44 – Market Day & More Rock Hewn Churches

Sat 9th Jan, Alef Paradise Hotel, Lalibela
Started off the day by checking out the rest of the churches. The most impressive has to be St George’s, standing away from the other clusters and built into the rock in the shape of a giant cross.
On the way to the grounds, noticed there was a Sat morning 5km Lalibela run sponsored by World Vision and UNICEF. Everyone was in a red or green t-shirt. I would have joined the run if I had known about it yesterday. I think my fitness level is very low, evident from all the huffing and puffing while trekking up the mountains. I wonder what route they take, since the town is built on the slopes, an uphill 5km would be vastly different from a downhill 5km run.
I spent all day walking around the town, from the hotel across town to the bus station, to higher ground where the churches are, to the saturday market. Yet i am unable to fathom the layout of the town. I pride myself on being able to orientate with the help of a map, which in this case is the LP printout. But this town has me stumped. Don’t get me wrong, i am able to go from point A to point B easily.. But I have no idea how I get there. The reason is there are multiple parallel roads built along the contours of the mountains. And they criss cross each other. There are also two sets, on either side of the ridgeline where the churches are. All too confusing.
The other interesting thing to mention was market day. Everyone was at the market. I had a field day taking photos of the sellers and their wares. There was honey for tej, a honey wine, salt, coffee, beans, barley, tef the grain for injeera, onions, spices, dried chilli, sorghum. For livestock they were trading goats, donkeys, chicken. Clothes, gabis, daily necessities and the like. It was a small market, yet everything is compacted in that area.
Tomorrow morning I’ll be up at 4am to go to the bus station. I haven’t decided whether to go to Bahir Dar or Addis (130birr, two days overnighting at Dessie). There is no direct bus to Bahir Dar, so i will have to take a bus down to Gashena (30 birr) if i want to go that way. Then join the Woldia-Bahir Dar bus, Dessie-Bahir Dar bus or another one of those.

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