ETHIOPIA: Romancing HOME through TRAVEL!


“Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between

man and the universe.”  Anatole France

Travelmemoirsaragenene

Home Sweet Home… I live for moments like these!

Posted in Adventure, Africa, Architecture, Ethiopia, Historical Travel, Landscape, Nature, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Travel and Tourism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

PIAZZA: Addis Ababa’s Mesmeric Old Town I


PiazzaAddisAbaba1Piazza is the heart of Addis Ababa and the old neighborhood which still captures the spirit of the past that invites for exploration. This picturesque Old town’s name is a legacy of the Italian invasion era (1936 – 41 G.C.), thus Piazza is still preserves a bit of an Italian flavor.

Piazza is an interestingly historical place of Addis Ababa where old buildings constructed in the early twentieth century with their touch of Ethiopia, Greek, Armenia, India and Italy. Still functional old Italian first patisserie, restaurants, Coffee Houses, Cinema Halls, Playhouse, the very first Ethiopian Hotel, silver and gold smiths, Historical Ethiopian, Greek and Armenian Orthodox churches, Old schools, impressive stairs, historical old bank, post office and many more.

PiazzaAddisAbaba2This part I episode is giving the world a virtual tour through this mesmerizing Addis Ababa’s very own old town locally known as Piazza /Arada. This particular journey starting from around Doro Manekia (Eden Street) all the way through Haile Selassie Street to Ras Mekonnen Bridge.

PiazzaAddisAbaba3For many locals including me, Eden Street at Piazza means … stopping over at one of the oldest local cafés in Addis Ababa which locally known as Ras Mekonnen Café as Piazza is home to many still operating old cafés and restaurants which most scores more than 50 years in business and still being a timeless and memorable place where local patronize.

The paintings behind the espresso machine counter, the sturdy old furniture, the glooming woodwork and even the old building this café housed in gives it a historical aura worth experiencing.

Many remember this fascinating old café for its unforgettable signature of serving up the adored sweet treat by the locals – Baklava – and most probably being the first one to give this palate to Addis Ababa and still do in spite of the test of time.

PiazzaAddisAbaba4For me this is more like pouring some sugar on sweet memories of childhood growing up in Piazza while enjoying the crunchiness of the honey drenched thin fried filo dough at the top and getting all rewarded by the roasted peanuts sprinkled inside…So Delicious!

PiazzaAddisAbaba5Passing De Gaulle Square and heading to Haile Selassie Street means interesting block of shops. Here you can find one of Addis Ababa’s oldest Cinema Empire which is one of the legacies of the early twentieth century, many jewelry shops, Boutiques, shoes shops, watch shops and many more.

PiazzaAddisAbaba6PiazzaAddisAbaba7PiazzaAddisAbaba8PiazzaAddisAbaba9Chasing back on history… legend has it; during the early twentieth century Greeks and Armenians were active community and were playing huge role in the economy. The Greeks were running many factories, cinemas, retail shops, import export enterprises and more.

PiazzaAddisAbaba10PiazzaAddisAbaba11PiazzaAddisAbaba12PiazzaAddisAbaba13PiazzaAddisAbaba14The Armenians in the other hand was well known in the city as cultured shoe factories, eyeglass and watch repair business, gold smith, shoe factories, cinemas and more along with the building in piazza where the shops located.

PiazzaAddisAbaba15PiazzaAddisAbaba16PiazzaAddisAbaba17PiazzaAddisAbaba18One of the fascinating legacies of the Greek community is The Greek Orthodox church which was built in 1935 G.C. Besides being one of Piazza’s historical sights of interests, services are still held in the church every Sunday till this day.

PiazzaAddisAbaba19Talking about leaving legacies, in spite of the fact that Coffee is a religion here in Ethiopia, it is without a doubt that Italians put a mark on Addis Ababa’s most adored Café culture of enjoying the delightful foamy Macchiato – espresso with a dash of milk – and of course Italian cuisines along with still operating old Italian restaurants in Piazza are the most cherished ones by the locals till this day.

PiazzaAddisAbaba20PiazzaAddisAbaba21Therefore, an excursion in piazza would not be complete without indulging in delicious Spaghetti or Lasagna and watching the captivating everyday life of piazza while having the revitalizing Macchiato afterwards somewhere at this mesmeric old town of Addis Ababa – Piazza.

PiazzaAddisAbaba22PiazzaAddisAbaba23The Haile Selassie Street gracefully takes its visitors all the way to another historical spot of Piazza – Ras Mekonnen Bridge and Terrace.

PiazzaAddisAbaba24Ras Mekonnen Wolde Michael (May 8, 1852 – March 21, 1906) was a general and the governor of Harar province in Ethiopia and The father of Ras Tefari Mekonnen (Pre-coronation name of Emperor Haile Selassie I).

