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Ethiopia's World / የኢትዮጵያ ዓለም

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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Travellers: Cairo Is Full Of Rude People And Dubai Is Soulless

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 18, 2016

 Travellers Reveal The Worst Places They’ve Visited

  • Dubai, UAE, was blasted as being ‘soulless, cultureless and artificial’

  • Venice in Italy was branded overrated and extortionately overpriced

  • Sihanoukville in Cambodia was labelled a ‘hole’ by several commenters

hamtaxiIt’s easy to rave about the most amazing places we’ve been in the world, but you hear less about the worst.

Reddit users have taken to the online community to reveal their destination clangers, whether it’s because the cities were uninspiring, filthy, or overcrowded.

Some of them were surprising – Paris and Venice for example – and were declared overrated ‘tourist traps’; while others were locations more off the radar, with places like Little Rock Arkansas simply blasted for being dull.

Cairo – Egypt’s ancient capital – was panned by several Reddit users, with two labelling the people there ‘rude’.

‘The city is filthy and the people were just awful,’ one remarked. ‘Crooked taxi drivers that won’t run the meter and won’t take non-Muslims,’ another wrote.

Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur and Italy’s famed Venice were both mentioned as being extortionately overpriced.

Continue reading…

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Forget the Safari: Africa’s Most Intriguing New Destination

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on September 15, 2016

One of Africa’s newest biosphere reserves, Ethiopia’s Lake Tana and its island monasteries are holy ground for art- and nature-lovers

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LIKE MANY MARRIED couples, my husband and I have very different ideas about what constitutes a fun vacation. Last February, for example, while he took off for a week-long European skiing trip with his friends, I opted to spend two weeks traveling solo around dry and dusty northern Ethiopia. I’ve been drawn to Ethiopia ever since my high school years, in Flint, Mich., when a classmate, who’d moved from Addis Ababa to the U.S., regaled me with stories of the country, with its prototypical, fairytale-like castles and elaborate churches carved out of rock. It sounded pretty exotic to my teenage self. More than two decades later, as my guide, Dawit Teferi, who along with a driver, took me around the rock churches in the Tigray region and then to see the verdant peaks and valleys of the Simien Mountains, northern Ethiopia delivered on those early promises. But I never expected anything like Lake Tana.

The largest body of water in landlocked Ethiopia, Lake Tana is about 1,400 square miles, a fraction of the size of Lake Michigan, my childhood stamping grounds, but with an outsize claim to fame: It’s the source of the Blue Nile, which, once it joins with the White Nile, in Khartoum, Sudan, becomes the world’s second-largest river. But Lake Tana isn’t just holy ground for geography nerds. Within the lake’s copper-colored waters are 37 islands, many of which shelter centuries-old churches and monasteries filled with brilliantly colored frescoes and paintings. And since custodians of sacred religious sites tend to be gentle on their natural surroundings too, last year Unesco declared Lake Tana a biosphere reserve.

The morning Dawit and I arrived in Bahir Dar, the largest city on the shores of Lake Tana, we had already spent three sweltering hours driving in from the old royal capital of Gondar, and I was champing at the bit to see the Blue Nile waterfall. The churches could wait. After checking into our hotel, we drove another hour, on a horribly bumpy road, to a riverfront village where we caught a small ferry to cross the tributary waters of the Blue Nile. Three minutes later, we were on the opposite riverbank, walking past fields of sugar cane, onions and khat (a popular local stimulant). We soon rounded a bend, and seemingly out of nowhere appeared the falls, pouring down a 147-foot rock face. Dawit told me that the falls—also known as “Tis Abay” (“Smoke of the Nile”) in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language—were half the volume they’d be right after the rainy season, which ends in September. Even so, they gave off an impressive spray. We watched as locals climbed on the slippery rocks, eager for the cooling mist, but I worried about getting too close; falling into these hippo-filled waters seemed a surefire way to ruin a vacation. So after some manic photo-taking, we headed back, passing by a rickety bridge that connects the two sides of the river. A farmer walked his three donkeys across, seeming to take no notice of the sway. Dawit bought chickpeas, still on the branch, which we munched on as we walked back to the boat dock in the glaring midday sun.

