I Love Armenia! <3

Tbilisi was a great stop on the journey, with jobs that had to be done(and did!), sightseeing, meeting new amazing people and enjoying life! 🙂

So after one full week, i was ready to pack my stuff and go out for new adventures again! The first stop was 30km after Tbilisi, at the village of Koda. I stopped at a church for lunch and after 3 hours i had met a lot of people there. One of them was Soso, who invited me to his house to stay for the night! We passed the rest of our day, drinking wine, playing with Soso’s son Noa and relaxing. Thank you so much Soso for everything, you are one of a kind! 🙂

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Next day, after stoping at Kveshi for lunch and relax,

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I headed to Kianeti, where i saw a good camping place. So i asked one man, if i could put my tent there and spend the night. He answered me with a question. “Do you want to sleep in my house?”, he said. You already know my answer, so Garik(his name) took me into his house, where i met his whole lovely family! His son Robert, his wife,his mother and his father. Robert was speaking english and the communication became easier. He showed me their gardens, with abundance of vegetables and fruit trees. They were making wine, cheese, bread and also had chickens and 3 cows. His grandfather was still milking the cow and his grandmother was still making bread! Everything in the house was in total order and nothing was for waste. We ate 100% natural products and i went to bed full and enlightened! Next day it was really hard to say goodbye to these wonderful people, but i had to cross the border to Armenia. Really i cannot thank them enough, be well beautiful family and keep spreading your wisdom 🙂

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My last day in Georgia had come and a new chapter of the journey was about to start! But first, i had to accomplish 40km of steep uphill, through a magnificent forest,

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until i reach Guguti, the final frontier of Georgia.

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After some meters, there was the border from the Georgian side, that was really easy.

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After 5 minutes, i was ready to go! And i reached the Armenian border, which was on construction… So for now, the officers was inside a container(!).

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After 10 mins of checking my passport, they let me through and i was officially in Armenian ground 😀
First i passed through the construction building of the new border,

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with all the workers greeting me really warm and in a funny way!

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After one hour of cycling at the new Armenian landscape,

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i was already in Tashir, the first town in Armenia from this border. I went to the park of the town, where after 30 mins, i met my first incredible Armenian friends!

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They were all students with their teacher hunging out. We stayed at the park for hours, talking, drinking beer(they offered me Piva) and eating. After some time i also met Irina, that invited me to a house for food and after I met the mother of the students. Her name is Rima and her son is Argam. She invited me to her house to stay for the night! This family was extremely good with me. They cooked for me, let me do my things on the internet and prepared my bed. And i was still less than 24 hours in Armenia, but hospitality here is above any measure!!! Next morning i had to say goodbye to these wonderful people.

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I did and moved on, passing from Stepanavan.

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With the classic Armenian landscape all around me,

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after 30km i reached Gjulagarag, where i asked 2 children where can i camp and they showed me the perfect place!

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There was a small shelter for people to sit, with water running from a tap and a river passing by. The scenery was great and i relaxed for the whole day!

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With full batteries, the next day i went uphill and in the end i crossed the dangerous and a little bit freaky tunel, before Spitak. 
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In the end i was in the town of Spitak reading my book on a bench, on a small park, outside of a house complex. It was late in the afternoon when i started asking people where i could set up my tent, so i see a guy on his balkony waving at me, to go into his house! He was living at the 2nd floor and everything went up quickly. Armen is his name and his wife is Marina. They welcomed me and we had great discussions, even if they didn’t speak English. Armen was a builder and he was really interested for the house prices in Greece, so i explained everything he wanted to learn. Next morning we had breakfast and i was on the road once more. Thank you Armen and Marina, for your great hospitality 🙂

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Today I had the last and most difficult uphill i had to climb. After 5kms on it, i stopped for a photo of the magnificent landscape and a big old truck appeared… I took a photo of it also and waved hello. As a result, it stopped right next to me!

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The driver and two more men came and asked me if i wanted to load the bicycle on the truck, to go through the uphil. Hell yeah i wanted! 😀
Check the video of the great ride we had, on this epic old truck!

