Sunday, October 30, 2005

Obelisk, Axum

Ethiopia - Obelisk, Axum
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.
Today, we spent the day with Michael and Hamish (from New Zealand) who we had met at breakfast, investigating much oif what Axum has to offer. Without going into too much detail, we had the Axum museum, showing carved stones, pottery, urns, fibulae, decorative and votive heads, ancient writing tablets and so on, before going to the Stelae Field, where the obelisk stolen by Mussolini was still in three pieces on the ground, witing to be re-erected, but where there were some fantastic obelisks and stelea still standing. We visted tombs, not dissimilar to Etruscan tombs, a hut enclosing a large tablet enscribed in Greek, Ge’ez (ancient Ethiopian) and Sabean (Yemeni), some more tombs and a monastery with finely illustrated books and church walls, crowns and crosses, and all set in lovely countryside. Rocky with cactus, flowering aloe vera, rock walls, small farms, numerous wells, local Tigrayan people with their animals and fine views across the plains to the rocky outcrops towards Adwa, site of the famous battle in 1873 when the Ethiopians decisively beat the Italians, and on towards Eritrea. Sad to say that here we have heard more stories of troop build ups in this area which has already seen far too many battles in the past.

All day we were accompanied by a young man named Gatocho, who is thirteen, very bright and rools his ‘R’s in an incredible way, making his sound an extreme form of Scottish.. he would say ‘forrrr tourrrrrristses’. Oh yes, they speak like Gollum, doubling the plurals.

Anyway, back at the Africa Pension and who should we bump into but Roberto, the Guatamalen oarsman from the Omo trip. And yesterday, we briefly ran into Nick,. Fellow paying guest, in Debark

Tomorrow, we fly to Lalibela.

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