Oct 14 12

Northern Ethiopia into Sudan


Gonder – City of Castles

By: Nicolai (7)


Dad teased, “Back to more churches tomorrow.” I couldn’t wait, I thought sarcastically. But when I saw they were actually castles, I was quite keen. King Fasalidas started the tradition and built his palace in 1640 within the Royal enclosure (Fasil Ghebbi). It was built with stone and limestone and each corner had a guard post. The big grounds were beautiful with purple flowers. I stood in the lion‘s cage where the

in the lion's cages

King kept lion’s to show their mightiness. Into the rock was carved a channel so that the rain water could flow into a storage pond. Fasalidas’ descendants built the other 5 castles.


Nicolai retrieving his slops

Fasalida’s second house was surrounded  by a sunken pool. The water was full of green algae which felt slimy in between my toes as I went to fetch my fallen slip-slop. Mommy teased me that the holy water would heel my stinky feet.  During Timkat in January the priests give blessings with the holy water.

We woke up full of energy knowing that it was a long journey. When we looked at the view from Gonder’s hill top it was very smoky because of Meskel.

this decorated cross overlooking Gondor

Meskel is a Christian holiday which is the time to build crosses and cover them in yellow flowers and then burn them. This celebration is a symbol of the Christian faith. The story goes that a queen from Lalibela found the true cross on which Jesus was crucified by following its smoke.


Sudan – Land of Sand


Welcome to Sudan! It is very dry here but yet the people are very friendly. Like for example, on our first night our car was driving peacefully. Then suddenly the engine gave way (cut out). It was not reading the diesel. Luckily we had extra fuel in our yellow jerry can. While waiting, an engineer passing by was very kind. He helped Dad and bought us two apple juices and two waters. When we tried to offer him money, he wouldn’t take it. A friendly stranger indeed.

sunrise in Sudan

We were welcomed a second time into Sudan by Mike at the Acropole Hotel in Khartoum. It was late at night but we woke up to have our ice-creams.


11 Responses to Northern Ethiopia into Sudan

  1. colin says:

    A very interesting blog nicola. Well done

    • Marcelo says:

      Hi Colin, Nicolai, like any 7-year-old, responds so well to praise. Thank you for commenting. We are missing you, Robyn, Luke, Fynn and Emma. Please give them all big hugs and kisses from us, Celeste and clan

  2. Tally Dickinson says:

    Nicolai, I think you can come and teach my grade ones how to write good stories! Well done on a great blog!

    • Marcelo says:

      Helo Mrs. Dickinson,
      Thank you for following us and for your encouragement. The kids work really hard at their blogs and can’t wait to see the comments. They are missing school (yes, it’s true!) and all their friends. Looking forward to being back at Trinity. Regards to all the staff and pupils, the de Freitas clan

  3. Morries and Carmen says:

    Hello .. and YES we know we forgot to send messages. Truth be told that we finally have our house in such a way that we can put the computers back on. Building is now almost done, AND YES you are invited to a lekker SA braai. Tjops en Boerewors. BEt you can’t wait .. and of course a WAARRM SHOWER !! HEHEE. Listen we love you so much. Joshua mis hes friend, Leah is driving over the walls with all the good photos you take, and yes Mom and Dad miss you okies too. The pictures and stories are amazing that you on the website and it looks at times a bit tough .. BUT I know you guys will push through and make the journey a massive success. Keep in mind that there are people over here that miss and care for you, and hope everything is well on your way forward. WE love you and who knows .. when you look up into those beautifull star lit nights .. well then we might just be looking down on you too. Again we miss you love you and ..oh wait .. Josh says Nick, willl be playing tennis with him when you get back .. NO OTHER WAY !!! HUGE Hugs and JKisses from our side .. Love you all .. HAVE A BALL .. and .. for me .. Ride a turtle or something .. stick a sticker on him and tell him Morries Loves YA !!!!!!

    • Marcelo says:

      Groete skatties,
      Glad to hear the house is nearly done – can’t wait to see it. We think of you guys back home and wish you were with us to share in some of (the better) experiences – like those star-studded nights out next to a fire. Your message means a lot to us. We really appreciate your love and good wishes. Sometimes it gets lonely out here so far from home. We wonder what you have been getting up to. How is the cycling? How is Leah doing at school this year? Did she start at Trinity? Are you guys going away in Dec or Jan? Stax of love to you and all the family, Nicolai and his family xxxx

  4. pauline says:

    We are following you when we get internet. Kids – your writing is awesome xxx

    • Marcelo says:

      Hello darlings, We get to you guys only infrequently in this last stretch in Ethiopia and Sudan – all our comms have been iffy. Great to hear from you and we really appreciate the encouragement for the kids – useful to get them to do more blogs! We would love to catch up and kuier with you (Andrew will have to explain, Pauline – mind you, you have been in SA long enough now). How are your folks? How are the twins? Lots of love, Celeste and crew

  5. Ilona says:

    Dear Nicolai,
    Aren’t the castles cool? And they somehow don’t match the rest of Ethipia! Still, these were done by the Potuguese, so would make your dad proud! Keep playing football!
    Love Ilona

  6. Ilona says:

    Hey Nicolai, yes, we’ve already had snow! but it hasn’t stayed in the city. One day you’ll have to visit in winter and do some snowboarding with Denise!

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