 

 

We stopped at a gas station and i thanked them for saving the day for me. Armenian people are totally awessome! I Love Armenia <3

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I started cycling again, having Aragats, the highest and most impressive Armenian mountain on my right side.

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After some hours, i crossed Aparan and reached the village of Kuchak. There i found a place to camp and sat down to rest. Not for long though… Across the street, there was a school. When the bell rang, the students were out in the street and saw me as a show… After some minutes i was fully surrounded by them and everybody wanted a selfie with me. I felt like a rock star 😛 This went on for the next hour, until i set up my tent and everybody went home, at last. The rest of the day was relaxing and cool. The night was a little cold but i survived to see 30 cows surrounding my tent early in the morning… I went out and tried to keep them in a distance from the tent and the bicycle. And it worked! And old lady was watching the scene and invited me to her house for a morning tea and roasted chicken! I thanked her and went out for a photo with her and the students.

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So here i was, on my way to the capital of Armenia, Yerevan. I passed outside of Ashtarak 

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and before miday i was already into the city!

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I was on my way to my host’s house but i had to go through the whole city first. From the first moment, Yerevan gave me a nice and promising impression. I reached the house and Nazan was there to welcome me. She is living with her lovely mother, which she had a lot of questions towards me, and Nazan had to translate everything. And she is really great at this, because she has 2 diplomas in translating!

The next days i had lots of jobs in the city. First I had to go to the Iranian embassy and arrange everything for my Iranian visa. Next i met with Alice, which she is half Armenian-half Greek and she gave me a t-shirt that the guys from livetrip had sent me through her. She also invited me for dinner at her house! Thanks for everything Alice 🙂

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If you ever visit Yerevan, do something good for yourselves and visit Alice’s reastaurant, to taste delicious Armenian kitchen! It is called Charentsi 28 and it is located at Charents street 28. You can find more information about it, from the website here.

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And after 3 days of intense working, the weekend came. At Saturday there was a wine festival at Areni village, 130km out of Yerevan. I arranged to go there with my next couchsurfer. His name is Wolf (no it’s not a nickname, this is his real name) and he invited me to go there in a minibus with his friends. Before we go to the festival, we went to Yereghis village which is close.

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There were some really old churches(1.000 years old) with a lot of Khachkars(cross-stones), which are classical Armenian big stones, carved magnificently with epic crosses.

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This village was full of wallnut and fruit trees and at the last church the view was magnificent!

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After some hour, we went to the festival.

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There i met with Nazan again. I said goodbye to Wolf and his friends and i hoped on another minibus. Nazan was there with her sister Luize, who had come from Spain the previous day and her colleagues.

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First we went to KaravanSarai. It is an extremely old hotel, at the top of a mountain, on the Silk Road. The travellers where resting inside and there was a special place for their animals too.

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Outside there was an epic old man and his wife, selling eatable things.

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Our next destination was the magnificent Sevan lake, up to 1.900m above sea level!

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After crossing the lake, we stopped to enter in a cemetary. In the beggining i was like “What the …..?” But after, i realised the reasons that we entered that cemetary. Noratus, is the oldest cemetary in the country and has rich historical value. Those khachkars in it are around 1.000 years old. 

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There is a legend about the invading army of king Tamerlane in this area. According to it, the villagers placed helmets on top of the khachkars and leaned swords against them. From a distance the khachkars looked like armed soldiers holding a defensive position as a result of which Tamerlane’s army retreated. So i didn’t loose the chance for one photo with them \m/

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Our last destination was Hayrivank monastery, which stands next to Sevan lake and it is also very old with khachkars around it.

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After a super-full day, we returned back at Yerevan to rest ourselves. The next day i had to go and meet my next host. I said goodbye to the extremely beautiful sisters, Nazan and Luize, that hosted me for 5 days. Thank you so much girls, you are both awessome! 😀 

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So i went downtown to find Wolf (yes it’s his name…!).

 

To Be Continued…