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24

We haven't mentioned this yet, but we really lucked out with our guide. Destaw guides

us with ceaseless enthusiasm, and has an abundance of information for us everywhere

we go. He also teaches us how Ethiopians greet each other: An embrace where both

parties first bring both left shoulders to one another and then both right shoulders.

Destaw is deeply religious and is having the time of his life in Lalibela. All churches

are connected with each other through numerous corridors, tunnels and stairs. In the

interior of the churches, walls are adorned with ancient frescoes and painted canvases

with depictions of saints. Priests wearing white turbans are reading centuries-old biblical

manuscripts with supreme focus, worshippers are mumbling prayers and hermits have

taken up residence in one of the many niches indefinitely, to dedicate themselves to

the faith. Where other historical buildings often leave a pale and cold impression, the

atmosphere in the churches of Lalibela is completely different. The churches are still in

use, and you can really feel that. It is not only the buildings that have stood the test of

time here, but also the ancient rituals and traditions that still go back to the first times

of Christianity.

t r a v e l i n g