Exploring Lalibela and getting lost in its maze of rock-hewn churches was an unforgettable experience and one which I am sure we will cherish forever! I think that the pictures will do more justice to the experience than a lengthy explanation. Even so it is hard to capture how captivating it is to wonder through these red sandstone churches that stand completely apart from the rock from which they were painstakingly freed. In brief, these churches were crafted in the 12th Century by King Lalibela who wanted to recreate a “Jerusalem” in Ethiopia for pilgrims to worship instead of leaving the continent to Palestine.
The most remarkable thing about visiting these churches today in the 21st century is that unlike so many UNESCO world heritage sites, where you can’t help but feel like there is no longer any living context to the ruins which so often are transformed into mere tourist traps. In Lalibela the churches are still used by the local population and pilgrims who travel from afar to worship here and it is with them that you are exploring this living history. There are still monks and nuns who live in caves crafted out of the mountain around the churches and who hold ceremonies inside the church. So in many ways it feels like you are really walking around a Lalibela from the 12th century, which has been crystalized in time. If it weren’t for UNESCO’s obtrusive scaffolding this illusion of time would be entirely convincing! But Lalibela’s churches with the sound of chanting pilgrims, incense and beeswax candles is not its only treat… just as wonderful was walking around the village and witnessing life in this beautiful little town taking place before us.
We are now in Addis Ababa and are aware that the blog is a bit behind but we have had two full days of rather strenuous riding and no access to internet so we hope to update you soon on this adventure… including the 400km off-road detour as a result of a broken bridge… so stay tuned!
We also plead with you to not forget about our very worthy cause- RAISING FUNDS FOR THE EARTHCHILD PROJECT. Please make a donation now- the money you would spend on your dinner tonight?
Here is a quote from a child who is a part of the Earthchild Project's healthy tuckshop in Lavender Hill which aims to encourage healthy eating & skills development by teaching children to run a small business
“The healthy tuck shop gives me something special to do to help others, I love being part of something that helps me too.” Candice, grd 5
I think this speak for the wonderful work they are doing. To make a donation follow this link:
Come on… it is such an easy way to make a positive impact right now! Thanks and much love xxx