Road trip in Armenia, August 2019

This Summer we headed for the unknown… In 2018 we visited Georgia, the most visited of the three Caucasian countries situated between the black and the Caspian Sea. We loved the area and wanted to go back this year but at the same time felt the desire to discover something new and less known. ‘Off the beaten path’ 😊 as they say.

This is what led us to Armenia… Still undiscovered but it turned out to be one of our nicest destinations so far. It confirmed our feeling that the best destinations are the less known ones. It will not surprise you that some of our best memories of travels in the past come from places like Kosovo, Albania (Durres), Bosnian Seaside (Neum), Lithuania, Transnistria, Kiev…

After having landed in Kutaisi, Georgia, we picked up a rental car and headed for the Georgian-Armenian border. A long but rewarding drive with a one night stop in Mtscheta . (I offer a free beer to those who can pronounce this name correctly !)

Arriving at the border at lunch time the next day, we were very confident that it would be an easy day for the four of us in the car… but then showed up Armenian bureaucracy ! We needed all sorts of documents for our car. It took us an hour before we realised how to queue in Armenia. Once we had our position in the ‘row’ (it looked more like a rugby scrum) another two hours. For those who do not speak some Russian: better bring a translator !

But after the formalities (and the extra 70 (!!) Euro tax) we were rewarded: a beautiful ride towards Yerevan through villages, mountains,…  This was the moment when we remembered the saying ‘The journey is the destination’.

Before dusk we arrived in Yerevan, a small but cosy apartment awaited us. It was situated just outside the centre, enabling us to immerse in local neighbourhoods. We discovered the city during 3 days, absolute highlight is the ‘Casacade’. Climbing these marble stairs allows you to have a magnificent view on the city and the mount Ararat.

Ararat brought up some nostalgy in us. It is the symbol of Armenia and all Armenians, young and old, identify themselves with it but it is situated in Turkey and unreachable because the borders are closed… Sad to see how politics can have such an influence.  

Back to the delights of Yerevan: a coffee at Malocca café, the best bread ever, friendly and curious people and a blue sky…

Time to head back for a week of rest at Batumi seaside in Georgia. The way back we stopped in Sevan, invaded by Russian tourists but worth a stop for a view on the lake. The very last part of the road back was magnificent with views on the desert of Azerbaijan.

Thanks Armenia, country 38 😊, you are wonderful !

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