Hi – it’s Mario and Steffi. Last spring we planned a trip to Lalibela, Ethiopia, East Africa, to explore the orthodox Easter ceremony in one of the holiest places on Earth. Lalibela is located in the center of Ethiopia along a cliff. The ceremonies are very spiritual; we took the chance and spend hours in the holy rock churches. And after the days passed by we felt we have to climb the plateau and keep on travelling and exploring this amazing country.

We bought some donkeys, food, mattress, stove, honey, petrol and hired local donkey driver name Dessi to take us to a far mountain, the highest around Lalibela, Abune Josef (4.260Hm).
We slept with locals, eat with them, walked about 25 miles a day, started at 5 in the morning and drank water from the river. We spend as much time with nature, with locals, with us. After 4 days we finally climbed one of the highest mountains in Africa, Abue Jofes, and I felt so much freedom and love within me and Steffi, I spontaneously decided to propose marriage to my girlfriend. I just felt it’s the right place, the right time… and guess what – she accepted! By chance I had one piccolo in my photo bag! Cheers!

It became late, dark and cold (minus 5) when we lost the way down the mountain. Even the guide was lost and it becomes very freezing at 4.000 meters, even in Africa. We became distressed, cold – started shaking. Just with one torch we tried to find our way out here and down the mountain as fast as possible. Almost midnight a local must have seen us walking in this altitude. He packed his things and picked us almost half dead and frozen from the mountain. He brought us to his home, a village (also called Abune Josef) with about 20 local huts. It was late after midnight when we sit around the fire. Steffi felt asleep immediately. Then the old man told me, he is the priest of the village. I heard myself asking if he can get us married. He asked me when. I said tomorrow morning. And I fell asleep.

When I woke up at the next day, some people were very busy. Some came along with chairs and flowers, some slaughtered a goat. Visitors arrived. Our local friend, Dessi, prepared one of the donkeys as our wedding car… I remembered my words. I needed to talk to Steffi… At the end, the priest took us to a very holy place, a cave church, where 4 more priests waited and we got married and celebrated with some 50 Ethiopians we never know before a unforgettable party.

We don’t remember the place we got married, the name of the people we celebrated with. We didn’t know the food we eat and never thought about the color tablecloth, a guest list. We just did it with love for each other, for nature, for travelling and life. You can also check out my previous biblical journey in Ethiopia.

More info: mario-gerth.de | Flickr | Facebook

The priest is blessing our future… But lets go 5 days back

From the capital of Ethiopia, Addis Abeba, to Laibela its 2 days in a bus

The rock church turns biblical during Easter

Old priest praying the whole Easter night

Pilgrims come from far, some walk 4 days

After the ceremony we bought donkeys and started

At night we were invited in local houses having a coffee

Shepard wear skins to stay protected from cold in the mountains

We start to climb the plateau

Resting in small villages

Some times you walk, some times you ride

After 4 days we reached the top and she said “YES”

Almost frozen to death we arrived at the village

Waking up in the morning at the priest village

The priest wife is preparing Injera bread

People start preparing the wedding food in the morning

The wedding cake is off the wall

Steffi is getting dressed up in a local hut

Dessi our donkey driver got the car ready

5 priests await us in front of the cave church

Blessing the rings

The first kiss

Some new friends

Walking back to the village

The priest is documenting the wedding on goatskin

We invited all kids from the village

Meeting piligrims along the way

Making friend in the mountains

Happily married!

Walking back home