My Ethiopian Adventure–on the Road from Lalibela to Gonder


Since there is only one road in and out of Lalibela, we headed back to the main road after an 8:00 breakfast.  By this time, after three times on this road, the heights hardly bothered me.

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We drove through mountains a large part of the day, through the large towns of Nesfas Mawcha, Debre Tabor, and turned north at Wereta. By this time, I had become accustomed to seeing endless beautiful scenery, hardly knowing when to take photos.

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The invasive eucalyptus trees and pastoral mountain villages show up everywhere.

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Most villages have their own church.  The building with the round roof in the distant middle is one such little church.

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Excellent roads, mostly built by the Italians years ago,  crisscross this part of the country. Some newer roads have been built by the Chinese.  Many Ethiopians made jokes about this, implying they do not expect them to last  long.  After reaching a high plateau, we drove through endless pastures and fields of green.

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Up in this high country, farmers grow wheat, barley, and oats.  Horses and cattle graze in large pastures.

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The mountains appear to continue forever.

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Buildings, like the one in this photo above, usually house animals at night to protect them from predators such as hyenas.

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Whenever we stopped, children ran up sometimes asking for pens, occasionally for money.  Dino and Alemu, the driver, usually scolded them in Amharic for begging.

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Houses here seemed bigger, usually two story, with rocks used as a main building material.

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We drove by two men galloping along on horseback, their horses adorned in fancy tack.

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As we began a long descent into a huge valley, common baboons appeared along the road.

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These huge rocks left my millions of years of erosion, provide a dramatic contrast to the intense green.

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It took more than an hour to cross this valley.  As usual cattle, goats., burros, people mingled with vehicles.  What a surprise:  Rice fields as far as I could see on either side of the road.

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The villages in this area are built higher–above the rice paddies. And then as we climbed out of the valley…

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The name of this rock really surprised me, the Finger of God.

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A big later, suddenly Alemu turned off on a dirt road and this appeared.

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The sign says:  Guzara Palace, G.C. 1563-1597.

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When a person goes on such a trip, sometimes places hold your heart, places unexpected.  I loved this place.  It seemed magical.  With no other people around, it felt private and special.  It becomes obvious quite quickly why a king would build a castle here.  You can see forever, for miles and miles, all the way  to Lake Tana in the background.

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We climbed up to the second story and could see Lake Tana even more clearly in the distance.  I felt a sudden rush of emotion, looking at Lake Tana, my first glimpse of where the Nile River begins.

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On the other side of the castle, looking toward the mountains, the remains of the old wall around the castle show up clearly.  The part of the wall on the path to the castle has been restored.  This part still awaits restoration. We drove on to Gonder.  We stayed there two nights at  Hotel Goha, but not in sequence.  I found the window coverings so unique I had to take a photo.

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Fabric, stretched over a frame slides back and forth so you can slide it to cover the window.  This hotel possesses fantastic, modern showers.

 

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