see some of the other photos in my Traveling in Ethiopia: Part 1 post).
After leaving Debre Zeit that evening, we made the minibus trip back into Addis, where we promptly got stuck in Friday rush hour traffic. We did manage to grab a bit to eat in the Bole area of town before I had to head to the airport though. Not only was it fantastic getting to see so many different versions of Ethiopia, it was an absolute blast getting to spend it with Allison (if you want to read more about her adventures, check her out here). It was really hard to say goodbye, but hopefully I’ll get to go back and visit before she finishes her stint in the Peace Corps. Until then, I will definitely miss all of the buna (coffee).
I’m so happy I was able to strike through “Travel to Africa” off of my bucket list, it was truly a spectacular experience. Which places are on your bucket lists?