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Sunday, Revisited Lalibela Churches and Hiked to Na’akuto La’ab

Lalibela, Ethiopia
Sunday, October 6, 2019
I had breakfast and coffee at the hotel at about 06:30 and then left at 08:00 to visit the churches again since it was Sunday. There was a big service with lots of people at the Bet Medhane Alem but Saint Mary's Church was pretty empty. The kids were following me around so I recruited them as guides just to get me from church to church through all of the tunnels, trenches and secret passageways.

I also went to St. George's and Bet Gabriel-Rufael because they were the most interesting and looked good with white-robed people all around. After that, the kids got me out of the maze and back to a main street and I paid them off.

Next, I walked to the center of town to meet Tesfa who was going to guide me to the Na’akuto La’ab Monastery which is about 7 km out of town on the road to the airport. The walk wasn't very interesting but the monastery was okay. This time I paid the 350 birr entry and we went inside. The priest showed around and then showed us the church treasures.

The monastery is in a crevasse in the side of a hill and there is water flowing down from above and making a small waterfall over the building. There's enough water dripping to make the carpets inside wet so my socked feed got wet. There was no roof on the monastery, only the crevasse was covering it a little.

After the monastery, we took a tuk tuk back to Lalibela and then said our good-byes and I paid him for the hike. Tesfa gave me a wooden cross necklace yesterday and today he gave me a white church shawl which I wore over my head during our monastery trek. He said that he paid two months rent with the money that I gave him for guiding me all day yesterday. I gave him 500 birr which is about 18 USD.

For a late lunch, I went back to the Maribela Hotel restaurant and had another huge and delicious fasting meal of injera and assorted piles of vegetables. After those lunches, I can't eat again in the evening.

Later on when I was paying my hotel bill in euros, the manager asked if he could have all of my USD. He needed it to pay for some building supplies and they didn't accept the local currency. I only had 60 USD left so I exchanged them with him for birr.

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