Armenia, Georgia’s small neighbour, we approach with scepticism on the one hand – I wonder if the mentality and friendliness here might be different? – but on the other hand, completely unprejudiced. Because when we cross the border, we are still quite uninformed about the country itself. This is not necessarily a disadvantage, but in the case of Bulgaria, for example, it revealed a really nice surprise.
Only about the entry itself did we try to inform ourselves in advance, but received contradictory information, e.g. about the length of time one’s vehicle could stay in the country.
For all those who are planning to enter Armenia by land, we have written a separate article about our experiences with entering the country:
After a good 1.5 hours, we cross the border with all the formalities and are positively surprised for the first time. We are allowed to stay in Armenia without a visa for 6 months! So we drive a few kilometres to our first campsite on a meadow above the Debed Gorge and enjoy the wonderful weather and the great view over the gorge for the next few days.
The site is located directly between two of Armenia’s most famous monasteries. We visit the Haghpat monastery in connection with a great hike, the Sanahin monastery on the onward journey. Even the souvenir sellers catch our eye positively in both cases, because unfortunately we were seldom greeted in such a friendly and cheerful manner during the weeks in Georgia.
Follow us into these venerable walls by clicking on the following gallery:
Only a few kilometres further on, again above the Debed Gorge, we settle in for another few days. More hikes await us, which is great fun in Armenia thanks to its own hiking app (HikeArmenia) and good markings on site.
On arrival, we have no idea what a wonderful spectacle of nature awaits us the next morning. Along the edge of the cliff, at the same altitude as our motorhome, griffon vultures glide through the air the next morning in search of carrion. Several adult animals astonish us again and again for several hours.
We continue in a south-westerly direction to the shore of a small remote lake. For the first few days we don’t see a soul among the green hills, except for shepherds on horses with herds of cows passing by in the distance.
One day, one of these shepherds stands in front of our vehicle. While we try to communicate, a rain shower comes up and faster than we can look, the three of us are sitting in our vehicle and Ruben – the shepherd – wants to light his first cigarette. We somehow manage to make it clear to him not to smoke in here, which he can’t quite understand, but is nevertheless the beginning of a uniquely beautiful afternoon full of hospitality.
The sun comes out again and he already extends the invitation if we don’t want to get on his horse. In the end, Sophia lets herself be persuaded and is immediately pinched in the calf by the foal as a welcome 😉
Another shepherd crosses our campsite nearby, so Lowan joins us. Ruben rides straight off to his village and fetches beer and schnapps for everyone. But not only that! He also has two large glasses of homemade yoghurt and cream as a gift. His wife makes these from the milk of their own cows. Before we know it, Sophia has Ruben’s mobile phone to her ear and we can thank his wife for the gifts. At least as far as we can in Russian! We also communicate with the two shepherds throughout the day more with facial expressions and gestures than with each other’s languages, but this does not dampen the joyful mood 😉
We spend an unforgettable afternoon with a lot of cordiality, at the end of which Ruben even leaves us his snack. After all, we should not starve “out here”! 🙂 Apart from a coffee, the two of them would not accept anything from us.
For a few impressions click on the gallery:
The next day we want to move on and are visited again by Ruben with a present in his hand. He presents us with champions he has collected, which grow wild in the surrounding meadows. More than grateful and inspired, we finally start the engine of our vehicle, give a friendly farewell honk and drive off into the horizon.
Our way leads us to the village of Dilijan, located in the national park of the same name. Thanks to the great choice of hiking routes, we undertake three medium-length hikes in this green landscape. Again, we discover fantastic old church buildings and a lot of nature. We are especially pleased that another meeting with the Swiss couple we met in Bulgaria works out here.
Come with us to Armenia’s great nature by clicking on the gallery:
Now we are not far from the largest freshwater lake in the Caucasus region. Lake Sevan is more than twice the size of Lake Constance and lies at an altitude of over 1900 metres. From Dilijan there would be a direct connection through one of the few (unlit) vehicle tunnels that are common in Armenia. However, we decide to take a bend through a valley where, according to the guidebook, until recently passage was only possible by off-road vehicle. This way we would like to discover more originality and seclusion.
Inevitably, this brings us closer to the border with Azerbaijan. Due to the conflict between the two countries, it is advisable not to spend the night too close to the border, even if at first glance it is no man’s land. We were also deceived at first sight by an open area here that looked like an abandoned cemetery.
To take a few photos, we stop briefly at the side of the road and take a close look at the gravestones. As we drive on, we think nothing of it and stop in the next village to do some shopping in the local supermarket and to visit a beekeeper. On our return to the vehicle, we are met by a gentleman who is well informed about our visit to the “cemetery”. He tells us that he is from the “police” and that we have been seen at a former Azerbaijani cemetery. Friendly, he asks us some questions and wants to see the photos we took. In the end, we have to delete them in order to continue our journey. No problem for us, we are given a friendly farewell and can reach the shore of Lake Sevan the same evening.
Look forward to more tales from this fantastic country in the near future 🙂
Until then weltenleben.de greetings!