John Drendel’s updates

Dear Philip,

We wrote earlier i the Spring, and I was able to get your more recent guide for my three weeks in Ethiopia. Your guide was invaluable and the trip went very well. 

There are some corrections that I would like to suggest. The manager of 7 olives in Lalibela; the email address is incorrect, and more importantly, he wanted to you know that while his hotel belongs to the Church, the church does not manage it, his family does. I ended up there after having stayed at the Alef before a trek with TESFA, beause the garden was so nice, and because the food was excellent, some of the the best I found during my travel.

Also in Lalibela, Hobtamu and Susan want to open their restaurant, Glenababa in September, but I have to admit that there was not much built when I visited in June.

The Ethiopian commercial bank offices in Lalibela and Bahar Dar were willing to cash AMEX traverlers checks without the receipt, fortunately, because the banks in Addis — at least the ones at the Hilton — would not, and I did not have it.

Without any doubt, the Gheralta Lodge was the finest place I stayed (I only visited Wollo and TIgray ). I had an excellent time with the guides to local churches and I will return there for a much longer trip.

Addis was pretty tough going for me — This was my first visit to Africa, actually to any non-industrialized nation — although by the end of 4 days I got over most of my nervousness and was able to travel around on the minibuses.

I made the acquaintance of a Canadian, Kathy Marshall, a former Oxfam aid worker who has started up a weaving coop and an export company to produce and sell overseas high-end textiles (silk and cotton weavings). As an historian, I have a particular interest in textiles, and I found the stuff that her workers are producing to be remarkable, using locally produced chenille dyes and local fibers. I suggest that you visit her on your next trip, Her web site is

Many thanks for an excellent book, much more than a guide really.

Sincerely John Drendel


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