Monday, April 6, 2015

Traveling around Ethiopia with Sonny: Bahir Dar, Gondar, Aksum, and Lalibela

Our friend Sonny came to visit us for about 12 days back in the beginning of January. We hung out in Addis for a couple of days then booked a non-stop tour up north to have our minds blown by some of Ethiopia's best sights. When all was said and done, we were like, WTF just happened. We saw so many places it seemed like we were out much longer than we were. No regrets, pure fun and craziness.  
Ana getting checked for Ebola. Kudos to Ethiopia for being proactive on countering the outbreak. Of course I'm closer to a confirmed case here in San Diego than when I was in Ethiopia. Just a reality check for the haters out there.  
Hand written airline tickets are all the rage in Ethiopia. You saw it here first on Camels and Tacos.
Another Camels and Tacos exclusive, Self-service Immigration Counter in Bahir Dar. 
Waiting for luggage. 
Market day in Bahir Dar.  
There isn't much water in January at the Blue Niles Falls. 
When Ana and I saw this in the fall it was intense. Not much going on during the dry season. You can check out our other post to compare by clicking HERE
Our taxi that took us across the Blue Nile River.
Boat full of school children. I was once bused to school. 
Kill A Pest brightens up any room. 
A future hotel in Bahir Dar, taking reservations now. 
Gondar has the Dashen Beer Garden. Skip the bottle and get the fresh unfiltered stuff from the tap. Delicious.
A Dashen Beer Garden customer. More evidence that thrift store clothing fashion is all the rage in Gondar. 
I don't always stay in Debarke, but when I do it is at the Semen park hotel. 
Simien Mountain National Park natives. 
A Gelada male.
The Gelada monkeys were moving to another spot when we arrived. 
We opted for a 3-4 hour hike to check out the majestic Simien Mountains.
Zonies be jealous. 
We had to hire a guide and security in Debark before driving into the mountains. 
To get to this point to see this waterfall was tempting fate. One had to climb on some rocks to pass over to see this view. It is a long drop. I didn't quite get to enjoy it as I was still shaking a little. 
Somehow I made the mistake and booked 2 nights in Gondar. I'm not a fan of discrimination and places like Ethiopia and Egypt have widely different prices for locals and tourists. I don't mind paying a little extra, but 20 times as much is a bit extreme. After hemming and hawing we finally went into Fasil Ghebbi where Ethiopian emperors once lived. 
The structures were amazing to explore.
On the other side of town was  Fasilides' Bath. They were getting ready for the Timket holiday, a time when people flock to the bath.  
Ana and Sonny taking advantage of the roots. 
Another view of  Fasilides' Bath
Next up was Askum. We were on a late flight and missed getting into Aksum Stelae Park, sort of. We arrive a few minutes before it closed, but we figured out a way to make it happen.

Obelisk of Axum. 
Church of St. Mary of Zion. Just over the wall and a couple of buildings in, lies the Ark of Covenant. Sonny had read that the ark was recently stolen. The story is a couple of  helicopters landed and knocked out the guards and flew off with the ark. So we asked around and the story seemed to be made-up unless there is a town gag-order.
The church in the midst of Aksum Stelae Park. 
Our friends hanging out at Queen of Sheeba's Bath. Photo by Sonny. 
Aksum is known for a white type of flowery honey. I bought a kilo. Photo by Sonny.  
Our final stop was Lalibela. A van picked us up from the airport and Sonny made friendly with the two young ladies sitting next to him. One of the guys in the back busted out some tella and passed it around. That my folks, is how you get the party bus going. People visit Lalibela for the churches. Our guide was amazing, his grandfather was a priest at one of the churches so he told us a lot of insider information.  
Reading and praying.
Traveling through tunnels from one church to the next. 
The space in the churches are dense. We only saw 6 churches out of 10 that afternoon. 
On the way to the Church of St. George
The Church of St. George is the most famous of the bunch.
Obligatory group shot with the church. 
Another view.
The sun was setting. 
Final view. 
For a nice meal with a view in what seems like a spaceship, Ben Abeba is a must in Lailbela. Go at sunset, you won't regret it.

No comments:

Post a Comment