Hawassa was the perfect place to break up the nearly 800km trip from Addis Ababa to Omo Valley. The city is on a lake where one can go on boat trips to spot hippos or just relax with a picnic among wild monkeys like we did.
Hawassa is also a great base for day trips to the nearby hot springs and Shashamane. We went to a naturally heated pool in Sodere which was great, and cheap coating less than 1$! After trying to teach my couchsurfing host how to swim he showed us the way to the mountain where we could see where the hot water was coming from.
We also stopped for a couple of hours in Shashamane where weed was legal and the Rastafarian culture was alive. The museum was closed and the free galleries that could be visited there were full of touts who tried to charge us entrance fees and guide fees. We would have left with a really bad impression of Shashamane if it wasn’t for Ras Hailu Tefari (Bandu) from St.Vincent and his gallery of art which was made completely out of dried banana leaves. He gave us some fruit salad and told us explained to us in proper Caribbean English how he was growing everything he needed in his garden and how he possibly made his art. A true character who I will never forget.