We drove the short distance from the “Maribela Hotel”:http://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/accommodation/162349-maribela-hotel in Lalibela to Asheton Maryam.
Our itinerary had suggested trekking up the mountain by mule but Eskedar, our guide, suggested rather diplomatically that we’d find it difficult – it would be an hour and half on a narrow track which went up and down necessitating us to get off now and then and walk. With memories of camels in Egypt, we agreed to drive up and then have a 10 to 15 minute flat walk at the top.
The place is nearly at the top of Mount Abuna Yosef at nearly 4000m and so it was quite a climb in the car, on a narrow twisting steep track which gave us brilliant views over the valley below.
We got out at 9.40am and set off walking – first of all scrambling up steep rocks for 15 minutes until it did level out along a narrow mountain path. Then we had to climb up again for another 10 minutes all the time puffing and protesting to Eskedar he’d slightly misrepresented the walking level.
On arrival we went into the monastery where there was only the two of us and the priest who showed us a number of treasures held there: two metal crosses, a parchment book with still colourful intricate drawings and the black and red Ge’ez script (now only used in religious ceremonies) and also some decorated wooden panels.
It was then back down where we met two elderly gentlemen who had walked from Gondar with the journey taking them 6 days.