Benin - Abomey
Day 103 (16 January) – Driving North to Abomey
We decided to head on and Abomey is our next stop. It wasn’t too far of a drive and we could have our lunch at Chez Delphano’s: A nice place serving great breakfasts and meals. We spend the nights in Abomey at the Auberge d’Abomey, part of the Auberge chain in Benin like Auberge de Grand Popo.
Day 104 (17 January) – Visiting the palaces in Abomey
One of the main attractions in Abomey is, or at least should be, all the twelve palaces of the great Kings of Abomey. Back in the 17 and 18th century each king would build his own palace within the city and nowadays the palaces represent the different districts in the town. But unfortunately most of the palaces are in such a decay that only little is left from there greatness. All inhabitants still consider being offspring of the king in which district they live…
With all our curiosity we went out to visit some of these palaces. The guidebook tells us that Agonglo Palace was the best preserved and the Zewa temple would not be far from it. Stanley, Julia and the kids came by car and Niels went on foot. But in order to find the place you needed to ask around, the Lonely Planet map was not correct at all. But even locals didn’t always know their Kings palace…
We would all meet up at Agonglo’s palace. Stanley parked the car because of all the construction work in town and found an old guy who knew where it was, nearby. They walked for 20 minutes at least…
Niels walked around in circles and then hired a moped taxi who knew where it was, he said. He drove back to where Niels came from and asked the same guys for directions. Clearly they didn’t know. But somehow he got some more info out of them and he drove to a different part of town to small alleyways almost driving over some pedestrians.
We arrived more or less at the same time at Agonglo. The inside of the palace is a very sacred place and things are left the way they were. No pictures were aloud to be taken from the inside. Every week or so, one of the women from the town does rituals while spending the night in the building where the king himself was buried. Fascinating, but in a decaying state and not what you would expect when you hear the word ‘palace’.
Day 105 (18 January) – Museé historique d’Abomey
After breakfast, again at Delphano, Julia, Niels and the kids visited the historical museum with little expectations. Unfortunately you were not able to make any photo inside the museum, being one of the sacred palaces of Abomey, but this was a splendid museum with various artifacts and the guide telling what we think were fascinating stories in French. Very worthwhile to visit!
Day 106 (19 January) – Abomey to border town Kétou
Armed with all our info from Stefan and Haike about getting through Nigeria we decide to move on and cross into Nigeria via Kétou. Kétou is not your attractive tourist town and not much is there to visit. Not even a fuel station
We spend a night in Kétou where Eowyn goes on a hat making spree making festive hats for Senna, one of the girls hanging around the hotel and herself. The next morning she treats us to a K3 sing along before we hit the road.