Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Northern Ethiopia

Hello from northern Ethiopia! A VERY early flight, another Tangerine Tango
bus waiting for us, and off we went in the countryside.

Immediate changes: dusty rock-strewn roads, small villages and views out the window of a life that well could be thousands of years ago, instead of today. Very primitive plows pulled by oxen and scenes that look positively Biblical!

We left the bus at this village and hiked for an hour to the Blue Nile Falls; the Blue Nile flows south and eventually joins up with the White Nile in Khartoum.

It was very hot and very dusty, just perfect for a cold local beer with lunch.
Then we took an hour long boat ride on Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia.
The lake is dotted with islands, and on these islands are many monasteries.
We were headed for

Ura Kidan Mehret monastery and resident gift shops. We walked several miles up
an incredible stone-paved path

to the monastery.

a monk...

16th century religious paintings

wonderful textures

Back on the boat for a sunset ride back...

Long, wonderful day!


  1. The photo of the woman in green is beautiful, and the monk photo is just phenomenal. Thanks for sharing these.

  2. What an amazing experience - I'm in awe. Do the people know you are taking their pictures, and just avoiding having their faces shown? Love the shots of the monk, and the rondoval (sp?) deck.

    1. Hi, Jilly! No, we rarely can get a photo of someone's face, as they really don't like it, so we try to get them by "stealth". This is a shame, because the people are so beautiful, I would love to show their faces. When we go to the southern tribal areas,, we will pay a few cents to take their pictures; it's part of how they learn a livelihood.
      I hope everyone knows you can click on the photos for a closer view...

  3. Margy - enjoying your photos and hope you two stay safe. Today came news about foreign tourists being killed Monday in Ethiopia's remote Afar region near border with Eritrea. Others were wounded and kidnapped. I'm sure you know what you are doing but I would definitely heed the US state dept's warnings. They just issued a bulletin a week ago on Sudan just west of where you are.

    1. Thanks for your concern, Terri. This trip goes nowhere near any of the troubled borders Ethiopia shares with countries in turmoil. We are very confident in Eldertreks and the decisions
      they make about where it is safe to go. Our guide was leading a trip in Syria when violence broke out last year, and they immediately got all the participants out and flew them to Austria, where they continued the tour.
      We like adventure, but are prudent about where we go!

    2. So good to hear that. I really was worried for you when I read about that. Enjoy the rest of your adventures! Looks like your wardrobe pics are right on too!

  4. Shoot, I missed this post until now! Margy, thanks so much for uploading your pics. This countryside reminds me of my visit to Egypt and (to a lesser extend) the Sinai that I made years ago. For some parts of the world, time marches slowly. :)

    That monk is amazing. Thanks for sharing your adventure!

  5. What a great trip! Good picture of you and dad! Were the 16th century religious paintings housed in the monastery (up the stone pathway)? How do they preserve these paintings? My favorite is the picture of the person paddling...peaceful...what kind of material are the boats made out of? Liked the pictures of the woven materials.
    Have a great time! I am headed to Maui for a week vacation...tame compared to your vacation!!

  6. I am fascinated how rural it is...and yet despite how 'basic' it is there still are so many design elements and such beauty.