I checked of the Haile Resort Gondar at 07:30 and took their free airport shuttle to the airport about 45 minutes away. The shuttle was full and we got there in plenty of time for my 10:00 flight to Lalibela. We went through security twice, once to get into the airport and once about 20 feet away to get into the gate. We walked to the airplane and lined up at the door.
The 45 minute flight was nice and smooth. In Lalibela, they didn't even bother bringing the bags into the terminal. The cart pulled up outside and we took our bags off of it.
I had another free airport shuttle to the FirirandRay Lodge. After dropping off the baggage, I had a huge typical fasting lunch at the hotel next door. The fasting lunch is vegetarian and this one was huge. I couldn't finish it all. I topped it off with a couple of delicious bunas.
After lunch, I wanted to hike up to the Asheton Maryam Monastery which is high up in a mountain overlooking Lalibela. On the way to the trailhead, a highschool kid asked if I needed a guide so we quickly decided on 200 birr. I could have done it myself with maps.me but it is more fun without having to look at the phone every few minutes. A lady who lives in a village at the top of the mountain also joined us.
The trail was steep in places but no big deal after the peaks we summited in the Simien Mountains. There were incredible views all the up of the surrounding mountains and terraced valleys. It took us a couple of hours to get to the monastery and then about an hour to go back down to Lalibela.
Along the way, the kid told me that he was from a small village and had to come to Lalibela on his own to go to high school. He worked to pay his own expenses. I paid him 200 birr for the hike which was half of his monthly rent of 14 USD. We decided that he would be my unlicensed guide to the Lalibela Churches tomorrow since he knew his way around all of them.