A Travellerspoint blog

Day thirty-two - last day on the road....for now

Friday 27 September 2019

sunny 29 °C

The road to Yerevan

61718281-D2AE-4C4F-B1BE-9B2F22CB1DC2.jpeg90DB16FD-3CB5-4C05-8BD9-8A90DD74C045.jpeg7863D0A0-85AF-4A59-88F7-EBEFAADB190F.jpeg

The distance to Yerevan is about 144 km and dependent on traffic, should take about two hours. We had three short stops en route. I was definitely beginning to have tour overload as I was tempted to scotch the plan and head straight back to Yerevan. There are a lot of roadworks as the M1 is being improved. Eventually it will be a dual carriageway linking the Black Sea area of Georgia to Iran. It has been funded by a Chinese company. Roads in general have improved but I can’t help thinking it’s so that the big tour buses can access previously inaccessible sites. Karen is a careful driver but even then, the type of driving needed to cope with the road conditions, can be particularly hair raising. Where tarmac is missing, cars swerve to avoid them so that from afar it looks like some mad bumper car rally.

Amberd Fortress

The first stop was Amberd Fortress. I’d been 9 years previously when we were the only tourists with a rough pathway to the fortress. The only way to get to the top was via a steep scree slope which I didn’t do. Now there is a pathway with information signs and steps - albeit quite rough and steep - up to the fortress entrance. It’s an impressive place built atop a ridge made by the confluence of two rivers. On one side walls had weren’t needed because the steep gorge made it unassailable. As we made our way back down the twisty road, We passed a Soviet era observatory which is still in use - Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory. There is a guesthouse on site and guided tours can be arranged.

36B26ABC-6F07-4B98-A17C-165020647F01.jpeg12F349BE-433F-49D2-B35A-9AAF3598BAF6.jpeg85B42DB0-C489-4A0D-AD75-A448EB51B5CE.jpeg1EAAFD22-5BF1-44E1-88D5-B4DC05105B2A.jpeg

The last two monasteries of the tour

Next stop was Saghmosavank, most notable personally as it was the first monastery I had ever visited in Armenia and where my sister and I were blessed by the priest. Poor man didn’t realise that his blessings were wasted on us. Like Amberd, last time there were no tourists about but that has changed. The building is perched on the edge of the Kasagh Gorge with stunning views towards Mount Aragat’s.

Last stop was the 7th century Karmavor Church - the name means reddish hue. It was a tiny little church and the only one on this tour that I hadn’t seen before. A party of school children, who looked about 5 years old, were around the church careering about and generally causing havoc.

94883A16-EE10-4618-9512-40E3EB9305B1.jpeg9806F27E-8901-4C64-BFDE-DB44EC90B31F.jpegF9C008D7-27C4-483C-9B5E-8A1D72DCD0ED.jpeg3B95C61C-E264-4542-9B78-F67088926563.jpeg

Busy, busy Yerevan

Finally we arrived in Yerevan, hitting busy traffic as we entered the city. This time I was staying at the Diamond House Hotel on Aram Street, two doors up from the first restaurant that I ate at - Fit-Eat and close to the other favourite - Amar on the other side of the Kond pedestrian tunnel. The room at the hotel was pretty good although I didn’t have a balcony. I enquired about laundry but it would have cost me a small fortune to get a few items cleaned.

F38036C7-5E9C-4D7A-82D6-3DD508627F6F.jpegED5721C0-08A6-441F-933C-978CEF4D1153.jpeg

After settling in I thought that I’d eat lunch at Amar as it’s better to walk through the tunnel during the day. I had the zucchini rissoles that had been recommended on my last visit there, together with a salad. After this, I walked around the Kond area, a very old part of the city that feels very different from the rest of Yerevan. It’s like finding a village in the middle of a city. The streets are narrow and winding with access mostly via steps and just a few roads in.

2BC320DC-D724-4B02-984A-2B730BDEF0E7.jpegDA9179C9-4B23-4D70-B757-3DEAB51C49E0.jpegC7569A05-EBEB-46D4-AB52-1C23067283F4.jpeg13116421-F74C-404F-8367-3DC111A10563.jpeg

Dancing Fountains

Once I got back I had an Apricot ale at Dargett Craft beers which was about four doors down from my hotel - this really is the street to be on. I decided that tonight was the night for visiting the Dancing/Singing fountains in Republic Square so needed to have a little siesta after the beer.

405D7B2D-B024-43AC-8F08-CA65F7E60261.jpeg

The fountains don’t start until 9pm so I had plenty of time to have a rest. The fountains are quite an institution. They are accompanied by a light show and music nightly and there are always lots of families down there and tons of hawkers selling stuff for kids - exactly the sort of things sold at festivals etc. The fountains are in the background when when Armenia relay their votes for the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s pretty cheesy but I think that something that brings everyone out and together is great.

After an hour I decided to walk back and happened on Shrivan’s as recommended by my niece so popped in for a bit of food. The menu was pretty meat orientated so had fries and soup - a bit of a strange combo but pretty good all the same. My culinary choices haven’t necessarily fitted with my ‘avoid starchy carb’ regime on this holiday but I am sure I can reverse the anticipated weight gain once I get home.

Posted by Cath_Greig 22:16 Archived in Armenia Tagged monastery yerevan armenia saghmosavank amberd amar dargett

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint