Ethiopia

travel theme: soft

Saturday, November 10: Ailsa’s Travel Theme for this week is Soft.  Here are a few soft things from Ethiopia.

a soft spider’s web from Lake Langano in Ethiopia

some soft and fluffy shore birds at Lake Langano, Ethiopia

The rising moon casts a soft glow over the marshland of Lake Langano in Ethiopia.

soft moonlight

And finally, a soft field of tef, the grain used to make injera, the spongy bread eaten as a staple in Ethiopia.  This field is in northern Ethiopia, near Lalibela.

a field of tef

Categories: Africa, Ethiopia, Lake Langano, Lalibela, Soft, Travel Theme | Tags: , , , , | 14 Comments

weekly photo challenge: renewal

Friday, November 9: The theme for the Weekly Photo Challenge is Renewal.

Liturgy is like a strong tree whose beauty is derived from the continuous renewal of its leaves, but whose strength comes from the old trunk, with solid roots in the ground.  ~ Pope Paul VI

This priest in a church in Lalibela, Ethiopia is engrossed in spiritual renewal…

Education involves a continual renewal of the mind.  These three Ethiopian girls are on their way to school.

renewal of the mind: going to school

Renewal can also be just relaxing with friends and playing a game, even if the game involves using bottle caps for checkers.

checkers with bottle caps. Games can renew the soul….. Lake Langano, Ethiopia.

Renewal. This word conjures a variety of images, from bright blossoms to meditating monks. When I think of “renewal,” I think of starting a new job, arriving in a new city that’s ripe for exploration, walking through a new apartment with white walls, and taking a hot shower after a challenging day.  I think of beginnings. Life. Opportunity. What images does Renewal conjure for you? Get creative. Think beyond the usual images (a sunrise, a birth). We want to see what else you can come up with.

Categories: Africa, Bishangari Lodge, Ethiopia, Lake Langano, Lalibela, Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: | 17 Comments

travel theme: bright

Sunday, November 4: Ailsa’s Travel Theme for this week is Bright. She writes: So what bright delights have caught your eye?  Show me your brilliant brights. (Where’s my backpack? Travel Theme: Bright)

Here is a chanting church service at Bet Mikael, one of the churches in Lalibela, Ethiopia, with bright light shining over the believers.

Priests and boys chanting in Bet Mikael at Lalibela, Ethiopia. It’s almost as if the bright light is God beaming down on them….

There are beautiful bright paintings found in all the Lalibela rock-hewn churches.  These churches, built in the 11th century, are still used today.

a bright painting of the Virgin and child at the Lalibela churches

At the Saturday market in Lalibela, bright textiles are offered for sale.

the Saturday market at Lalibela, Ethiopia

And finally, at Lake Langano in southern Ethiopia, the evening twilight casts a bright light over the landscape of acacia trees.

the landscape of Lake Langano at twilight

Categories: Africa, Bet Mikael, Bishangari Lodge, Bright, Ethiopia, Lake Langano, Lalibela, Lalibela rock-hewn churches, Travel Theme | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

last day in addis: makush art gallery, st. george cathedral & the ethnological museum

Thursday, November 1:  On my last day in Addis, Ed has to go to work at the embassy all day.  He arranges with his guard to have a friend of his drive me around all day for around $35.  The guide, whose name I’ve now forgotten, is such an easy-going and likeable guy, I end up having a great time.

He begins by taking me to the Makush Art Gallery.  I’m determined to buy a piece of Ethiopian art.  Yesterday morning, while I was twiddling my thumbs at the embassy, someone told me this is the place to go.  I find out very quickly that Makush is an upscale gallery and the prices are quite high.  This trip hasn’t cost me much money and I still have $200 left in my budget.  I end up spending all of it on two pieces from this gallery.

Tossing my two paintings into the back seat, we drive through the streets of Addis, teeming with dusty and obviously poor residents wearing colorful but mismatched clothes.  The streets are dirty and slightly chaotic.  Corrugated tin stalls line up along every street; people are trying to eke out a space to make a living.  It seems there is no rhyme or reason to the layout of this city.  There seems to be no center of town.  It’s just urban sprawl everywhere.

