Buy your souvenirs here! They say they buy children’s educational materials with the money made. I am not sure, probably true. What they are great at is prices! And they have a fantastic collection. Question any price and it goes from being good to great. They undersell the others. You are happy, they are happy. If it does help the kids – great. They seemed genuine and were friendly.
There are 2 gift shops in this picture taken in the airport. The shop on the left is run by a nice guy with OK prices who will negotiate to reasonable levels. Its not the cheapest, but he has a good selection and more in the back. He has some good postcards and will negotiate down on those too. He is friendly and helpful.
The shop on the right is run by a rude bastard who doesn’t think I know Amharic swear words. Not impressed.
What to buy:
You may get a guide to show you around the churches. I'm not very "guide-friendly", so the 1st day I didn't and just wandered around. But after seeing the real maze that the churches are, I decided to take one for the second day. It was a good decission, as he showed me corners and corridors I didn't notice in my first visit and explained me details I wouldn't have learny other way.
Anyway, as I had had a general impression of the churches the first day, the 2nd I just took a half day guide and that was enough. Another option is to join a group, so you share the guide (and the fare).
There are "official" and "unoffical" (any street boy) guides. If you want history take the first, if you want just orientation, take the second (cheaper).
Unofficial guides will find you in the streets. For official, go to the Tourist Info or the Ticket Office: One day: 150B, Half day 80B.
Many souvenir shops around the tourist towns of Ethiopia...
What to buy: I bought a hand-cross which is over 70 years old, a bible written in Ge'ez (ancient Ethiopic language, like Ge'ez is to Amharic and Latin to English) which is almost a 100 years old!
WARNING: It's illegal to export antiques out of Ethiopia without first obtaining a permit from the National Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
I was reassured many, many times that small hand-crosses and small bibles should be alright... but to be safe, i checked them in at the flight counter in my backpack. But anything more than a hundred years old, even coins, and huge processional crosses and bibles have to be declared and an export permit obtained.