PiazzaAddisAbaba25PiazzaAddisAbaba26The Ras Mekonnen Wolde Michael monument was established in May 1944 G.C. and it was built on the foundation laid near Ras Makonnen Bridge by his son Emperor Haile Selassie I as a tribute for his service to the country.

PiazzaAddisAbaba27PiazzaAddisAbaba28At the interestingly green terrace there is a local café and restaurant bar where locals hang out. It is a relaxing place which provides an opportunity to enjoy refreshing local beers that Ethiopia is also known for and Piazza has always being an enchanting place.

PiazzaAddisAbaba29Just right pass Ras Mekonnen Bridge there is also another Piazza’s very own old bar and restaurant where locals patronize which known as Turaco.

PiazzaAddisAbaba30Seba Dereja (Seventy Stairs) is another attraction of Piazza.

PiazzaAddisAbaba31Stopping for another Macchiatto…why not? this is Addis Ababa and Piazza for that matter!

PiazzaAddisAbaba32Another fascinating church that graces the historical old town Piazza is the St. George Armenian Apostolic Holy Orthodox Church which was built in 1935 G.C. in the replacement of a chapel that existed since 1923. Legend hast it, the first stone was set by the Archbishop Asanian who came from Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1928 G.C.

PiazzaAddisAbaba33While walking through this old town, you could not help noticing interesting old buildings with high ceiling and hard wood floor so here is another building which have been housing one of Piazza’s old school for very long time now which formerly and locally known as La Fontaine Kindergarten. I bet this one brings up sweet memories of childhood for many.

PiazzaAddisAbaba34Stepping on the foundation of the past – Present – here is a toast to the enchanting past … Long Live Piazza!

PiazzaAddisAbaba35To Be Continued…

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Architecture, Art, Coffee, culture, Ethiopia, Historical Travel, Religious, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

ITEGUE TAITU: The First Hotel Of Ethiopia


ItegueTaituHotel1As Addis Ababa is a heterogeneous city that provides an exciting opportunity to wander through the past and the present simultaneously for its zealous visitors, I thought it would be appropriate to pick one interesting spot from many Addis Ababa’s past treasures and gives it the homage that it deserves via this particular virtual tour that I would like to present to the world.

ItegueTaituHotel2Itegue Taitu Bitul (Empress Taitu) is the wife of Emperor Menelik II – the renowned king of Ethiopia who found Addis Ababa. The 107 year old Itegue Taitu Hotel which is named after Empress Taitu situated at the heart of Addis Ababa city which locally known as Piazza – old town which hosts few other still standing momentous and interesting old buildings.

ItegueTaituHotel3The Ethiopian imperial royal family was well known for entertaining guests in a most lavish and Ethiopian way with delicious Ethiopian traditional cuisines and mead at their still standing palace in Addis Ababa. Thus, the very first Ethiopian hotel to provide guests a place to rest and dine first appeared in the Ethiopian Empress imagination and beautifully materialized in 1907.

ItegueTaituHotel4This still functional old Hotel is worth a visit as it is still captures the aura of the past in spite of the fact it is tastefully renovated. Simply, the place is full of character which I think need to be lovingly cherished and perhaps ought to be turned to a museum.

ItegueTaituHotel5ItegueTaituHotel6The main building in particular would be an interesting one to visit in and out … even to dine and wine. Talking about captivating character, the restaurant is gracefully embellished with colorful paintings in which for most of them the main theme revolves around the historic founders of this place – Emperor Menelik II and Empress Taitu.

ItegueTaituHotel7The interesting staircases are not only worth seeing but worth climbing as it provides a mesmerizing experience of transporting oneself to an interesting Ethiopian era. The stairs also gracefully leads to a huge corridor for the upstairs rooms with interesting high ceiling.

ItegueTaituHotel8ItegueTaituHotel9The corridor is also embellished with interesting furniture and of course with museum pieces of paintings on the wall which makes it all worth paying a visit to one of Addis Ababa’s very own historic old buildings.

ItegueTaituHotel10ItegueTaituHotel11ItegueTaituHotel12If you are looking for past, pleasant atmosphere, prominent old building, art and history in the capital city of Africa – Addis Ababa, Itegue Taitu Hotel is the place to be.

ItegueTaituHotel13ItegueTaituHotel14ItegueTaituHotel15Atmospheric moment that pass the test of time …

ItegueTaituHotel16comes all the way from a reverie of an Ethiopian Empress – Itegue Taitu Bitul (1851 – 1918)!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Architecture, Art, Ethiopia, Historical Travel, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

IMPREINT: Good Morning ADDIS ABABA!