We arrive at the octagonal St. George Cathedral, conceived to commemorate the 1896 defeat of the Italians in Adwa.  It was commissioned by Emperor Menelik and was dedicated to Ethiopia’s patron saint, St. George.  With the help of Armenian, Greek and Indian artists, the cathedral was completed in 1911.  It’s neoclassical style contrasts sharply with the colorful murals inside.

Adjacent to the cathedral is the museum with its large collection of ecclesiastical paraphernalia including crowns, hand-held crosses, holy scrolls, and the coronation outfits of Empress Zewditu and Emperor Haile Selassie, both of whom were crowned here in 1916 and 1930, respectively.  Sadly, we’re not allowed to take photos in the museum.

Next we drive to the Ethnological Museum, set in Haile Selassie’s former palace, and surrounded by the lush grounds of Addis Ababa University. Right outside the entrance to the museum is a spiral staircase that leads to nowhere. The Italians placed one step here for every year that Mussolini held power, beginning from his march to Rome in 1922. The symbol of the Ethiopian monarchy, a Lion of Judah, sits atop the stairs, a symbol of the eventual defeat of the Italians by Ethiopia.

the spiral staircase to nowhere

the spiral staircase to nowhere

the entrance to the Ethnological Museum

the entrance to the Ethnological Museum

Ethiopian artifacts and handicrafts are displayed in the order of the human life cycle, beginning with Childhood with themes of birth, games and rites of passage, followed by Adult themes of beliefs, traditional medicine, war, hunting and even pilgrimages.  Death and Beyond showcases burial structures and tombs.

hunting in Ethiopia

warriors?

warriors?

Also preserved intact in the museum are Haile Selassie’s bedroom, bathroom and changing room.

On the 2nd floor is some amazing religious art, especially diptychs, triptychs, icons and crosses.

In another cave-like room sits the collection of musical instruments, put in the dark to preserve them from the ravages of light and to showcase them in an ethereal way.

We eat lunch at the Lime Tree Restaurant.  After lunch, my guide convinces me to try the wheat grass juice.  It doesn’t sound very appealing to me, but he assures me it will improve my health considerably.  I try it and am surprised to find it’s actually quite delicious.  And I have to say, I feel much better for the rest of the day, and throughout my long overnight trip back to Muscat. 🙂

Categories: Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Ethnological Museum, Makush Art Gallery, St. George Cathedral | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

holy trinity cathedral & dinner at loti

Wednesday, October 31:  The ornate Holy Trinity Cathedral is believed to be the second most important place of worship in Ethiopia, after the Old Church of Saint Mary of Zion in Aksum, according to Lonely Planet Ethiopia & Eritrea.  It also contains the huge Aksumite-style granite tombs of Emperor Haile Selassie and his wife, Empress Menen Asfaw.

Holy Trinity Cathedral

Holy Trinity Cathedral

The cathedral is a mixture of international styles and boasts a copper dome, slender pinnacles and interesting statues. Inside are some grand murals, rich stained glass windows and two imperial thrones of ebony, ivory and marble.  In one of the large murals, Emperor Haile Selassie stands in front of the League of Nations asking for help against the Italian occupiers.  They refused to help, except for Mexico, which became a long-lasting friend of Ethiopia.

Click on any of the photos below for a full-sized slide show.

In a cemetery surrounding the Cathedral are the remains of ministers who were killed by the Derg in 1974.  Other remains include patriots who died fighting the Italian occupation from 1935 to 1941.  Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935, killing 275,000 Ethiopians with illegal mustard gas and bombing.  In 1936, they captured Addis Ababa, and Emperor Haile Selassie fled the country. At that time the King of Italy was made Emperor of Ethiopia.  Ethiopian patriots played a major role before, during and after the liberation campaign, which ended in May of 1941, when the emperor and his men took over Addis Ababa.