After lunch back in busy, palm tree-lined Bahir Dar, we hopped on a small ferry to take us across Lake Tana toward the 16th-century monastery of Ura Kidane Mehret, built on the Zege Peninsula that juts into the lake. It took our little boat about an hour to reach the shore, and then we trekked uphill another 20 minutes, passing coffee bushes, screeching monkeys and vendors selling hand-carved figurines and sistrums, musical instruments to accompany chanting. Sweaty and cranky from the heat by the time we arrived, I stepped inside the candlelit church—shoes off—and was immediately soothed.

Like most Ethiopian Orthodox churches in Lake Tana, this one was round, fragrant with incense and awash with murals and paintings, all done in golds, vivid reds, greens and blues. Many depicted biblical scenes of Mary, while others illustrated Ethiopian saints, such as Takla Haymanot, who, it is said, prayed for so many years standing on one leg that it finally broke off. Dawit told me these paintings were about 250 years old but that other nearby churches had much older works and relics. Between the 14th and 16th centuries, Lake Tana’s isolated monasteries served as hiding places for both people and religious treasures, including, legend has it, the Ark of the Covenant. (The ark is now said to be in the city of Axum, in the far north.)

On our way back to Bahir Dar, at the end of the day, we stopped at the small forested island of Entos Eyesu to visit one more church. There, a young monk in a white robe greeted us and led us into another small round sanctuary, explaining that the chapel was rebuilt in the 1990s, but the original church dated back to the 1400s. In the monastery’s tiny museum, a young nun in flip-flops took out a 700-year-old holy book to show us the drawings of St. George, the patron saint of Ethiopia, depicted on its goatskin pages. For the umpteenth time during my trip, I was thrilled to be exactly where I was—and not skiing.

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The Most ‘Photographed’ Cities In The World According To Google

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on March 20, 2014

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Google a heat map showing the world’s most photographed places in the world based on the photos uploaded via Google’s Panoramio. It hooks up the images with locations in Google Earth and Google maps. The results of the algorithms and the heat map itself can be seen in Sightsmap.

You can even begin planning a trip with the map by selecting a starting point and destination, which brings up estimated travel time and links to travel sites.

The smart markers feature automatically features the top 10 places and more places can be seen by toggling the places menu. Rankings can be seen according to the visible area.

The most-photographed areas are highlighted in yellow on the map with the next-in-rank filled in color orange, then pink and purple last.

New York is the most photographed city in the world, according to The Daily Mail, with “more images of New York landmarks and scenes have been uploaded via Panoramio than any other city.” Following in the list are the cities of Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Istanbul.

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Metropolis of The Youth: Forget Europe, the Future lives in Addis Abeba

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 15, 2014

How lucky are South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, or even China to have such a generous neighbor like Japan which helped them transform and develop themselves in a single generation?

During his visit to Ethiopia, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan would focus on Africa’s young people and women in “the continent that carries the hopes of the world” On the other hand, forces of darkness – our long-time enemies – are out there to destroy these pillars of our society the Japanese PM was talking about: Women & children.

AddisHThe following is an in-depth and beautifully-written article by German journalist and writer, Andrea Hanna Hünniger about an emotional, and rather objective aspect of her surprising discovery concerning the coming dynamic generation of Ethiopians. She identifies and compares the lifestyles of Addis Abeba and Berlin city-dwellers.

Her diary got a relatively high readers resonance – for a Africa-relevant story –however, almost all the comments were filled with envy, mockery and ignorance towards Africans and the potential development of their continent – one can note with incredulity that anti-African racism is still a feature of European public discourse. For now, it seems, the only thing, that Europe can still do better than others in Africa is military intervention.


Forget Europe, the Future lives in Addis Abeba” is the title of the article published recently in one of my favorite European dailies, the prestigious „WELT“

Some of the most interesting comparative facts observed by Ms. Hanna Hünniger’s were:

European Decadence

I’m bored with news about the coalition-negotiations, weather reports, the bling bling bishop, blablabla… I said, I’ve to go to Africa. Europe and its population are aging,  in Ethiopia, the average age is 18 years – so, who finds life boring in Germany needs to go to Ethiopia – there, you can feel the future in the air

Ethiopia Runs

In Addis Abeba, I see everyday hundreds of runners during training. Over two thousand meters above sea level, here you’ve ideal training conditions. A nation that is not easy to beat in a continuous endurance running

Walking in Faith

Unlike Berlin, in Addis, many hundreds of people run a spiritual marathon by going to the Orthodox Christian Churches three times a day

