Our expedition started November 11th, 2000 by car drive to the Pragues' airport. We are three of us - Me, Thomas and Daniel (we're working in the same company). First exciting situation was big traffic jam on a road to the airport (friday!) and we arrived just 50 minutes before departure (18:20). We wrapped our backpacks into plastic folie. Their weight was 16,8-17,2kg. Probably the lightest what I ever had on my trips. But hand back stuffed with photo/video equipment had 8 kilos! Last kisses with our girlfriends/wifes which we left in "safe" Europe and our trip started by short flight from Prague to Frankfurt. With one hour delay we're taking off just around midnight.
We're flying with Ethiopean Airlines, aircraft Boeing 757. Stewardeses were nice, food was also good ... and we drink whisky for success of our small expedition. Time shift is + 2 hrs. Early morning "wake-up shaking" by stewardeses with hot towels. We saw Nile river and plains of Sudan (really dry). Arrival at 9 a.m. LT.Adis Ababa
The airport was a nice surprise, clean, fast procedure ... and just beside they are building huge new terminal.
We changed money on bank outlet at the airport (1USD=8,27 Birr). We took a yellow cab for 45B directly to our embassy.
We left return fly tickets there and informed about us. The visit of czech people in Ethiopia is very rare, three to four times per year.
We found accomodation in Baro hotel in Piazza quater "on a hill". Quite O.K. = 3 bed room with shower and toilet for 90B. 3,3USD per person
good bargain! (later we found that taxi and even this hotel were slightly overpriced!). We did some sightseeng. One young boy
making for us "guide". We're slowly getting aclimatized to the "culture shock". It's surprisingly colder than we expected. Everybody around
speaks at least English (better than we experienced on Frankfurt airport!). A lot of beggars and kids are begging. On the other hand it is
clean on the streets. Adis is mostly one big street "Churchil Avenue" with Piazza on one side and bus/train station on th eother side.
We visited Internet Office (just beside the czech embassy) and sending e-mails and SMSes for 1B per minute (it was our first and last
fast Internet connection in Ethiopia). Everybody has the latest Compaq or Dell computers. There is also Internet in our hotel but for
5B per minute, forget! We went to pub for beer with our "guide" (ber for 4B, tonik 2,5B). In TV is wrestling from US and European football league.
12.11. Wake-up 4:50 and drive to the airport. First todays' surprise were nearly hundreds of jogging people on empty streets. Adis is locted in hills at 2600-3000m and now is clear why ethiopeans are winning all these long run turnaments. We payed departure tax 10B.
We're flying with Fokker50. It's full. Cca 1/3 are foreigners, middle or higher age, mostly french persons. Backpakers we havent seen. Flight schedule was Bahir Dar - Gondar - Lalibela. Before landing at Bahir Darem we have to shut our windows due to some "security zone". We received sandwitch(chees) + sprite/cola. From Bahir Dar to Gondar we flew above Tana lake, it's huge. And than above mountains to Lalibela (arrival 9:50). We were welcomed by brand new spotlessly clean marmour airport. I am stoned! I expected some wodden hut, dirty, etc ...
We took minibus to the village for 30B/per. The road is very good asphalt (later we found that it was really exception for ethiopean roads). Surrounding is fantastic. Clusters of huts, sunflowers and corn fields and nice mountains on the background. We drove quite high to the mountains. We passed by a lot of colorly dressed pilgrims. Lalibela is still pilgrim place with vivid celebrations. Finally we decided for continuing of some "luxury" and took LAL hotel. 3 bed room with shower and toilet for 100B. It is three times less than in the guidebook!! Ethiopia is probably the only country in the world where level of services goes up and prices goes down - nice :-)).
LATEST NEWS: according report from my German friends there is much different situation during the Christmas time when is very packed and prices higher.
We started visit of the "eight wonder of the world" rock-hewn churches. There is together 13 churches in three clusters. Immediately we are surrounded by the children which following us whole time. Everybody speaks quite well English. When they found that we are from Czech Republic, one of them took from the pocket czech 20 crown coin and rest of kids shouted "Patrik Berger" (footbal player). Shock! We gave them baloons and pens. Entrance fee is 100B/per + 150B for videocamera. Quite a lot of money.
Firstly we visited St.George church in a shape of cross and probably the most beautiful and famous from all churches. Is rather hot and beer in Blue Lal restaurant is refreshing. We still do not have confidence for local meal and stuffing our stomach with mŁesli bars from czech. Afternoon we went through the rest of the churches (there is noon break for visitors until 2 p.m.). It is whole rock hewn labyrinth. In every church was a priest which showed us relic items. We didn't take a guide. But it may be useful especially against kids which followed us by every step.
13.11. The night was so so, moskitos (and they shouldn't be above 1800m and we were nearly 3000m!) and 5 centimetres big crickets. Morning bus picked us to the airport. We had a lot of time therefore went around airport SUPER!! Lalibela airport is located in the middle od the nature without any town or village only just few huts. On millet field were "live scarecrows" - children which stay all day, whistling and throwing stones.
We climbed "acacia hill" with fine view to Mt.Josef 4190m. It should be next National Park there. One irish guy went up rom Lalibela toward Mt.Jose and visited very interesting monastery. Next time if I will be in Lalibela I'll go there + trek to Mt.Josef + exploration around the airport (maybye by foot to Lalibela). We gave a coffee in hut close to airport and at 11:30 a.m. we have flight to Gondar.