Posts Tagged 'Ararat'

Jun 10th
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On April 22 TotalAdventure departed Tbilisi by auto, with the driver from British Hotel. Before leaving Tbilisi, there were a few stops to pick up necessary documents for crossing the border.

From Tbilisi to Yerevan is about 300 km, taking around 5 hours, including time crossing the border.

Armenia – Country Number 97 For TotalAdventure.

Shortly after the border crossing we had a bit of a detour. The driver received a text warning that Azeri soldiers had made an incursion into Armenian territory. The war has been on and off for over 30 years – since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The next road we went on was closed for about 30 minutes due to a farmer’s demonstration. In all delays were about 90 minutes. It was later reported one Azeri soldier was killed. Above, the peaceful image of winter’s snow receding in the strong spring sunshine.

TotalAdventure’s hotel was right off Republic Square – a grand plaza of Government buildings, libraries and museums.

A delicious dinner at Kavkazia – beginning with Dolma.

Followed by Borsht and then Shashleek. Armenian cuisine is hearty – a crossroads of various Empires – Russian,Turkish, Persian,Greek.

Armenian Dram. As of this writing, the Dram is 387 to the US Dollar. Overall the country is lower priced than the US and Western Europe. A good meal for 2 in a top restaurant, with wine would be about US $ 60, about a tenth of that in a common locals canteen.

Mt.Ararat in Eastern Turkey. It is where Noah landed the Ark after the Great Flood. The mountain is sacred in Christianity,Islam and Judaism. Though only 53km ( 32mi) distant as the crow flies – to drive is 547 km since the Turkish border has been closed since 1991 -one must circumnavigate through Georgia to get there. At nearly 17,000 feet, 5800m the mountain is snowcapped for eternity.

The Cascade – 672 steps with the 40th Anniversary of Soviet Armenia Monument at the top. TotalAdventure climbed it effortlessly on a 29 C day.

Author of a a favorite childhood book “My Name is Aram.”

Artist and Director Sergei Paradjanov pictured at his home, now a museum.

Paradjanov Artwork.

Paradjanov Artwork.

In may places throughout the city – memorials to soldiers killed in the ongoing war with Azerbaijan.

Russian TV is prominent. TotalAdventure watched Rossiya 24 – like a Russian verion of Fox.

Rossiya 24 previewing things to come. TotalAdventure is self taught to read Cyrillic – very helpful in Russia ,the Balkans ,Mongolia and the post Soviet world in general.

TotalAdventure often hires a car with driver in many countries, in order to film and photograph the countryside. In Armenia that was prohibitively expensive, so I rented a Chevy SUV for $ 35 a day.

The main mission was to visit ancient churches and monasteries. Taking information from an online guide, I pasted the locations in Google Maps on my MacBook Pro and then sent the resulting map to my iPhone. This map – Bluetoothed on my dashboard screen- was my tour guide throughout the next two days of exploration. These features will soon be embedded in our new engine –

All the monasteries are featured in THE VIDEO AT THE TOP.

Mother Stork Is Expecting ! Or perhaps feeding the little ones.

The Soviet bus seems to be a 1950s relic – but it’s from 1987.

Remains of Zvartnots Cathedral.

1300 hrs. Armenia is GMT + 4 – 2 hours ahead of Western Europe and 8 hours ahead of New York.

Poppies – a popular flower in nearby countries.

Interior Cathedral.

Hovhannavank – The Catholicos of Armenia.

A church on a forested mountaintop.

Overlooking Lake Sevan. SEE THE VIDEO AT THE TOP !

St,Gregory – who was imprisoned in complete darkness in a snake pit for 13 years !

Also overlooking Lake Sevan is the Writer’s Hotel. Built around 1960, it is a classic example of Soviet Brutalist architecture.

After years of abandonment, it is now reopening as a hotel – the views are beautiful, the rooms basic, for about $ 35 a night. And writers won’t have to write about the glories of Lenin and Marx.

Final stop to gas up the rental ! The next morning TotalAdventure flew around enemy lines to Baku.