When you have the opportunity to leave the bustling chaos of Addis Ababa and embark on a week-long adventure through northern Ethiopia with dear friends — you just say yes. Rolling hills, ombre-haired monkeys, fortresses, castles, cobblestone roads full of ancient beauty — here we come!
We left the city in the early morning and it wasn’t long before lush, green hills began to emerge on the road to Gonder, often called the “Camelot of Africa”. In this royal city are the remains of ancient castles as well as Fasiladas’ Bath, a peaceful spot where tree roots have taken over whole sections of the stone walls.
Up next, we trekked into the unforgettably stunning Simien Mountains, and believe me when I say that the hills were truly alive. We sat with monkey’s and listened to their loud chatter, climbed hill after hill, each with views better than the last — and all the while, a cool breeze was keeping us invigorated for the next adventure.
Our last stop was Lalibela, where we discovered the beauty of many rock-hewn churches. To walk through those quiet stone doorways, carved into the mountain by hand, felt other-worldly. Pilgrims were reading their bibles with cheeks pressed to the holy walls, faint whispers of prayers were heard around every corner, and the soft stone was cold against our bare feet. Perhaps most famous of all the churches is St. George, which was painstakingly excavated out of rock using only hammer and chisel, nearly 40 feet into the earth. It was truly a wonder to see in person.
Ethiopia is a country alive with culture and rich artistic expression, reflecting a deep history and human ingenuity. And it is beyond beautiful — a land of age-old hills and stone, stories and wonder. I feel incredibly fortunate to have experienced such a remarkable place.
Photos by Hazel & Pine.
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