Lion of Judea StatueKings may fail to pick their capitals right, think Muhammad bin Tughlaq and his costly mistake Daulatabad, but queens seldom do. Legend has it that when the Ethiopian empress Taytu Betul, married to the ebullient Menelik II, chose to settle down, she zeroed in on Addis Ababa for its beauty and salubrious climate after many a sojourn across the land.

The capital of modern Ethiopia — historically known as Abyssinia — Addis Ababa is a traveller’s delight. With great weather — 18 to 20 degree Celsius round the year, sunny days, rainy evenings — and a heady mossy scent in the air, the city is indeed like a new flower, as its name suggests in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia.

Pizzas and Injiras

The city, situated 8,000 feet above sea level, rises early. At the crack of dawn the entire populace, it seems, has poured out into the streets. There are smiling faces everywhere. Runners dot the winding roads of Addis — potential Abebe Bikilas keeping the country’s romantic tryst with long-distance running. The picturesque Entoto mountains tower over the city.

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