Ethiopia - Winter 2012/13

After enjoying Christmas festivities with the Ogans, Amy and I caught up with the Harrisons in Addis Ababa (direct flight from DC – score!). Wasting no time, we hit the road, aiming to do a 2000km counterclockwise loop through the north of Ethiopia. To break the journey to Lalibela, we laid over in Kombolcha for one night, stretched our legs in Hayk’s camel market and browsed Weldiya’s wares for pilgrims. The road through the highlands was particularly spectacular, with its rolling green hills dotted with small rocky villages. In Lalibela, we took in its famous rock-hewn churches, which did not disappoint. We then continued north via Sekota to Makele, staying one night. The roads were absolutely brutal, but the stunning landscape more than made up for it. En route to Axum, we visited Wukro church, the Teka-Tesfay cluster, and the Adigrat market. On New Years Day, we explored Axum’s historical sites - the obelisques were cool, but seeing where they were quarried made it all the more impressive. Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Arc of the Covenant.

We started our journey south with a quick visit to Finian, a new friend. Our intention was to get to Gondar, but we got stranded in Debark with a flat tire (and broken jack!). We ended up hiking to the nearest village, "escorted" by some curious soldiers. Embracing our dilemma, we decided to stay the night and visit the Semien Mountains and its famous Gelada Baboons the next morning (well worth it). By afternoon we had made it to Gondar, touring its famous castles. Over the next few days, we continued south, stopping at Bahir Dar, Awra Amba, and the Blue Nile falls. We took a day-long excursion by boat to visit the Lake Tana monasteries, as well as the Nile outlet. Finally, on the 6th, we began the long haul back down to Addis Ababa, hitting the National Museum before returning the car. On our final day, January 7th, which also happens to be Christmas Day in Ethiopia, Amy and I explored the cosmopolitan capital on foot.

© Chris Harrison