It has been organised by McCabe Pilgrimages who do this kind of thing rather well.
Today we have driven out from Lalibela to take time out from visiting the incredible rock hewn churches there, to visit instead the free standing church of the monastery of Yemrehane Christos.
|shopping for Lalibela crosses|
|always beautiful scenery|
But the charming little village settlement just below is a friendly place to linger, with plenty of shopping opportunities for souvenirs and places where the traditional coffee ceremony can be enjoyed. And the scenery as ever is stunning.
|cheerful shop keeper - beautiful woven scarves|
Once we are inside the rather ugly modern outer wall at the cave entrance, we are astonished by the Axumite style church building, of alternate layers of wood and granite, with white gypsum, giving the appearance as described by Bradt of "a gigantic layered chocolate cream cake." This is more than a century older than the Lalibela rock hewn churches.
I receive a blessing from the priest in the church - a rather special experience...
See also the World Monuments Fund write up for this site.
|note cave setting of monastery buildings|
|priest at Yemrehane|
There are so many medieval monasteries and churches that can be visited around this area East of Lalibela including a trio of rock hewn churches around Bilbilla, well worth a visit and at least for the time being, said to be much quieter than the much better known Lalibela churches. The road improvement schemes we saw all around us on our travels are likely to change all this I guess.