In the museum adjacent to the Cathedral, where we’re not allowed to take pictures, are gold crosses, intricately filigreed chalices, and beautiful books of doxology in Amharic and Arabic.  We see a beautiful mosaic icon of the Virgin Mary donated by Haile Selassie, as well as a mosaic of Haile Selassie wearing all his medals.

After our explorations of Addis, we head back to Ed’s house where we relax a bit.  Later, we go to an excellent French-ish restaurant called Loti.  The restaurant has a lovely ambiance,  with pressed leaves and dried flowers decorating the walls, a colorful poinsettia and artsy plates.  We have some red wine and munch on crackers made of oats, barley and sesame seeds, dipped in a delicious guacamole dip.  I order tilapia assay: tilapia with cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, carrots and potatoes.  For dessert, we indulge on pumpkin pie with ice cream.

me at Loti in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

me at Loti in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Click on any of the images below for a full-sized slide show.

The owner, Mani, walks around to greet all the patrons.  She tells us she studied in the U.S. on a USAID scholarship and she’s proud of her education.  She’s created a beautiful restaurant and is rightfully proud of her achievement. 🙂

Mani, the gracious owner of Loti

Mani, the gracious owner of Loti

Categories: Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Loti Restaurant & Bar | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

lunch at the lucy gazebo restaurant & the national museum of ethiopia

Wednesday, October 31:  After we drive down from the Entoto Mountains, we head for lunch at the Lucy Gazebo Restaurant, attached to the National Museum of Ethiopia.

the entrance to the National Museum complex

the entrance to the Lucy Gazebo Restaurant

The outdoor Lucy Gazebo Restaurant is lush with tropical plants, decorative sculptures and Ethiopian art.  I start with carrot soup and then eat a delicious chicken avocado pizza with tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms and cheese.

Next door, the National Museum of Ethiopia houses one of the most important collections in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Lonely Planet Ethiopia & Eritrea.

entrance to the National Gallery of Ethiopia

entrance to the National Gallery of Ethiopia

Statue outside the museum

Statue outside the museum

Haile Selassie addresses some young men.

Haile Selassie addresses some young men.

The paleontology exhibit on the basement level showcases the extinct sabre-toothed cat Homotherium and the huge savannah pig Notochoerus.

part of the paleontology exhibit

part of the paleontology exhibit

The most interesting things are the two amazing casts of the 3.2 million year-old Lucy, a fossilized hominid discovered in 1974.  One lies prone in a glass case and the other is standing. Her small frame is a reminder of how small our ancestors were.

According to one of the museum’s curators, the real bones, which are normally preserved in the museum’s archives, are currently on tour in the USA.   Lucy’s tour begins at the Houston Museum of Natural History; after Houston, she travels to Seattle, Boston and back to Houston.  Lucy’s pilgrimage is designed to let the international community know Ethiopia’s importance to the history of humans.

Lucy was discovered in a dried-up lake near Hadar in northeast Ethiopia.  This new species, called A. afarensis walked on two legs, which overturned earlier theories that our ancestors only started walking upright after they evolved larger brains.

When I walk into the basement, one of the museum’s curators is opening the glass case that contains the casts of Lucy’s prone bones. He takes one of the finger bones and hands it over to a group of young men who want to borrow it.  This group is making a film showing primates’ connection to humans through Lucy and they want to borrow the cast finger bone for their documentary.  This seems quite crazy to me, as I cannot imagine a curator at any museum in the USA taking out a piece of an exhibit and handing it over to someone to “borrow!”

The center of the ground floor of the museum showcases a collection of royal paraphernalia including Emperor Haile Selassie’s enormous carved wooden throne.  On the walls of this central area are paintings of Ethiopia’s rulers, including Emperor Menelik, Emperor Yohannes, and of course Haile Selassie.  Surprisingly, among these emperors is a painting of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam, the leader of the horrible Derg (Committee) that deposed Haile Selassie in 1974.  Their destructive rule, including the Red Terror, lasted until 1991.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

the top of Haile Selassie’s throne

Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam ~ leader of the Derg

Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam ~ leader of the Derg

On the periphery of the ground floor are artifacts from the pre-Aksumite, Aksumite, Solomonic and Gonder periods.

some statues from early times

some statues from early times

On the first floor, what we in America call the 2nd floor, is a colorful display of Ethiopian art ranging from early parchment to 20th century canvas oil paintings by modern artists, including  Afewerk Tekle’s African Heritage.

one of the paintings in the art gallery on the 1st floor

one of the paintings in the art gallery on the 1st floor

Finally, on the top floor, we find a secular arts and crafts collection, including traditional clothing, weapons, jewelry, utensils and musical instruments.

