After the long, day trip to the Blue Nile Falls, we decided to leave Rusty at the campsite and take a boat trip on the Lake Tana and visit some of the Monasteries which were built on the lake islands. Because we have heard that there is plenty of tourists hustlers offering the cheapest and the best boat services, we finally arranged our trip at the Ghion Hotel. We paid 200 birrs each and that included the boat, stops at 4 islands and visiting one of the monasteries inside.
Lake Tana – the largest lake in Ethiopia and also the source of the Blue Nile, which flows over 5200 km north to the Mediterranean Sea. During the rainy season the waters are not really blue, but the lake still looks beautiful and its shores are even greener and lusher than in dry season.
Many monasteries on Lake Tana islands are dated from from 16th/17th centuries and remains of ancient Ethiopian emperors and treasures of the Ethiopian Churches are still kept there. Woman can only visit certain monasteries and the priests really obey that rule (On one of the islands Terri and me were politely asked to stay at the shore, we were not allowed to go further). We stopped at the four different islands, but we explored only one church – Ura Kidane Mehret (the Ethiopian Orthodox Church) located on the Zege Peninsula.We were told that this is the most popular and very beautifully painted monastery, and this is true – it is a compendium of Ethiopian religious iconography.
On the rest of the islands we stopped on, we were only walking and we were only able to see churches outside (Not that interesting, but islands themselves were amazing – proper jungle which we really enjoyed even it was raining)