Desolate is one word that comes to mind. Uninviting is another. This is the landscape surrounding the famous rock hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia.
If I lived in this region hundreds of years ago I think would have agreed with the other locals that building our churches into the rock beneath our feet where they would be safe was a good idea. On the other hand, I think I might have argued that the better idea would have been to find someplace else to live. As we left Lalibela our friends’ Land Rover broke down. For a couple of hours we were stuck out with the car in the middle of this landscape and I simply cannot imagine making that land my home.
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IF YOU GO: You can, in theory, visit the sites of northern Ethiopia via public transportation. In general there will be buses every day and you’ll never be stranded but the sheer distances combined with the quality of the road make flying a very real alternative. On the ground you must budget no fewer than 10 days to see the 4 cities of the loop, and that only allots 1 day at each city.