Sunday, 2 October 2016

A mountaintop monastery

The path to Asheten Maryam Monastery passes through green fields of wheat and tef, an Ethiopian grain

On my last day in Lalibela I hiked up to a monastery called Asheten Maryam where 15 monks live atop a 3150m-high mountain, in their words, "to be closer to God". The monastery itself is unspectacular but the walk, through villages, fields and wildflowers, past streams of people and mules lugging supplies up the mountain, and finally through a narrow cleft in the cliffs, was fabulous. I had to hire a guide this time because I couldn't have found the monastery on my own; that's him below. He's a lovely fellow, named Sisay, and unlike many guides here he doesn't talk incessantly so I could just get on with enjoying the scenery. 

Sisay, my guide to Asheten Maryam

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