No hassle in Axum! You can see stelae field from the road if you want to save money, but it’s worth paying to enter the small museum and learn about Axumite civilisation. Your ticket is also valid for Kaleb Palace up the road.
We didn’t want to pay Birr 120 for Tsion Maryam complex and women are not allowed to enter the church. We saw the chapel where the Arc of the Covenant is supposed to be kept and Tsion Maryam by entering the complex at the gate opposite of Stelae Field box office.
Then we went up to see Kaleb Palace and had a nice walk to Debre Liqanos monastery, the monastery nearest to Kaleb Palace. We originally came there to enjoy views of Axum from the above, but we were ushered by this friendly priest inside the complex and we were forced to have a look at his religious books which was fun. He spoke no word of English, but he read in Gaez and would put up this angelic expression and smiled at us every time he’d mentioned “Maryaaaam”. We gave him some money at the end of the performance, Birr 10 each, but I don’t think he was happy with the amount as the church didn’t get opened for us, not that we wanted to see it anyway. So, for all bizarre reasons, Debre Liqanos monastery is highly recommended. Continue your trip in the countryside to Panteleon monastery, we didn’t go in, but instead took the shortcut downhill back to Axum – you’ll end up on the road close to the bus station. Halleluiah halleluiah – Maryaaaam!
We stated at Ethiops hotel, watch your steps when using their stairs – several steps are of a different height, not the first or the last one, but these irregular steps are right in the middle of the structure!!! Staff at the hotel were nice. We had our dinner at Africa hotel.
Axum – Adigrat – Mekele
The road between Axum and Adigrat looks like it’s three weeks old, or maybe I was on bad roads for far too long before that? Views over Hista River Gorge are spectacular – sit on the left side of the bus.
No hassle in Mekele either! Very little to see there though: the market is OK and the Tigrian People Liberation Front Monument offers some views of the city and beyond… Beware of the pickpockets/camera snatches at night – hoards of kids in action.
Goran Jovetic, London, UK