Arriving im Asmara was like stepping out of a time machine. Driving from the airport to the city center we passed art deco buildings like the Fiat Tagliero, horse and donkey carriages and small”mr bean” like fiat cars. Along the street there were coffee bars where people were sipping 50cent machiatos and reading the newspapers. Tailor shops were everywhere. The Italians sure managed to have an influence on the people here before they left the country more than 60 years ago.
In order to leave the capital you need permits that you can get in one day at the tourist office. I got mine within two hours and headed straight to the tank graveyard that is located between the city and the airport. Hundreds of tanks, buses and even planes were stacked up in this huge area and they had been there for so long that cactuses have started to grow on them and people have started to live there.
Other sights that I had a look at in the capital was the St Mariams Church next to the train station, the Mai Jah Jah Water Fountain and the Cinema Roma, which had a really old, but beautiful café inside it.
It was a really exciting time to be in Asmara as they had just lifted UN sanctions two days before and the borders with Ethiopia was opening up. People were getting beer from Ethiopia costing half of the local beer, they were watching music videos from Ethiopia which was not allowed before and foreigners were finally allowed to travel with public transport. I hope to be back here in a year or two to see the transformation that the country will have gone through but am happy to have seen it before too much has changed here.