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The Last Few Hours

On wrapping up yet another epic trip

Julia E Hubbel
6 min readDec 13, 2019


In about 65 minutes, the hotel driver will toss my gear bags in the van and haul me off to the airport in Addis Ababa, where my Lufthansa flight will spirit me off to Frankfurt. This time I don’t have all day to peruse the airport bakeries, which are lethal, so perhaps I can make it home without a bag full of the World’s Finest Pastries, courtesy the Germans ( The French might argue this but I’m not in France).

On the way to Ethiopia I had a whole day to waste, and got myself in serious trouble by walking up to inspect the goods. That led to “I’ll have one of those, one of those AND one of those please,” which led to my walking as swiftly as possible to my final gate, danishes in hand. One bite and it’s history. Okay, another bite. Okay, well, one more.

I don’t eat bread products for this reason, but German pastries are as far from bread products as a Toyota Corolla is from a Lamborghini.

The pastries were ridiculously light layers of flakes, butter throughout, the lightest dusting of sugar.

Highway to hell. My god.

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

But that was en route here. Now I’m going home, and after three weeks of eating Justin’s Cashew Butter with Maple and bag after bag of nuts and dried cranberries, the pastry layers are long gone. Edible food has been hard to come by unless I really like eggs, which I do. Just not three eggs three times a day, every day.

As I sit here in my hotel room I can see how swollen and blistered my lips are, from eight days of high-altitude horse riding in the Bale Mountains. I used sunscreen but this close to the equator and that high up it’s just brutal. It’s going to take a few weeks for that to heal. It was worth it. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, but once outside the outskirts of Addis (which like all cities in like it, is overcrowded, poor and jam-packed) the country rolled out in front of us like a magic carpet.

Ethiopia was far more beautiful than I could possibly have imagined.



Julia E Hubbel

Not writing here any more. You're invited to peruse my writing on Substack at .Also visit me at