Thursday, 8 May 2014

Eritrea and Sudan

Africa-Eritrea-Asmara  A Country that tends to be in the news for all the wrong reasons. Even getting a visa to get here took quite a bit of patience and 6 weeks waiting for approval. However I have to say that Asmara is one of the most beautiful cities in Africa. It had not been damaged by war unlike many of these type of cities in Africa. Asmara has the most wonderful Art Deco buildings from the time the Italians were here. A true gem of the city and real Italian food. However underlying all that was my first impression of no police or army to be seen. But I soon worked it out that in fact that a large proportion of men who were standing or watching were in fact officials of the State. It was most noticeable when I went near the area of the Presidential palace to sit on a park bench. I could see a lot of men in well dressed clothes looking at me from different angles. When it got to much for them following me , one approached and told me I could not sit there . In saying that a very friendly and safe city . Could not go out of Asmara due to a permit which takes 3 days to acquire. Still fond memories of this city and all the 1930s buildings. Like straight out of a movie set!

The Post office was a large impressive building right down town. They even had a full philatelic shop with all supplies on display. Would put many a Post office to shame. So full marks here. 

Africa-Sudan-Khartoum  Sudan was another county one had to go to the loops to get a visa. In this case I had to fly to London to have a interview in advance in the embassy. The consul official was very friendly and kept asking me about Dublin and the weather. He had one look at my passport  and said "Ok visa no problem".  He asked me why I wanted to visit Sudan and I told him the Pyramids. His face light up when he heard I had done my homework on Sudan. At the end I asked him why the questions on Dublin,. He told me it was his favourite city and he was going in the morning and wanted to know if it was likely to rain !!! Karthoum is in fact at least two cities and large at that. You know you are in the "Sandy " part of Africa with sand everywhere. The city was very hot and busy. Here on the top right you see the Presedintal Palace which one often passes by in the taxi going around town, but one must be careful not to take a photo or hope the car does not break down there. I did have lunch in the famous designed hotel known as the "Gadaffi " Hotel . He gave it as a gift to Sudan. Sort of oval shape. 

Khartoum must have one of the largest Post offices I have ever been to. Ho Chi Minh is also large and beautiful. But inside this Post office one win no awards. Mail is pilled up in bags for months just sitting there. It is so unclean and very little electricity to see anything. There was only one counter open and no choice in stamps. I did try to send some postcards to the USA but was told due to sanctions not possible to send mail there . I did not know if this card would ever make it home as a friend of mind did some work in Sudan and sent me postcards but I never got any. Well it did.. 


  1. Lucky you! :-D I've always wanted to go to Asmara. Everyone who goes says it's wonderful -- a fact you've just reinforced. :-)

  2. One can have a look inside the Post Office in Asmara here :,38.9359437,3a,84.5y,173.7h,87.03t/data=!3m8!1e1!3m6!1s-MeGYyonqO10%2FWEBPC4VeIyI%2FAAAAAAAC59g%2FE-1YaPj4-XUXzZ0Hd-VXV-WpMw_AClIowCLIB!2e4!3e11!!7i8704!8i4352?hl=fr

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