I firmly believe that the best travel destinations are those that come without expectations. Or maybe I'm difficult to please and easily put off by places that are too crowded, too touristy, too "easy".
Armenia was none of these, and had not even been a place I had considered visiting until we realised it was much cheaper to fly out of Yerevan instead of Tbilisi. So we booked the cheaper flight and embarked on a stomach-churning minibus ride across the Caucasus, along with a Russian guy who chatted to me in a mix of broken English and German for the entire 4 hour ride.
Georgia had been the focus of my trip, and it did not disappoint. Neither did Ukraine, where we visited before. But Armenia... the landscapes are still haunting me. I was absolutely not prepared for such beauty.
|Mount Ararat, symbol of Armenia, which is ironically located in Turkey.|
|A have hundreds of pictures like this - this is the Caucasus at its best.|
|The only church in the world whose second floor can be reached by an outdoor stair case.|
|A random Greek-style temple, the easternmost of its kind, although a replica|
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, which was our base for our short trip. I had expected something along the lines of Tbilisi, but no, it was even more modern and well laid out, with lots of green, art, fancy as well as hipstery places to eat. One of our highlights was the opera/ballet in downtown Yerevan, where tickets are sold from around $10 - we got very good seats for about $15 to see a ballet inspired by Armenian folk stories.
It's a very small country and you can see virtually anywhere on a day trip, although for my next visit, I would love to see more out of the way places. Armenia is surprisingly well equipped with tourist facilities, which many tour operators, a high level of English and good wifi access (EU citizens can use their regular EU roaming tariffs). Not to mention the food was amazing, too - a mixture of Eastern European, Turkish and Persian, which is an accurate map of the countries culture and history, too.
Would you ever have considered a trip to the Caucasus, and Armenia?
|A lion made of tires looking down at Yerevan and to Mt. Ararat|
|Random art like this is all over Yerevan, which saves the city from being too sleek and sanitised|