Saturday, October 15, 2011

The 277th good thing about Lagos: Independence Day trip to Abeokuta - great day to climb Olumo Rock

It was the 51st anniversary of Nigerian independence on October 1st.  Because it fell on a Saturday, the following Monday was designated the vacation day. We were invited by friends to join them on a day trip to Abeokuta.  We had been there in the spring of 2009, but were happy to experience it again.  It's always great to get out of Lagos and see the countryside and something different.  And the nice thing about travelling on a holiday is that the traffic is very light.  When we got to Abeokuta, we took the scenic route around town.

We arrived early to Olumo Rock, which gave the city its name, which means "under the rock."  In the "early days" -- I think our guide said it was the 1700's, a group of Egba people came to escape the Dahomey invaders (that kingdom is mostly in what is now the Benin Republic).  They hid out under the rock for 3 years.  Now it is a genuine tourist site.

It has a grave, shrines,
and the remnants left from the years of use as a hideout.

I hope they were shorter back then, because it would be very difficult to spend 3 years hunched over like this!  Hopefully they were able to get out from under the rock frequently!

Our friend Norm is more nimble than the rest of us, and he took the ancient route to the top, which used ladders to get up this crevasse and then he scrambled up the rock. 

We took the stairs, but had the same great view at the top of the rock.

This is St. Peter's church, which they said was the first Christian church structure in Nigeria, dedicated
in 1844.  We were questioning this, as the Portuguese presence was much earlier in Nigeria and certainly they had some kind of churches.  But maybe it's the oldest Christian structure still existing.

We felt "on top of the world."

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