Categories: Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Lucy Gazebo Restaurant, National Museum of Ethiopia | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

back to addis: the entoto mountains and the st. raguel & elias historical church

Wednesday, October 31:  This morning we get up at 6:00 a.m. so we can leave bright and early for the U.S. Embassy.  Ed needs to do some work before we take off for sightseeing, so he brings me along to twiddle my thumbs and wait…and wait.  From the embassy, after nearly two hours of waiting, we head directly into the Entoto Mountains.

the view of Addis Ababa from the Entoto Mountains

the view of Addis Ababa from the Entoto Mountains

The Entoto Mountains, north of Addis Ababa, were the site of Emperor Menelik’s former capital.  We admire the sprawling view of the city below.  We pass donkeys carrying loads of eucalyptus, which the locals have cut branch by branch off the trees on the mountain, leading to soil erosion and deterioration of the forest. Some donkeys carry grass to sell to the locals who spread grass over their mud floors when they have guests.  Women trudge up and down the mountain carrying loads of firewood on their backs, day in and day out. Apparently aid organizations are trying to find these women other means of livelihood, but it’s obvious many women are still dependent upon this work.

Forests stripped bare for survival

Forests stripped bare for survival

Burdens of firewood

Burdens of firewood

Near the top of the mountain, we stop at St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church. Inside the church are multitudes of brightly colored paintings that tell bizarre stories. We see paintings, as we do in every Ethiopian church, of St. George, the patron saint of the country.  We see the apostles meeting gruesome deaths.  We see the devil looking quite devilish.  Ethiopia’s Christian stories are rich in legend, and these legends are told pictorially in these paintings.  We find a saint who prayed for 7 years; though one of his legs has fallen off, he does have 6 wings. We see Doubting Thomas.  We see a large painting of the miracles of Christ: here he heals a blind man, there he turns water into wine, and here he raises Lazarus from the dead.

the sign to the church...

the sign to the church…

Entoto St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church

Entoto St. Raguel & Elias Historical Church

the dome on the church

the dome on the church

one of the many beautiful paintings in the church

one of the many beautiful paintings in the church

the holy altar

the holy altar

various saints on horseback

various saints on horseback

Besides the amazing stylized paintings in this church, there is a rock-hewn church on the grounds.  The passageway to this church, covered in moss, leads to a sanctuary where early Christians worshiped.

Click on any of the photos below to see a full-sized slide show.

Categories: Addis Ababa, Africa, Entoto Mountains, Ethiopia, st. raguel & elias historical church | 3 Comments

hobnobbing with the shorebirds at lake langano

Tuesday, October 30:  This morning, we pack up for our return trip to Addis Ababa.  We eat a breakfast of omelets: Ed has an Ethiopian Omelet with tomato, onion, & chili, and I have an Omelet a la Bishangari, with mango, pineapple, banana and sugar. I’m surprised it has more of a savory flavor than sweet.  We drink fresh papaya juice and coffee.  The tea and coffee set-up harkens back to British colonial days and adds a nostalgic ambiance to our morning.  It’s our last day here and I’m sad to leave.

We take a walk along the lake edge to check out the shorebirds.  The day is crisp and breezy; the clouds are in fine form in a hazy blue sky.  Ed is hesitant to cross outside of the fenced-in area of Bishangari Lodge, but I figure we went there last night and it was perfectly fine, so why not?  He’s afraid we’ll be harassed by the locals for money or handouts.  I’m not worried because I know how to say no and how to ignore people who harass me.  I’m determined to cross no matter what he decides to do.  In the end, he comes along.

speckled pigeon

speckled pigeon

acacia trees on the landscape near the lake

acacia trees on the landscape near the lake

marshland

marshland

Our adventurous foray is richly rewarded.  We see speckled pigeons, little egrets, white and gray pelicans, cormorants, and ducks.  They allow us to approach them without flying away.  We linger for a long time, creeping silently closer.  Finally, after most of them leisurely swim or fly away, showing no fear of us at all, we make our way back to the lodge.  We meet an olive baboon and stroll under more amazing ficus trees.  Then we head back on the road for our trip to Addis Ababa.

a flock of little egrets

a flock of little egrets

pumice-stone moonscape

pumice-stone moonscape

white & gray pelicans

white & gray pelicans

white pelicans and cormorants

white pelicans and cormorants

white pelicans and cormorants

white pelicans and cormorants

more white pelicans and cormorants

more white pelicans and cormorants

white pelicans & cormorants

white pelicans & cormorants

looks to me like a pregnant pelican!

looks to me like a pregnant pelican!

pelicans afloat

pelicans afloat

cormorants

cormorants

the lakeshore

the lakeshore

me in front of a huge ficus tree

me in front of a huge ficus tree

olive baboons

olive baboon

pretty tree

pretty tree

tukul huts

tukul huts

local houses

local houses

scenery on the drive back to Addis

scenery on the drive back to Addis

fields

fields

In the evening, when we return to Addis Ababa, we eat a meal that Ed’s housekeeper/cook Kitay has prepared for us: injera, wat, cabbage & potatoes, lentils.  We top it off with some Montrouge Merlot.  Later, Ed shows me pictures on his computer, but when I want to show him pictures of my time in Greece, he’s not really interested.

As there is really nothing to do in the evening, he suggests we watch a movie.  Just as he’s about to put it on, he says he needs to make a business call to the U.S.  I wait.  And wait.  Finally I go upstairs to read, and hear him chatting away on Skype to his sons.  He is heading back to the U.S. on Saturday, and today is Tuesday, so I figure the conversation will be short.  It isn’t.  As a matter of fact, I give up and get in bed to read, telling him I’m no longer interested in watching the movie.  This is one time I wish I had the numbers of my colleagues so I could join them somewhere in Addis for some fun.

Categories: Acacia trees, Africa, bird-watching, Birds, Bishangari Lodge, Ethiopia, Lake eco-zone, Lake Langano, Pumice stone eco-zone | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

a hippo-spotting walk in the blue light… {…but where are the hippos?}

Monday, October 29:  This evening, we go with our guide on a hippo-spotting walk.  Sadly, we don’t see any hippos.  However, we do see a beautiful marshland, glowing acacia trees growing out of a pumice moonscape, and a simultaneous sunset and moonrise.  All this while we’re enveloped by beautiful blue light and a cool gentle breeze.

Click on any of the photos below to see a full-sized slide show.


Categories: Acacia trees, Africa, Ethiopia, Lake Langano | 3 Comments

massages & creature encounters at lake langano

Monday, October 29:  After our morning of birdwatching, we each have an hour-long massage in the massage hut. It’s wonderfully relaxing, except for the deep tissue kneading the masseuse does on my calves.  They feel bruised and beaten after all is said and done.

the massage hut at Bishangari Lodge

the massage hut at Bishangari Lodge

Behind this door lies a great massage!

Behind this door lies a great massage!

our masseuse doubles duty as a waitress

our masseuse doubles duty as a waitress

After our massages, we take another walk along the lakeshore, where we see a couple of scary-looking birds that appear to be right out of some prehistoric age.  They’re Abyssinian ground hornbills, and they don’t seem frightened of us at all.  They just strut their stuff confidently under the acacia trees and across the pumice rock.

