Before I tell you how just a day trip in Ethiopia, Africa, changed my perspective on this vast continent. I would like to tell you how this trip happened.
In October 2017, I was going to São Paulo, Brazil via Addis Ababa. It was the first long flight that I took alone. The reason why I took Ethiopian airlines over Emirates, Qatar Airways and other airlines, was only because it was shorter and cheaper. My layover was only for a few hours, so I had no plans to stay in Ethiopia.
But God had some other plans for me in the store. I boarded my flight from New Delhi to Addis Ababa. But just before take-off, there was an announcement stating that due to technical failure, the flight would be delayed for a few hours. This made me nervous because my other flight from Addis Ababa to Sao Paulo was on time. Ethiopian Airlines staff told me that now I could only take the following flight on the next day. And would get to stay in Ethiopia for a day with my costs being borne by Ethiopian Airlines.
I want to confess, like a lot of people around the world, I had my own stereotypes/myths about Africa. Afterall, this is what media/news shows us often. Some of the most common ones are:-
- Africa is always hot all year round.
- All African countries are dangerous to travel because of gang-wars, poverty etc.
- Africa is a developing continent, hence all countries – including Ethiopia – must be less developed.
Whenever I landed in Addis Ababa Airport, my first myth/stereotype got shattered. It was cold, in fact, it was much colder than New Delhi, India. I asked some locals about it, who told me Addis Ababa stays cooler all around the year. Because of higher altitude and hills around it. This made me happy and excited for my Addis Ababa 1 day tour.
On my way to the hotel, I could already see my other 2 stereotypes being shattered as well. Addis Ababa is a beautiful city with people like us, working during the day and chilling at night. Addis Ababa’s vibes made me realize that I was actually blessed that my flight was cancelled. And I got a day to experience my first ever African country, Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is the only country which was never colonized by European powers. Unlike the rest of the African countries (only later by Italians, for a very short time). Hence, historical places have less influence from European culture and monuments.
I was told by the chef from the cafeteria. “Ethiopia is the land where the coffee originally came from“, to the world. I must say their coffee is actually very different. And amazing compared to other types of coffee I have had before.
Addis Ababa is the political capital of Africa. Therefore I saw many diplomatic buildings while I was going through the city. The city also has a lot of Orthodox churches, which are so beautiful and unique. I visited one of them, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in the world.
I also visited the “Lion of the Judah” which holds a remarkable significance in the history of Ethiopia and its’ kings. It is always fascinating to know about the history of ancient monuments. It glorifies the present and tells a lot about the culture and lives of the people in the country.
Sadly, I didn’t have more time to explore, but I completed enjoyed the places I visited. I tried the Ethiopian cuisine as well – a bread called Injeera. Which is very similar to the Indian bread called roti. But made with a type of flour that is native to the country. Ethiopian people also eat it along with some type of meat or vegetables, like us in India.
Someone has rightly said, “Sometimes, unexpected travel leads to self-discovery”. I can totally relate to this. I never thought that during my tour to Brazil, life would give me a detour. And I would be able to experience one of the best days of my life.
Thank you for reading. I hope everyone gets to experience Ethiopia, especially Addis Ababa. Let us know if you also had an experience like this.
A day trip in Ethiopia is something I still cherish.
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Extracts of AlexMarch 21, 2019 at 5:12 pm
I must go here! I too was also nervous about this country but heard there’s so much history as well as the coffee being great. Glad you found it safe, it’s re-assured my thoughts.
happeetravelers01March 21, 2019 at 6:12 pm
It is really beautiful. We are glad to help you in anyway. 😀