Monday, November 11, 2013


Early the next morning on October 18, we headed to Lalibela.

Ethiopian Airlines is the only company to fly here - unless you want to charter a plane

Small baggage claim area

Hut hut

Beautiful landscape

They are starting to build more modern looking homes too

The view from our patio/room - the best part of the hotel we stayed at

Traditional coffee ceremony set up

On October 19, we met our guide, Kassa, and he took us around to 6 of the 11 rock-hewn churches in Lalibela. Along the way we ran into some really friendly children. They all loved posing for the camera. I enjoyed taking photos of the people here.

All the churches were built in the 12th and 13th centuries. King Lalibela wanted to create a second Jerusalem because pilgrimages to Jerusalem proved to be unsuccessful. There are three types of rock-hewn churches - monolithic (free standing/cut into the ground), semi-monolithic (cut into the wall or a cliff), and grotto (those built inside a grotto). "Bet" (spelled Biet, Biete, Bete) means "house." The six we visited were Bet Medhane Alem (House of the Savior of the World or House of Jesus), Bet Maryam (House of Mary), Bet Golgotha Mikael (House of Golgotha Miakel), Bet Maskal (House of the Cross), Bet Denagel (House of Virgins), and Biet Giyorgis (Church of Saint George).

Bet Medhane Alem (House of the Savior of the World aka House of Jesus) is believed to be the largest monolithic church in the world; these are original pillars on the east side of the church

Bodies were buried in these caves

These two protrusions were modeled after Axumite architecture where wooden
beams were used to build churches

West side of House of Jesus

House of Bread - doors were made using trunks of olive trees

Another door to add to my collection

Our guide, Kassa playing the drums

Traditional drums

Christmas is celebrated on July 7 and 40,000 people gather in this area; people with fertility problems are dipped in this pool 3 times and are said to be able to have babies after this ritual

The ten arches symbolize the ten commandments - this is Bet Maskal (House of the Cross), the smallest church in Lalibela

Door of House of the Cross

Priest holding a cross

Bet Maryam (House of Mary)

Bet Maryam is said to be the oldest of the rock-hewn churches in Lalibela and have the most ancient frescoes

Symbol of King Lalibela

The new camera takes good shots in the dark

This was taken by our guide - he and Paul went inside this special area that women are
not allowed into; Paul says he doesn't know what they were looking at

I love when people aren't looking

Where King Lalibela prayed

I was instructed to pose as well

The tomb of Adam and Eve

Probably the most recognizable rock-hewn church is Biet Giyorgis, aka Church of St. George.

I've seen it as Biet, Bet, Biete, Bete - not sure which is right - maybe they all are!

Really amazing

This is a good shot with the landscape in the background

Slinky shot

Here you can see the entire church

Another angle

And another

We had to walk down to get to the entrance

We found this guy inside

Another perspective

Mummies were found here too

We then took a walk through the Saturday market - the biggest market of the week. People will walk miles to come get the items they need.

Walking towards the Saturday market

Some local kids who spotted us and were saying hello

Getting into the thick of things

Bull fight

Not sure which won

Local herder

Nice backdrop to the market

Scythes for sale

Everyone is selling something


Kids taking a break

It didn't seem as organized as the market in Kashgar or Opal but it was interesting!

More food for sale

Salt for sale

Hops - one of the things that Paul is allergic to

A view of the market from the top of a hill

Folks done with their shopping

I like her boots

More happy kids

This one was quite the character

Each of the kids were like mini models

I especially like this photo - this little girl is too cute

View of the sunset from our room

I got to utilize the tripod again for some star shots

This way, Paul won't think it's been a waste of space and weight to carry around for 10 months.

The next day, we took a trip 42 km away from Lalibela to see St. Yimrhane Kirstos - a church in a cave.

During the 1 hour drive, I got a few good shots

Beautiful bee hives

Beautiful locals

Beautiful field of sunflowers

Beautiful countryside

Beautiful impatient Paul says I should stop taking photos of him

Each year 200,000 people come to this church from Lalibela - on foot

Inside the cave

There are over 5,000 human skeletons in this cave

Really creepy

I was standing on top of a beautiful chair to get this shot


The water from this waterfall is considered holy

This ebony door felt like metal!

Deacon holding an Axumite cross

Another beautiful sunflower field

And another

It was really pretty

This is what they use to make injera - a spongy, sour bread

Leaving the village

Village kids nice enough to stop for some photos

Another model in the making

Passing by the big fig tree where villagers have meetings

In the afternoon, we went to see the remaining 5 churches - Bet Amanuel (House of Emmanuel), Bet Qeddus Mercoreus (House of St. Mark), Bet Abba Libanos (House of Abbot Libanos), Bet Gabriel-Rufael (House of the angels Gabriel and Raphael), Bet Lehem (House of Holy Bread).

Walking towards the House of Gabriel

Another door along the way

She asked me to take a photo of her - she was very happy when I showed it to her

I couldn't stop taking photos of the scenery

Towards Bet Gabriel and Rafael

Bet Gabriel and Rafael

Door to Bet Gabriel

Look at the paintings on them

One pillar holds up the House of Rafael

Now I'm in Bet Rafael

Looking towards the entrance area of Bet Gabriel and Rafael

Front of Bet Gabriel

Just like Goonies!

Some narrow corridors

Entrance to Biete Qeddus Mercoreus (House of St. Mark) -- we think although I thought
our guide said "House of Damascus"

The other side of Biete Qeddus Mercoreus (House of St. Mark)

Biete Amanuel (House of Emmanuel) - 9 rooms in the 3-story church

Legend has it that King Lalibela's wife carved this church - Biete Abba Libanos

House of Abba Libanos - we think this was carved from the bottom up

Another door!

Lalibela at dusk

Our last day, we went to find the post office - one of the things we do in every country (and I'm sure is on the list of Paul's favorites).

Post office - it was a room about 2' x 2'!

I wouldn't go so far as to call these super markets - maybe just markets. Then again, I didn't go inside so who knows!

This kid really wanted a photo shoot

It wasn't that cold - not sure why he had a jacket on

These kids were hilarious

We went for a drink at Ben Abeba - a restaurant owned by an eccentric Scottish lady

The view from Ben Abeba

Also the view from Ben Abeba looking the other way

Some more beautiful friendly kids

Our last sunset in Lalibela

Different every night

On our 3-year wedding anniversary, we traveled back to Addis Ababa.

More huts on the way to Lalibela airport

We get to walk on the tarmac

Bye bye Lalibela

On October 23, we flew to Kigali - it was interesting to see UN planes next to us before taking off.

This is the second time we've seen UN planes


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