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

Abyssinian Ground Hornbill

While the strange black birds strut around like they own the land, a yellow-billed stork sits quietly on the lakeshore.

yellow-billed stork

yellow-billed stork

yellow-billed stork takes flight

yellow-billed stork takes flight

yellow-billed stork

yellow-billed stork

And we see a companionable little group of spur-winged plovers and Senegal thick-knees relaxing on the pumice stones.

spur-winged plovers and Senegal thick knees

spur-winged plovers and Senegal thick knees

grassy land beside the lake

grassy land beside the lake

As we stroll back through the forest toward our cabin, we hear leaves rustling overhead and find some elusive black & white Colobus monkeys darting about through the branches.  This one sits still just long enough for us to capture a blurry image of him on camera.

Colobus monkey in the forest

Colobus monkey in the forest

And later still, as I swing on the hammock by the lake, this black bird comes into the branches directly overhead.  I’m not sure what he is, but he’s possibly a Northern black flycatcher or a fork-tailed drongo.  I don’t know about the forked tail though, as his tail doesn’t look very forked to me.

Northern Black Flycatcher or fork-tailed drongo?  Not sure... :-)

Northern black flycatcher or fork-tailed drongo? Not sure… 🙂

Here at Lake Langano is the first time I have ever done any birdwatching, and I find it quite fascinating, especially as Ed knows his birds and has a book about birds of Ethiopia.  I love being out in nature at this place along Lake Langano.

Categories: Acacia trees, Africa, bird-watching, Ethiopia, Forest, Lake eco-zone, Lake Langano, Pumice stone eco-zone | 3 Comments

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Japan Wonders

Exploring Japan's popular tourist spots and off-the-beaten path

A lot from Lydia

You can learn a lot from Lydia...(It's a song, not a promise.)

Ink Arts by Carol

My site for offering my alcohol ink arts

I see Beauty everyday

Blessed be the ones that see beauty where others see nothing

BOOKING IT

Debra's Excellent Adventures in Reading and Travel

Marsha Ingrao

Traveling & Blogging Near and Far

PIRAN CAFÉ

Notebooks from a trampfest. Travel tips, tales and images, online since 2006.

Word Wabbit

Wrestless Word Wrestler

Cardinal Guzman

Encyclopedia Miscellaneous - 'quality' blogging since August 2011

A Faraway Home

Stories and tips from home and far away

Pit's Fritztown News

A German Expat's Life in Fredericksburg/Texas

Under a Cornish Sky

inspired by the colours of the land, sea and sky of Cornwall

sloveniangirlabroad.wordpress.com/

A blog about expat life and travel adventures written by an Slovenian girl living in Switzerland

Let Me Bite That

Can I have a bite?

Running Stories by Jerry Lewis

Personal blog about running adventures

Finding NYC

exploring New York City one adventure at a time

The World according to Dina

Notes on Seeing, Reading & Writing, Living & Loving in The North

snippetsandsnaps

Potato Point and beyond

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

The Eye of a Thieving Magpie

My view of this wonderful and crazy life - as I travel and explore.

renateflynn.wordpress.com/

A (Mostly) Solo Female Exploring the World

NYLON DAZE

From London to New York, living in an expat daze

Blue Hour Photo Workshops

Photography is a constant travel to new places

Travel Much?

Never cease to explore and tell!

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog

Badfish & Chips Cafe

Travel photos, memoirs & letters home...from anywhere in the world

Travels in the Middle East and beyond

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart " Confucius.

Natalie Breuer

Natalie. Writer. Photographer. Etc.

A Thousand Diversions

Travel, food & random things

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Lost in Translation

Looking for meanings in words, images and sounds

simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple and active travel. They post about their trips, including their travels around the world in 2013-2014. They welcome your comments and suggestions.

60 mm

a world in miniature

TRAVEL WORDS

Adventures and Postcards from the road

WordsVisual

Mostly photographs with some words by this arty scientist...

restlessjo

Roaming, at home and abroad

Stories from Europe

Travel, culture, everyday life stories from a Nepali girl

Lucid Gypsy

Come away with the raggle taggle gypsy-o

Self-Inflicted Drama

Stories of wanderlust, adventure and occasional disaster.

The Glasgow Gallivanter

Adventures at home and abroad

%d bloggers like this: