Christmas in T-shirts

Mid January and trying to get back into routine after 2 Christmases (ours + Ethiopian on 7th January), a New Year, my birthday (and Pat’s) and “Timket” – or Epiphany – which is a National Holiday here, Friday 20th January.

So, sister Pat and partner John joined us for Christmas and New Year. After much umming and aahing, got a plan with itinerary sorted, accommodation and transport booked and a stash of 100 Birr notes bundled up to take us through the main sights of Northern Ethiopia.

After a wordy blog last time, I decided this one would be photographs. But, to give anyone who is now warming to the idea of an Ethiopian visit a bit of detail too, the route was: Fly Addis to Mekelle, drive north and stay in the Gheralta, an area famed for its rock-hewn churches, then on to Axum, home of stellae and purportedly the ark of the covenant. Visit Axum then fly to Lalibela – more rock-hewn churches, but different. Return to Mekelle for Christmas Day, flying back via Addis to spend time at favourite local night and day spots. Will stop there – So this is week 1.

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But just to add, the photographs don’t really explain the churches. You hear the words “rock-hewn church” – you see the pictures – but it’s hard to really take in what it means, even when you’re there. They are essentially sculptures, into which you walk. Churches, not built, no stone upon stone, but carved out of the rock and decorated. Those in the Gheralta are for the most part sculpted near the summit of some nigh inaccessible peak, and take the best part of half a day to get up to and down from, whereas in Lalibela, they just dug down and scraped away the rock to reveal the form of a building for worship. Fantastic.

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  1. Mary Simmonds

     /  22/01/2012

    Fantastic photos! I like the lunching Abyssinian Ground Hornbill…. and the priest with his Lalibela (?) cross. Also camels? It’s too hilly for camels in Ethiopia? And the man with his lamb – how cute is that!
    We are nowhere near the end of sorting out the photos or the diary from our trip …

    • Hi again Mary. Thanks. That’s only the first phase. Two more weeks to go – Bahir Dar, Gonder and the Simiens. And you, of course, went to the south as well. It was all so much easier in the days of film and economical photo taking.


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