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Sunday, January 2

Eritrea

****Recent research suggests the border between Sudan & Eritrea may not be open anymore, and certainly nobody seems to have done it in the last few months. We may not be able to go here at all****

Formerly a province of Ethiopia, Eritrea became an independent country in 1993. Eritrea and Ethiopia wars have left many mines on the borders between the two countries. If you have an Eritrean stamp in your passport, you won't be allowed into Ethiopia, but the other way should be ok. UN peacekeepers patrolled the Eritrea/Ethiopia border up until March 2008 and travellers are advised to stay away from the border region where possible. We will enter via Kasala in Sudan.

Eritrea was once an Italian colony and is a country where there is no official language. Instead, the many different languages & dialects are all constitutionally protected, with Tigrinya & Arabic as the widest spoken. Hopefully we will get by on our Arabic phrasebook, although Italian will probably also be fairly widely understood.

There is also a lot of freshly laid mines which we will need to be careful of
So we will have to see when we are near there if it is still safe to travel.

Places of interest are
- Asmara - Capital with colonial buildings, vintage Italian coffee machines, peaceful
- Massawa - Islamic, derelect
- Dahlak Islands - unspoiled Red Sea reefs
- Dankalia - desolate

Photos from the web...

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