Good morning Addis Ababa - Impreint1As my first “return” post, I am so excited to share an inspiring art project which I fortunately take part recently. It is really an honor to collaborate with a London based artist who goes by the name IMPREINT via an enlightening art project titled ‘Portraits’. And to bring to you my exclusive short interview with the artist about a topic that is close to my heart as this uplifting art project conveying it to the world through a simply beautiful concept – Embracing our individuality and seeing beauty through imperfection.

As the artist stated, the idea of Portraits come as a natural consequence from the 1000 balloons that he painted which all different and started seeing them as people – all so beautiful in their imperfections.

IMPREINT 304 of 1000

Portraits by IMPREINTAnd here comes the interview with the artist.

1. What Beauty means to you?
‘Imperfection’.

2. What do you think it takes to see beauty through imperfection?
Open mind, contact with your emotions.

3. As an artist, what do you think it takes to let Art to inspire us and to realize that we are all ONE?
Inspiration comes from emotion and feedback. Speaking about ‘Portraits': I gave inspiration to send me a picture, same I’m inspired by the material that I receive. As well, when I look at the photos I see a giant and unique picture, so even keeping our individuality, I don’t see radical differences in our existence.

IMPREINT+I'm+a+temporary+exhibitionThe very fact IMPREINT collected portraits of people from around the world holding one common thing a balloon – which represents the concept – makes his art fascinatingly universal. Portraits inspire in bringing the world together as one and remind us that we are all connected despite our differences.

And this beautiful morning IMPREINT’s uplifting idea comes all the way to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia! And happily… I chosen to portray IMPREINT’s art at one of the Historical Ethiopian Orthodox Churches of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Baheta Mariam is a monastery church built in 1917 by Empress Zewditu in the remembrance of her father Emperor Menelik II – One of the legendary Kings of Ethiopia and founder of Addis Ababa whom many Ethiopians have special and inner connection with. Baheta Mariam is one of Addis Ababa’s treasures and the mausoleum is also the final resting place of Emperor Menelik II.

Here is my portrait of Good Morning Addis Ababa!

Good morning Addis Ababa - ImpreintPortraits is a global project and you can see the photos and follow IMPREINT on his facebook page. And you can enjoy other interesting written pieces about his work from Rio, Hong Kong or Sydney.

All beautifully imperfect!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Art, Ethiopia, Inspiration, Travel, Travel and Tourism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Back On The Road Again In Ethiopia


TravelEthiopia1As it is about time for me to be back on the road again in order to continue my adventure of being A TOURIST IN MY OWN COUNTRY… so before I leave, I would like to share my favorite inspirational travel quotes which I choose to take along with me as an inspiring travel companion.

TravelEthiopia2TravelEthiopia3

TravelEthiopia4TravelEthiopia5TravelEthiopia6Until I come back!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Adventure, Africa, Ethiopia, Quote, Quote of the day, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

100 Posts: All About ETHIOPIA!


100postsallaboutEthiopia1It is about time for me to honor my INSPIRATIONS while celebrating the fact that my blog – About Addis Ababa – made it to 100 posts. First and foremost I would like to thank the source of inspiration that works through all creations – the infinite intelligence I choose to call GOD.

My other inspiration when it comes to writing is Natalie Goldberg through one of her books – Writing Down The Bones – my quintessential manual for writing or any creative work for that matter. Thus here, I would like to express my deepest respect and appreciation to Natalie … wherever she may be and as she would say … “May we all meet in heaven café writing for eternity.”

I am no expert of anything and as Natalie eloquently state it in her book “Don’t identify too strongly with your work. Stay fluid behind those black – and – white words. They are not you. They were a great moment going through you. A moment you were awake enough to write down and capture.” so I am just being able to reveal the beautiful eloquent pieces of Ethiopia which I fortunately surrounded by … it is really an honor to raise the curtain for my homeland’s beautifully inspiring EVERYDAY life so that the rest of the world can see, to relish in its beauty and be inspired.

As I am honoring my inspirations, I would like to mention one of Natalie’s inspiring and wise words from one of her books that have provided me with heart for the path – Writing Down The Bones – “Life is so rich, if you can write down the real details of the way things were and are, you hardly need anything else.” Be inspired!

100postsallaboutEthiopia2Last but not least, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the inspiring and unconditional love I am receiving from family, friends and loved ones who is working so hard behind the scene so that I can get all the credit…Thank you for being the wind beneath my wings. And of course my esteemed loyal readers and your inspiring comments – my treasured leverage to keep on doing what I love to do – I believe reaction for any kind of work inspires creativity so I dare to say YOU are the main reason for my blog – About Addis Ababa – to made it 100 posts!

Thank you all for allowing me to be human by seeing and shining a light up on the potential rather than my imperfection.

You Inspire Me!

Posted in Addis Ababa, Africa, Ethiopia, Inspiration, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged , , , | 29 Comments