Armenia: In one word “Authentic”
I got a chance to visit Armenia for a familiarization trip, a short period but I decided to stay for 2 more days as I was in love with the country. The capital city Yerevan was a perfect blend of the old and the new. The republic square was full of nice cafes, shopping, monuments and beyond. People I met were like my own people and were very warm. My second stay was in Jermuk and again I was not disappointed but was surprised with what I was seeing around, snowfall and then Jermuk waterfall. The long route to Jermuk from Yerevan was making me think why am I taking this road to this place, but the place I was about to reach was just a Hidden Gem. There is nothing you see for miles, but then you get a glimpse of something beautiful, something worth the drive of 4 hours to the place. Jermuk maintains its own rawness even today.
I stayed in 2 different cities with their own unique charm. My first 2 nights’ stay in “Jermuk” ( means geyser), a mountain spa town, was in the middle of the mountains, the snowcapped mountains located in the south east of Armenia. As it was a full day journey from India to Armenia and then to Jermuk, I went to bed early this night. Next morning, the snowfall when I woke up was a dream come true for me. I did not waste my time. How long does it take to make a great coffee? Armenian Coffee was very smooth. 5 minutes and I was in the balcony, of course covering myself fully and having this view in front of me. It’s not that I was experiencing snowfall for the first time or seeing the snowcapped mountains for the first time, but this was different. This was raw. In next few hours I got ready and we went for a tour to Jermuk waterfall. And this time I had the opportunity to drive and I was just loving the way towards to Jermuk Waterfall. Jermuk Waterfall on Arpa river is 70 meters and is the highest cascade waterfall in Armenia, a must visit sight. The stay in every place matters, and the choice of hotel that my team had for me was something beyond my own expectation. I was staying in Grand Resort Jermuk a perfect place to stay in Jermuk.
Next day, the third day I was all prepared to move to Yerevan. And on the way we also chose to cover few beautiful places. One of them was Tatev Monastery. Me being a history lover was enjoying it. The Tatev Monastery is a 9th-century Armenian Apostolic monastery located on a large basalt plateau near the Tatev village in Syunik Province in southeastern Armenia. The term “Tatev” usually refers to the monastery. The monastic ensemble stands on the edge of a deep gorge of the Vorotan River.
The highlight of the entire trip was the Wings of Tatev, “Tatevi tever” at the villages Halidzor and Tatev, Syunik region. Spanning 5.7 kilometers across the Vorotan River Gorge, the Tatev Aerial Tramway is the longest passenger aerial tramway in the world. I was thrilled as I am scared of heights, but it was worth trying.
We had a stop at a beautiful restaurant, a great place where you will want to sit and relax. A place where you just won’t go and eat but also enjoy the nature around and food will be served in the best way ever with great Armenian Hospitality. Though I being vegetarian had few choices, but that was not at all a problem, I used to have Lavash (a soft, thin unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor and eaten all over the South Caucasus) and the Beans curry and rice which is also a staple there. So, food was really not a problem, in fact a new taste.
The next stop was the Areni Winery, in the wine region of Areni. A must stop if you want to try the taste and varieties of the Wines produced here. I tried them all and bought a few.
And finally we reached Ramada Hotel Yerevan, 200 Meters from the Republic Square, and for me it was a better location to stay at if I want to explore the city. The public transportation from my hotel was accessible. I explored Yerevan the next day, day 4. Historical buildings, beautiful alleyways, shopping markets for all, great restaurants and warm people for sure. I started with a city tour through Yerevan and saw key landmarks such as Cascade Monument, the Opera House, and Swan Lake. You can also opt to eat something on the way, there are lot of good places to eat and are must try ones. One of them was Tashir Pizza that I tried.
This was my first travel to any of the Eurasian country and Yerevan for me was a mix of everything. Nightlife was pretty good and that was one thing that I tried last 2 nights of my stay. Great clubs and great music. So I did all that one can do. But the most important aspect when you travel, people and the learning. I met some amazing people who were warm, and by that I got to know that people play an important role when you travel to places. I met some great ones, very hospitable.
That’s all about my first time travel to Armenia. And this surely was not my last.