Waking up Saturday was quite painful. I dreamt of balls hitting the crossbar and Asamoah Gyan crying his heart out. He certainly gained sympathy points for that one. We are all still in shock, to say the least.
My father has decided to take me to Entoto Mountain to make up for my being shacked up all week (well, at least that’s what he thinks).
He doesn’t have a car (and I don’t think he’s going to get one either) so the taxi driver that he relies on comes to pick us up.
I’m not sure the driver understands where we want to go. For sure we end up on a little tour of Addis Ababa where I saw wonders such as satellite antennas on shacks. I’m just saying you know.
The driver turns around and decides to take the back route to Entoto. My father is skeptical. One, he’s not sure we are going where he wants us to go. Two, our taxi is no looker and these back roads are un-tarred, rocky, and on an incline.
But we make it.
Mount Entoto is the highest peak overlooking Addis Ababa. It is a sacred place and there are many monastries here. Back in 1882 Menelik II left the royal grounds of Ankober and built his palace here. It is from here that he (his wife Empress Taitu actually) saw Addis Ababa (Beautiful Flower) which subsequently became the capital of Ethiopia.
The mountain is covered with eucalyptus trees, the first of which was brought from Australia by Menelik II. I’m told there’s a beautiful view of Addis from up here but on the day that I visited the clouds were not cooperating.
Menelik II is probably one of the greatest Ethiopians, even Africans, ever. He joined the many kingdoms into Abyssinia (Ethiopia), modernized the nation (for the late 1800s), and defeated the Italians.
He and his wife Taitu built a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary here, the Maryam Church.
Now, visitors to the area can explore Entoto Maryam Church, Menelik “palace”, as well as the Emperor Menelik and Empress Taitu Memorial Museum.
You are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum. Outside, there’s nothing much to write home about. It could do with some “modernization” really. Inside, furniture, photographs, and personal belongings of the Emperor and the Empress can be seen. There is the rifle he used at the Battle of Adwa, a mirror given by Queen Victoria to Empress Taitu as well as other gifts from France, Russia, and India. There are Bibles here that are ancient. Really remarkable.
The emperor was actually crowned in his church (Maryam church) in 1889 and subsequently made it the head church. You can tell you are on sacred ground. Ethiopians were around and praying, and people would come by and kiss the gates or make the sign of the cross or bow in front of the church. There were also beggars galore.
Next door is the palace. Actually quite a humble abode of wood and mud with very high ceilings.
Afterwards, we drove down to Addis using the proper road. Bought a few souvenirs from the roadside shops and returned home to prepare for my flight back to the United States.