I had 3 great weeks in Moshi with Adelina and her wonderful family, who were my host family during my stay there. Time passed so quickly and it was hard to say goodbye to take a bus to Lushoto (in the Usambara mountains in the northeast of Tanzania). Besides keeping myself busy with Swahili lessons I explored places in and around Moshi. I changed my mind and did not climb Kilimanjaro, but I did drink it, and I ran the Kilimanjaro 5k fun run, which is kind of the same…
Day trips around Moshi
-Learning all about the Chagga tribe, coffee production and banana beer
A bumpy drive brought us up the hill to Materuni village, followed by a leisurely walk to a 90m high waterfall. The day was a bit overcast, so halfway in the water I decided that this was cool enough. We had lunch watching the waterfall and a short rain fall, then continued to see how coffee is produced. You can see the different steps in the slideshow. To finish up we tried locally brewed banana beer (made of bananas and millet). I was surprised to find out that it didn’t taste as bad as I expected.
-Kikuletwa warm springs
The first time I went to the warm springs it was a bit of a spontaneous decision the night before, and it was just perfect. There were hardly any people (we went quite early and on a Friday to avoid crowds) and our coordinator Miriam had spontaneously bought fruit, vegetables, pastry, … for a perfect picnic.
The second time was quite epic, too, in a different way, because together with other World Unite participants we had rented a daladala which also serves as a party daladala on the weekends. On the way back our daladala got us into the right mood for the weekend, with music clips and an ear-drum-massaging bass.
The next day we took the party daladala for it’s actual purpose, but I won’t add any pictures since what’s not on facebook never happened 😀
How to spend a perfect discovery day in Moshi
-picking up the clothes I had ordered from the tailor, made from fabric I had previously bought.
-going to the YMCA cafe to get shelter from the rain, and finding out that it has a pool that is very cheap to use 🙂 (Another alternative is the pool in Moshi is the Honey Badger Lodge)
-visiting a mosque, a Hindu temple and a Sikh temple. The priest in the Sikh temple readily answered our many questions, I actually had no idea what this religion is about and now I know some basics at least.
-winding out in Haria Hotel’s rooftop bar, with view on the Kilimanjaro while drinking a Kilimanjaro beer.
-Another option for great views and a drink is the train station bar. I was quite impressed how much it looks like a German train station from the movies at the beginning of the last century. The Germans built a railway line at the end of the 19th century and finished at the beginning of the 20th, linking Tanga with Arusha. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usambara_Railway) Now the railway isn’t in use anymore, so people can sit on the station platform and enjoy their beer. Or Grand Malt, which tastes like the German alcohol free sweet malt beer Karamalz, I love it.
Ok, I admit I only did the 5km fun run. And that it was fun. When I saw the Marathon runners arriving after only a little bit more than 2 hours I understood that they actually had kept up the crazy pace they started out with, I thought it wasn’t possible.
Why did I not climb Kilimanjaro?!
Ok, I know you want to hear my lame excuses why I didn’t climb Kilimanjaro while I could see it every morning from my doorstep, so the following reasons will hopefully help you forgive me that I chickened out:
-Before coming to Moshi I spent a month in Zanzibar basically hardly moving, so I must have lost a substantial amount of muscles, since my knees hurt only from the leisurely walk to the Chagga village! In addition, I hadn’t been wearing shoes other than flip flops for a month, so I got blisters from those few kilomters to the Chagga village (yes…)
-I would have had to rent out most of the material, including the hiking boots. The pure thought of hiking boots… uuuugh. I just hate them. I don’t want to imagine the blisters I would get from boots that are not my own.
-After taking into account my physical condition I considered my motivations to climb Kilimanjaro. The only motivation was that you’re basically supposed to do it. But I want to do things on my trip because I think I will enjoy doing them, in some form at least.
-Almost forgot that climbing the Kilimanjaro is really expensive, so again, I prefer spending that money on something I actually enjoy.
-Hearing somebody’s story of climbing the Kilimanjaro and checking how many hours you have to walk every day (it’s 4 hours each day, on one day even 8 hours) I decided that I shouldn’t be doing this to my body right now, since I only have one. The views that you get don’t sound like the best ones, and once you’re on the top you’re so knocked out that in the 20 minutes you have there you’ll probably forget anyway to take pictures or who you are.
I would consider doing it one day to accompany somebody who really wants to do it (for example Katrina 🙂 ), but in this case I would prepare myself in advance to have the right gear and physical condition.
So here I am in the Usambara mountains instead, where I can walk or not walk however I please and just enjoy. I can’t stop taking pictures, so you’ll hear more soon from my mountain adventures.