We couldn’t decently not toast our national holiday on time! We cross the border in the middle of a great cacophony and after two hours of administrative procedures we are installed on the terrace of a café in the village square of Agarak.
First fresh beer appreciated after six weeks of deprivation and first test approved for the Bikina
We make wine in Armenia, so we also treat ourselves to our first bottle after more than 10 months! But the test is inconclusive. At the store we find the products appreciated in Russia so we let go a little on the charcuterie, the smoked cheese and the vegetables in brine:)
A total shock with the six weeks that we have just experienced. The old Ladas circulate for my greatest pleasure and the atmosphere a little less warm than in Iran resurfaces with “Sto” as a question of what we would need or not!
The day after our arrival, we comply with the regulations to insure Orbis and then it is the formalities of departure in a country, Sim card and use again of our credit cards to withdraw money from a bank distributor.
Once these chores are completed, the road begins in the direction of the Tatev monastery, built between the 10th and 13th centuries and which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We had been told that the road was chaotic but we were far from imagining it as chaotic! So for a few kilometers, it takes the day to connect one point to another. Fortunately, a little shot of vodka is on the menu once Orbis is parked in order to relieve the nerves of the driver who suffered the feat of avoiding thousands of potholes!
On the road, by mistake, we come across a small isolated monastery in the woods, a real crush on Bgheno Noravank and an encounter with the cross stones, the Khatchkars.
Specific to Armenian art, these steles, most often rectangular in shape, have one or more carved crosses accompanied by ornamental decoration, inscriptions or human figures. They embody for the Armenian Apostolic Church the divine nature of Christ, a tree of life. The Khatchkars are, since 2010, on the list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity by Unesco.
The Armenian Apostolic Church, also known as the Armenian Orthodox Church, is an autocephalous Christian church. It is part of so-called Eastern Christianity and enjoys total independence on the legal and spiritual levels, in particular from the authority of the Pope. Authority is exercised by its catholicos whose seat is today in Etchmiadzin, about thirty kilometers west of Yerevan. The “Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians” has been His Holiness Garegin II since October 27, 1999.
To finalize our arrival at the Tatev monastery, we decide to park for the night in the parking lot of the longest back-and-forth cable car in the world, 5,752 m, which will take us there.
The environment of the monastery is grandiose and we take pleasure in finding the greenery and the fresh air of the mountain.
We continue with a visit to a field of menhirs, part of which is an interesting artistic work, the site of Zohrats Kar. Presenting us with the Shaki waterfall as the highest in Armenia, we decided to check it out. And it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls seen for a long time that will seduce us to land near it for two nights. On the outskirts of an environment that reminds us of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland with a mountain in the shape of a giant organ, we take a little rest and specify the rest of the Armenian route.
We discover the Jermuk spa town region whose sparkling water is almost as good as Chris’s favorite Quézac, that is to say! Steep walk down into the canyon to immortalize in image the Gndevanq monastery. Then we reach the first crush, the Noravank monastery coiled around red mountains which sublimate this monument at sunset.
In Areni, revealed as being the oldest wine region in the world during archaeological discoveries of traces of wine making 6000 years ago, we treat ourselves to a tasting break and a bottle of white wine for the evening aperitif with pickled peanuts brought from Iran