The Paradox

In less spiritual Berlin everything is still and quite on a day like Sunday – shops and offices are closed. Yet, in Addis Abeba we experienced the loudest Sunday of our life…crowded street corners, the shops, the music, the traffic. Though we taught a person somehow needs a day of rest like on a Sunday,  it feels like Africa is on the move, that the future looks rosy

Kind Ethiopians – Aggressive Europeans

Ethiopians are so sweet and very friendly. I never heard something unkind from an Ethiopian. Addis city proposes such a loving and an adventurous heart I often felt like a princess from Berlin. In Berlin we are hard, both on ourselves and on the stranger: we defend hard against our way of life. Living in an anxious stagnation, we invented our fake factors of development and growth. W seem to have lost our sense of reality. When something moves it’s most likely at a wrong place and  time. We deny the fact that the way of life we now chose to lead is wrong – as it abuts the natural border, we quite often tend to pretend as if everything is fashionable, modern, and it’s OK – in denial, business as usual! 

No Pain – No Gain

In Ethiopia, I realize for the first time in my life that I have to do something, and recognize that no one in the world comes with a mission to save the world. My stay in Ethiopia gave me an opportunity to discover the feeling that is lost at home to me. I observed that I literally have nothing to do in Berlin, I must not participate in anything – and I do not have to justify the fact that I do not participate. What I learn in Africa, is to get moving again. I am learning to become a citizen again. It sounds very old-fashioned, but I have to get used to it.

Mysterious Ethiopia

There are many things that baffle understanding and cannot be explained about Ethiopia. Like the mystery abut The Ark of The Covenant. I can make a reassuring remark that not even the NSA could be able break into the Ark. When I met  Lucy, the three-million year old woman, I said to myself, I come from Africa and I should probably be going back there – at least, internally.

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New York Times’ Lists Addis Abeba as Travel-Hot Spot in 2014

AddisArtWhat do Addis Adeba, Ethiopia, Frankfurt, Germany and  Christchurch, New Zealand all have in common? They’re among the 52 Places to Go in 2014, according to The New York Times.

The global round-up showcased Addis Abeba as a city with an ambitious art scene that heads toward the international stage.

Here is what the NYT wrote:

Building on a strong historical legacy (Addis boasts one of East Africa’s oldest art schools) are a host of events scheduled for 2014: a photography festival, two film festivals and a jazz and world music festival. Thanks to the city’s diverse art institutions and galleries, including the artist-in-residence village Zoma Contemporary Art Center and the Asni Gallery (really more an art collective than a gallery), there is an art opening at least once a week. Even the local Sheraton puts on “Art of Ethiopia,” an annual show of new talent. But it’s the National Museum that, in May and June, will host this year’s blockbuster exhibit, “Ras Tafari: The Majesty and the Movement,” devoted to Emperor Haile Selassie I and Rastafarianism.

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Ethiopia Has Made a List of The Top 10 Countries to Visit in 2014

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 29, 2013

GofaGebriel19

More on The Beautiful Churches of Addis Abeba: Gofa Gabriel

Each year, we look forward to Lonely Planet’s take on the next places to visit. Their book, out Tuesday, highlights the best of the best of travel–countries and cities to visit, the best budget spots, the best family spots, everything.

Consider this your primer for 2014.

Happy travels!

Source

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Ethiopia: Unexpected Wonders in the Rock Churches of Lalibela and Addis Ababa

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 1, 2013

The last of my assumptions about Ethiopia were pleasantly swept away

Priest-in-Ashetan-Maryam-chapel-Lalibela-1790149A gold-robed deacon stood in front of a makeshift altar at the shadowy heart of the nave, clutching a staff as he led the mournful chanting.

Surrounding him was a cluster of white-shawled priests, some holding bibles and candles, others ornate crosses and icons. Around them were throngs of pilgrims, also robed in white, lost in a reverie of chanting and praying.

All I could do was sit transfixed in a darkened corner, my back against the stone wall of the ancient church carved out of the mountainside.

Not only was I in one of the most astonishing cultural sites in the world, but also in one of the most sacred places in Christendom during Easter.

It was as if I was watching proceedings from centuries past.

The Orthodox Christian pilgrims had flocked here to Lalibela from all corners of Ethiopia to take part in ceremonies like these.

The second-oldest Christian country in the world is still deeply pious and Easter is a serious business.

Followers eat a vegan diet for the 55 days leading up to the Orthodox Easter Sunday (May 5 this year), then everyone spends Easter eve at the church praying until 3am when it is announced that Christ has risen.

Continue reading…

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The Best Guided Tours For 2013

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on January 10, 2013

The Telegraph – probably one of the few remaining descent, politically incorrect British newspapers/websites presents an attractive calendar of the best escorted world tours running in 2013.

Please come with me:

  1. January we are in New Zealand
  2. February in Iceland
  3. March in Tanzania and Kenya
  4. April in Japan
  5. May in England
  6. June in Russia
  7. July in Britain and Ireland
  8. August in the US of A
  9. September we take the dreamliner to Addis Abeba

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Dalol Depression – North East Ethiopia

One of the hot new destinations for 2013, Ethiopia may surprise you. Famous for its rock-hewn churches and ancient monasteries, it also boasts lush, dramatic scenery – in the Simien Mountains National Park, for example, where ibex, baboons and the rare Ethiopian wolf inhabit a landscape of jagged volcanic peaks and deep valleys.

The city of Axum is not only the legendary home of the Queen of Sheba but also the reputed final resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, believed to hold the tablets of stone bearing the Ten Commandments, which Moses brought down from Mount Sinai. Take a boat across Lake Tana to island monasteries filled with ancient manuscripts and beautiful frescoes. The trip ends in Lalibela, with its mysterious 700-year-old rock-cut churches. In late September the Meskel festival will be in full swing here, with dancing, feasting and a big bonfire all celebrating the discovery in the fourth century of the true cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.

  1. October we’ll be in Australia
  2. November in Oman
  3. December in Burma

Source: The Telegraph

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Posted in Ethiopia, Infos | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Addis Abeba: Best in Travel 2013 – Top 10 cities

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 25, 2012

A ccording to the popular travel website, LonelyPlanet.com  the thriving metropolis of Addis Abeba — a groovy city that takes pride in its multifaceted assets —  is one of the top 10 city destination that is worse visiting in 2013.

Continue here

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Unique Ethiopia

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on October 21, 2010

 

 

For many people around the world, mentioning Ethiopia brings to mind its devastating 1984 famine. The specter of the disaster haunts the country’s international image and still hurts the growth of its fledgling tourism industry.

But here’s the reality that awaits those few adventurous visitors who do make the trip: A high plateau of lush, green hills that’s more like Scotland than the desert; decadent nightlife in Addis Ababa; and historic sites like the island monasteries of Lake Tana and Lalibela, a remarkable complex of 12th-century churches.

In addition, Ethiopia’s wildlife parks are teeming with game, but unlike Kenya, where packs of tourists compete for a glimpse of lions, here you might have the animals all to yourself.

Traveling in Ethiopia, however, can be uniquely disorienting. Ethiopians insist on doing things their own way. They have their own calendar – with 13 months; their own year – it’s currently 2003; and their own time – 6 a.m. is their midnight. The national language, Amharic, has Semitic roots, like Arabic and Hebrew, and a unique alphabet. (Rest assured, English is widely spoken.) Roughly two-thirds of the people are Ethiopian Orthodox – a creed with its own rites, different from those of the Russian or Serbian Orthodox churches – while a third is Muslim.

A trip to Ethiopia, then, is less like a sojourn in Africa than a visit to some far-flung island, where everything is strange and compelling.

You’ll need a couple of weeks to even begin to do justice to this sprawling country – bordered on the north by Sudan, on the south by Kenya and Somalia and on the east by Djibouti and Eritrea, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war.

Roads are generally poor, and it can take long hours or even days to travel several hundred miles overland – particularly in the April-September rainy season. Luckily, Ethiopian Airlines – widely considered Africa’s premier carrier – operates flights from the capital, Addis, to the main must-see sites, including Lalibela.

Addis is a sprawling city of congested thoroughfares and hidden residential neighborhoods with narrow streets that dissolve into thick mud every time it rains, and it can seem a dismal place to start an Ethiopian sojourn. But resist the temptation to flee and the city will open to you, revealing scores of cute cafes, hot nightspots, chill lounges and gourmet restaurants.

Top suggestions include Eyoha or Fasika national restaurants, where remarkably athletic dancers showcase the country’s unique shoulder-shaking traditional dance styles as diners tuck into heaping plates full of local delicacies.

Ethiopian cuisine, which is heavy on sauces and served on spongy crepe-like bread called injera, leaves no one indifferent. You either love it or you hate it. Love it, and you can eat like a king, splurging on multi-dish meals of wot, a sauce of goat or lamb, and kifto, marinated raw meat. Made from an Ethiopian grain called tef, injera is eaten at every meal and also serves as cutlery, used to scoop up the juicy sauces.

Hate it, and you stand a good chance of shedding some serious weight. Besides a dozen top-notch places in Addis, restaurants serving foreign cuisine are few and far between. Order the spaghetti marinara in some provincial town, like I did, and you might find yourself using scraps of injera to scoop up earthworm-sized bits of cold pasta drenched in what appeared to be ketchup.

But there is some decent Italian food to be had if you know where to go. Indeed, the best foreign cuisine in Ethiopia is a result of Italy’s brief occupation of the country in the 1930s. Try Castelli, an Addis institution that has been serving up an antipasti buffet and fresh pasta for generations. Another option is the Ristorante da Bruno, which has won well-deserved acclaimed for its wood-fired pizzas.

Another legacy of the Italian presence are the coffee houses that serve up strong espressos and macchiatos. At Tomoca, you can get vacuum-packed bags of Ethiopian grown beans roasted to perfection in oversized colonial-era machines.

Vegetarians be warned: Ethiopian Orthodox adherents normally go vegetarian twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, and fast for the 56 days preceding Ethiopian Orthodox Easter. But for the month after Easter, so-called “fasting foods,” or meat- and dairy-free dishes, are scarce.

For all-night dancing, try Club Platinum or the Gaslight, at the Sheraton hotel, where the mix of Ethiopian and R&B beats is infectious. Just be aware that at both establishments, as in other clubs across Ethiopia, most of the women on the dance floor are prostitutes.

Addis has the best shopping in the country, with a wide range of regional specialty products and styles. Try the area around Piassa for the heavy silver disc earrings from the northern Tigray region and Persian Gulf-inspired necklaces in oversized beads of silver and resin – all sold by the gram.

After a few action-packed days in Addis, you’ll be ready to hit the road.

Most visitors head north to visit Ethiopia’s tourist triumvirate – Bahir Dar, Aksum and Lalibela, the crown jewel. Ethiopian Airlines sells multi-leg tickets from Addis with stops at each site.

A winding complex of 11 churches cut out of the rust-red granite tucked into a wind-swept moonscape, Lalibela is frankly astounding. Legend claims it’s the work of angels but in reality the complex was commissioned by the powerful 12th-century King Lalibela and picked out of the rock with hammers and chisels over decades.

Continue reading…

 

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Ethiopia: A Feast for the Eyes

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on August 15, 2009

Geralta

Go there soon; it’s time to turn Ethiopia’s image from one of famine to feast.”

Ethiopia will surprise even the most jaded traveler. As the only African country never colonized (the Italians only ‘occupied’ what was then Abyssinia during the Second World War), Ethiopians proudly call themselves ‘pure’ Africans. With its own calendar (seven years and eight months behind our own), year length (13 months), clock (12-hour cycles starting at 6am), and an ancient language — Amarhic — not spoken anywhere else, Ethiopia and its people are strikingly idiosyncratic.


Continue reading…

Five great things to do in Ethiopia

  1. Be mystified by the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Once rumored to be hidden in Ireland’s Hill of Tara, the ancient Lost Ark of the Covenant is now said to be held in Axum’s (Aksum) Cathedral of St Mary of Zion in northern Ethiopia. Closely guarded by sacred priests, the Ark is Ethiopia’s Holy Grail.

  2. Go wildlife-spotting in the north. Indigenous Gelada baboons, Ethiopian wolves, Walia ibex and spotted hyena live in the Simien Mountains. There are hippopotamus hang-outs near Lake Tana, plus colorful birdlime.

  3. Wander through the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela. An easy candidate for a new wonder of the world, this sacred system of enormous churches carved directly into the rock is an outstanding example of man conquering nature to worship.

  4. Stand cheek-to-cheek with the first human. If you had to pinpoint the place where our prehistoric ancestors finally walked upright on two feet, it would fall somewhere in modern-day Ethiopia. See the proof in Addis’s National Museum, where the 3.3 millon-year-old skeleton of ‘Lucy’ is on display. (The skeleton was named Lucy in tribute to the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which was playing in the discoverers’ camp.)

  5. Sizzle in the hottest place on Earth. With an average temperature of 35°C, the Danakil Depression, close to the border with Eritrea, is the lowest point on the African continent at 116m below sea level. Access is impossible without private transport.

Please click here to see some fantastic photos of Ethiopia

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