Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Market Day in Lalibela, Ethiopia

Our first adventure in Ethiopia was exploring Lalibela in the north, home to the famous rock hewn churches. We had the weekend in town and quite by chance we'd planned it perfectly. 

Saturday is Market Day and brings in people from throughout the region and on Sunday morning the rock churches are full of people attending the weekly service.

On Saturday morning, we drove from the airport down in the plains, weaving up through the hills to Lalibela, a little town perched high up on the side of a mountain. Along the way we spotted hundreds of people with produce packed tightly in bags, on their backs, or strapped to donkeys. Everyone was on the move to make it to the market.

After dropping our bags at our lodge and taking a brief mid-morning siesta, we climbed the hill and followed the road back to the ridge where the market was held. We were escorted by some cheeky little people who were keen to practice their English and show us the market fare.
Wow. Amongst the sea of umbrellas and make-shift awnings were piles of grain and dried chillies, pots of honey and the local wine tej, plastic shoes and the whitest white shawls to be worn at church. We loved how un-touristy the market was - no cheap Chinese imports or over priced trinkets - this was the outdoor version of the community supermarket.
Very few people spoke English, so we made do with comical hand signals and a little help from our tiny escorts. We sniffed fresh spices and dried tea leaves, dodged donkeys and marveled at the vast number of people meandering through the market. It really was incredible.

And speaking of incredible, look what we found perched on the top of a nearby ridge! We enjoyed a sunset drink at Ben Abeba, an out-of-this-world restaurant with the most spectacular view of the highlands. After the sun snuck behind the hills, we stayed on for a delicious traditional Ethiopian dinner, snuggled up in thick blankets and warming ourselves by a small bonfire.
It was a wonderful first day of our Abyssinian adventure!

1 comment:

  1. I love looking at all your photos Laura! The contrasts are amazing.
    Thanks for 'finding' me again ;) xo