A Most Impressive Site!

Trip Start Aug 05, 2006
Trip End Aug 19, 2007

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Lalibela, ever heard of it? I must admit that before coming to
Ethiopia neither had I. However, this place is probably the
country's top tourist destination and is an amazing site to
behold. Time not being on my side, I only was able to explore
Lalibela for one day before returning to Addis. In the
1200s, monks decided to construct the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela and
what makes them so impressive is that they were not built from the
ground up but from the ground down. All of the churches including
the most impressive, St. George's Cathedral, were carved directly out
of the bedrock. These churches are amazing in that they do not
function just as a tourist attraction like the pyramids of Giza, but
also as an important place of worship for Orthodox Christians. It
was quite interesting to hear monks chanting prayers from inside the
stone walls. As in the rest of Ethiopia, there are only a few
tourists so you never get that overcrowded Disneyland atmosphere.

When I arrived in Lalibela I also found Brian, who had finished a tour
of the south, and Jans, a German guy I had met before in Addis. I
told them all about my adventures and misadventures in the north and
they likewise informed me of their experiences in the south.
Leaving Lalibela we headed south together back to Addis, a journey that
took nearly 2 full days on the bus.

Back in Addis I took some more time to look around the area and
prepare for yet another long bus journey south to Kenya. I stayed
in a place called the Taitu hotel which is the oldest hotel in the
country which also offered a surprisingly good deal at $5.50 per night.
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