Thursday, May 14, 2015

Aimless Walking in Lalibela

Having spent the previous day exploring the churches of Lalibela, i devoted my second day to just checking out the town. After breakfast, i did pop into a couple of the churches I had seen the day before, but this time i was without a guide and felt i could linger in silence and snap a few photos (because the 200 hundred i took the day before wasn't enough).

As i walked away from the churches i heard a group murmuring and saw robed men and women ascending a boulder. I climbed up after them and saw a group of people sitting beneath the trees, including many priests and nuns, chanting. It was not in unison, though inheard many of the same recurring phrases. There seemed to be no leader. It was certainly religious in nature. I sat and watched for a while, restign under a juniper tree, enjoying the shade and peacefulness.

After that, i headed to the market. Everyone said Saturday was the bug market day, but i had tosettle for a Wednesday. The market was onviously half its usual size but was still very interesting. A very limited amount of root vegetables were for sale as were unroasted coffee beans, barley, rice, lentils, spices, and sorghum. Women picked through the grains and beans, discarding the reject specimens, while livestock grazed in the dirt.
After climbing back up out of the market and wandering uphill in the blazing heat (it doesn't seem to matter which direction i head i Lalibela, it is always sharply uphill) i settled in at a couple of different coffee shops for coffee and fresh mango papaya juice.
Everyone is so friendly and so eager to chat. The kids follow me down the street wanting to know where i am from and telling me about their school. They all know the capital of Canada and all of the countries of Europe and were eager that i quiz them. Others just say hello and run away giggling when i respond. One little boy and i played kick the empty water bottle up a hill until i, in all my uncoordinated glory, kicked the bottle off a cliff. I felt awful and would have gladly bought the boy a ball or at least a bottle of water had there been any sign of commerce in sight.

I browsed a few gift shops (for the first time on this trip) but didn't do any buying. There were so many wonderful things to look at and the proprietors didn't pressure me to buy, which was nice.
I basically lazed awY the rest of the day, just reading, smoking, and drinking endless thimbles of coffee fresh from the fire. Finally it was time for dinner and i decided to check out this restaurant everyone had been telling me about: Ben Abeba. It is owed by an Ethiopian man and Scotting women and is perched on a mountain top housed in a crazy specimen of Ethiopian architectural whimsy.
It is all outdoors on various levels connected by ramps and spiral staircases. The food, service, and prives were all excellent and the view...
I ate and watched the sun settle into a glorious sunset before the sky and landscape turned jet black and the sky filled with incredible constellations.
For a day without any specific sights alr planning, it was terrific and i took a tuk tuk back though the twisting mountain roads back to my hotel and to bed.


Betty-Lou said...

Such wonderful stories of finding treasures around every corner and on every hilltop.

Wandering North said...

Indeed. Everyhing has exceeded my expectations.