Gheralta Lodge located north of Mekele in the Tigrei region of Ethiopia was our first adventure outside of Addis Ababa two years ago when we arrived Jan 1, 2012. Ashlynn was still a newborn, and we were still trying to sort out what our life would look like in Ethiopia. I remember being terrified to leave our safe and comfortable home to take the short flight to Mekele. I remember being very nervous about packing. I included all sorts of emergency types of items. Then I remember arriving at the lodge and having a really wonderful few days exploring the area. It was such a different world from Addis and I completely fell in love with Ethiopia over the course of those few days.
We've been discussing going back to Gheralta, literally for two years. It's a fantastic place to visit and it worked out nicely that Justin made reservations for us and another family over Ethiopian Christmas (Jan 7th).
Our family has changed immensely in two years. The lodge has not. It's stayed completely the same. Which is just how I had hoped to find it. Gheralta lodge is my happy place in Ethiopia. It's peaceful, quiet, clean, well cared for with good food and excellent accommodations.
This trip marked a new era for our family. Ashlynn is now two and quite the independent and advanced little two year old, if I do say so. She makes our life so much easier. She's happy being entertained by her sisters and has no intention of every not being allowed to do what the big kids are doing. In parenting terms, this trip was the first time that we felt like we had three kids. Not two kids and a baby or two kids and a toddler, but three kids! No special dietary needs, no picky eaters, no screaming evenings from no naps or over tiredness. No waking up in the middle of the night to screaming children. Everyone got a good night sleep in the family. No whining for our hiking, everyone walked even for a bit. Addie walked the entire 5 miles, Bella for most of it and Ashlynn rode on my back in the carrier but asked to walk a few times. All the kids played peacefully together, they sat well for meal times. There were no meltdowns. Glorious! Justin and I wanted to pinch ourselves from the whole experience. It was just amazing to enjoy such a lovely family vacation. We're mostly excited for every family trip here on out-it's amazing how much easier it gets.