From Addis Ababa we start riding on the beautiful road that leads to the Tarmaber pass ( 3230 mt. ASL). The scenery is magic as usual. The road takes us all the way to Woldiya where we start riding on another great off-road trail that will take us to Lalibela. Lalibela is a town in northern Ethiopia that is famous for its 11 monolithic rock-cut churches. Lalibela is one of Ethiopia’s holiest cities, second only to Aksum, and is a center of pilgrimage for much of the country. Unlike Aksum, the population of Lalibela is almost completely Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. The layout and names of the major buildings in Lalibela are widely accepted, especially by the local clergy, to be a symbolic representation of Jerusalem. This has led some experts to date the current form of its churches to the years following the capture of Jerusalem in 1187 by the Muslim soldier Saladin. Lalibela is located in the Semien Wollo Zone of the Amhara ethnic division (or kilil) at roughly 2,500 meters above sea level. During the reign of Saint Gebre Mesqel Lalibela (a member of the Zagwe Dynasty, who ruled Ethiopia in the late 12th century and early 13th century) the current town of Lalibela was known as Roha. The saintly king was given this name due to a swarm of bees said to have surrounded him at his birth, which his mother took as a sign of his future reign as Emperor of Ethiopia. The names of several places in the modern town and the general layout of the rock-cut churches themselves are said to mimic names and patterns observed by Lalibela during the time he spent in Jerusalem and the Holy Land as a youth. Lalibela is said to have seen Jerusalem and then attempted to build a new Jerusalem as his capital in response to the capture of old Jerusalem by Muslims in 1187. As such, many features have Biblical names – even the town’s river is known as the River Jordan. It remained the capital of Ethiopia from the late 12th century and into the 13th century. (Source Wilkipedia).
Being here, once again, we feel like having embark on a time machine that took us 1000 years back. Imagining the work that has been done here is almost impossible to comprehend.
After visiting this masterpiece and relaxing with a nice gold beer in our hands, Matteo and myself come to the conclusion that maybe shipping our motorcycles back to Italy from Ethiopia is not a bad idea after all. The conclusion came about mainly because the situation in Egypt has lately become a complex one. We still haven’t found a reliable shipping solution from Egypt. The last news we heard, were that it would have been extremely expensive and complicated entering Egypt. Furthermore if we could not ship the motorcycles from Cairo we would have found ourselves stuck due to the impossibility of entering Libya or even crossing the Sinai Peninsula toward Israel which lately has been highly not recommended due to political and civil unrest. Of course we can’t deny that missing Sudan and Egypt like originally planned, leaves us a bit disappointed in our harts but at the same time we are convinced that this is the right decision for us. There will always be time to visit beautiful Sudan and Egypt in the future. Of Course always on our beloved motorcycles. Saying that, we are extremely happy with our African Journey. What we lived and experienced across South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, and finally Ethiopia will never be forgotten.
After having taking this important decision, we start our way back to Addis Ababa in order to organize the shipment of our motorcycles. We take a more classical Road that goes near Tana Lake. Along the road we cross the Blue Nile south of Debre Marcos.
In the evening we go back to our original Hotel. The Taitu Hotel In Addis Ababa where we start planning for the shipment. The following morning we jump into a Taxi to meet with an agent that will help us with all shipment procedures. The day has been extremely long but also very efficient from all personnel involved in this last important part of our journey.