Thursday, March 7, 2013

Lake Tana Cruise

I just went on a cruise on Lake Tana. This is a great bird watching area so I got out my binoculars and tried to count as many types of different birds as I could.  I saw the African Openbill and a Wagtail which were new to me. The Blue headed Coucal was really pretty, both red and blue. The Giant Kingfisher was really cool, but kind of tiny for bird called Giant. The little Firefinch were really adorable. I recognized other birds from the US like the Pink Pelican and Osprey.

On our cruise we stopped at one of the many Christian monasteries and nunneries on the islands in Lake Tana.  They are part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.  Some of the monasteries are only to men so I was lucky that the one we stopped had no such silly rule. It was called Ura Kidane Mihret. On the island grew coffee and we walked up a path through dense coffee trees. Did you know that coffee can only grow in volcanic soil?

The outside of the church was pretty plain and simple, a large round building with only a large cross.When I went inside, I was shocked. Beautiful colorful paintings covered the walls. They told bible stories, some of which I had heard of like the crucifixion and St. George and the Dragon. I didn't recognize others because apparently they are from stories lost in the western version of the bible like the Miracle of Mary.

After rough and tumble travels, I was happy we stayed at a fancy resort, which I didn't expect to find in Ethiopia. It was a lodge on the shore of Lake Tana with pretty views of the water, and individual stone cottages. BEst of all, you get a massage, manicure and pedicure. After hiking and touring through the country, this gal enjoyed pampering, too!

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