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Holy City of Lalibela

Lalibela is a must-have-seen city in Ethiopia. The major reason is its special rock-hewn churches which I haven’t seen in the whole world before. What makes them special is that they are hewn that deep into the ground/rock that the roof is even with the earth’s surface. We planned a full day of church visits for tomorrow and you will find some pictures under that day’s blog entry.

After driving all morning we arrived in Lalibela around 2pm. Right opposite the hotel is a small restaurant called “Unique”. It looked very unimpressive from the outside but since it was recommended by the Lonely Planet some of us gave it a try. The restaurant is basically a one women show. She’s a lovely little lady with a big smile who is taking the orders, preparing and serving all the food. Therefore, you need to bring some patience and two hours of time. As soon as we sat down the lady brought the menu and a recommendation book which included recommendations of other western traveller who were eating here before. The menu had only a few items including local and Western style of food such as vegetable pizza. We ordered different type of food and all was very good and the best we’ve eaten since weeks.

In the afternoon some of us went for a walk around in town. Lalibela is quite hilly which gives you a good exercise when walking. The town was about as touristy as Axum featuring several restaurants and handicraft shops. We ended our walk in a local Tej house. Tej is the local honey wine served in a glass which looks like a flask you know from the chemistry class at school. There were three different types of Tej available: soft, medium and strong. The soft and medium one costs 5 Birr (0.29 USD) and the strong one 3 Birr (0.18 USD). Since I don’t drink much alcohol a flask of the strong Tej for 0.18 USD would be fully sufficient to make me completely drunken. This is the cheapest booze I seen so far. Speaking about the taste of the Tej, it actually doesn’t taste like honey or wine but more like dirty water with lots of alcohol.

In the evening I went with Michelle for dinner to the “Unique” restaurant and we ate a very delicious chicken dish. It’s also Michelle’s twenty-first birthday tomorrow and since she cannot be in Las Vegas as many North Americans do for their twenty-first birthday we at least watched the movie “Hangover” playing in Vegas for our evening entertainment.