Saturday 17 November 2018

A trip to Ethiopia

I haven't posted on my blog for several weeks and I'm very sorry about that. I had lots to do to get ready for our trip to Ethiopia. First I had a lot of marking and lesson prep for work. I also needed to make sure everything was organised for Brownies as Lucy would be running the groups with help from Richard, our son. I wanted to be able to enjoy my holiday without worrying I'd forgotten to do something/

Anyway On Sunday 4th November John and I set off from our home in South London to head for Heathrow airport. We travelled by underground as it isn't a long journey and we get free travel, a perk of being over 60. Unfortunately the journey wasn't as quick as we expected due to engineering works on the lines and a broken down train. We did arrive on time even with those problems and we got our flight. 

The flight was overnight and during that time I watched 3 movies and played lots of games. I just couldn't sleep but John slumbered happily next to me.  As we came into land at Addis Ababa airport I managed to get a good view of the magnificent sunrise, the colour was amazing.

Our trip to Ethiopia had been organised by the priest from the church we attend. There were 19 members of the church on the trip and it was about discovering the country but also following the development of Christianity in Ethiopia. It took some time to clear the airport as we had to get a visa in order to enter the country. Eventually our whole group had our visas and we could pass into the luggage hall, collect our bags and meet our guide for the trip. We travelled to our hotel so we could have a short rest before our first visit. I certainly needed a short lie down and a cup of coffee.

Our first visit was to The Holy Trinity Cathedral, the highest ranking Ethiopian orthodox church and the second most important  place of worship in the country.  The church was built to celebrate the country's liberation from Italian occupation.

The church compound is the burial ground of those people who fought against the Italian occupation.  We found the grave of Sylvia Pankhurst in the compound and that of her son.  She was an English campaigner for the suffragette movement, a prominent left communist. Later in her life she spent much of her time agitating on behalf of Ethiopia. At the invitation of Haille Selassie she moved to Addis in 1956 with her son Richard. She died in Addis Ababa in 1960 and was buried in the compound in front of the cathedral. She is the only foreigner to be buried there.

 Inside the church there were some very colourful stained glass windows, depicting bible stories.

After visiting the church we had a look round the compound and then we visited the National museum to see Lucy. Lucy is the name given to the the bones of a 3.2 million year old skeleton found near the village of Hadar. She was called Lucy because the Beatles song, 'Lucy in the sky with diamonds' was playing very loudly and on repeat all evening of the first day of work at the recovery site.

Whilst I was in the museum the journey and lack of sleep caught up with me and I had to sit down for a while. Once back on my feet I checked out some of the textiles on display. They were outfits worn by officials and were beautifully embroidered.

The lighting was very dim as the fabrics were very fragile. As they were in glass cases I got the reflection on the glass. 

This one had feathers and fur .

In one of the upstairs rooms there were several paintings .

Outside in the garden we found a couple of huge tortoises. Unfortunately there was nothing to give an idea of size.

There were a lot of colourful flowers in the garden and lots of birds. Several people on the trip were very interested in bird watching so we regularly had to stop to identify the birds and plants.

There was a huge amount of building going on in the city and we were fascinated by the scaffolding. They used eucalyptus wood to make the scaffold poles and they were nailed together. It looked a little dangerous.

By this time the light was beginning to fade so we headed back to the hotel for dinner and a good sleep.

I took some embroidery with me but unfortunately the lighting in the hotel rooms was rather dim so by evening I couldn't see clearly enough to do any stitching. Instead I read a chapter of the book I had with me before bed.

I'll tell you some more about the trip tomorrow. For now I'm off to bed as I'm so tired from the trip. Whenever I sit down for a few minutes I find I've fallen asleep.



  1. Have been missing your posts. Glad everything is well and that you were on a wonderful trip. Looking forward to hearing more about it.

  2. How exciting, and I'm sure like most of your readers, didn't know about Emily Pankhurst spending her later years over there. I had heard of Lucy though, she was a very important link in the evolution chain. Such a thrill to see her and no doubt read all about her place in the scheme of things