Trip Start Aug 09, 2005
Trip End Aug 09, 2006

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Flag of Ethiopia  ,
Monday, May 15, 2006

Last stop in Ethiopia was the town of Lalibela. We hopped on an internal Ethiopian Airlines flight as to get there by bus would have taken 2 days! We landed at the airport ... a strip of flat land between mountains, the middle of the middle of nowhere! Lalibela is famous for its rock-hewn churches, which you access through narrow passageways and tunnels. The churches, thought to date back to the 12th or 13th century, are carved out the ground in the soft red volcanic clay. They each have a trench that was dug out around a center piece of rock. It was formed by chiseling and designing the church from the inside outwards to form the free standing rock church. They are remarkable structures the most stunning of which is St Georges Church which protrudes up from the ground in the shape of a cross. The masons that worked on the creation of these structures were exceptionally skilled ... although local legend says the masons had some 'divine intervention'... supposedly men worked by day and angels worked by night to expedite the construction ... now that's good project time management!!!

Most of the churches were scattered around the town of Lalibela so we spent 2 days wandering the various sites walking about the inside of the churches on flea ridden mats ... scratching as paranoia set in about our clothes becoming infested with fleas!!

Lalibela itself seems not to have changed very much, even with the huge increase in the tourist traffic to the town. It still pretty much an undeveloped town, cobbled streets, mud huts, and even for the many tourists that do visit, there's very basic accommodations outside of one or two "top end hotels" ... that include hot running water in your room!!! But it looks set to change sometime soon as there is much construction around the town ... more hotels on the way, and hopefully a decent restaurant ... the food here was a disaster ... unlike the rest of the towns we visited.

We did a day trip out in to the Lasta Mountains to see a few more churches (it was starting to feel like Holy Week what with all the church visits!!) The scenery was spectacular again, Ethiopia is a stunning country. One of the churches of note out in the countryside was built inside a cave. A strange location for a church ... and even weirder inside as there's a pit at the back of the cave where the bodies of pilgrims are laid to "rest" ... thrown haphazardly on top of each other and it would seem then forgotten.

From Lalibela we headed back to Addis for a couple of days enjoying numerous cups of Ethiopian Coffee by day and Ethiopian beer by night! Next stop is Nairobi, Kenya .... where we'll set about organising our first Safari.
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spragga on

Photo 9 of this blog (who knew it was a blog and not a travel log? you're so hip you dont even know it). anyway, back to my random thoughts... Photo 9 seems similar to what it would look like if they drained the Charles, no?
I think thats what the Chucktown Townies and Whitey B's gang does with 'the evidence'.

Ok, enough of this 'trot of luxury around the world'- COME HOME. And, by 'home', I mean MY home! :) Its borin' here w/out ya!

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