Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Photos of Armenia

As we drove out of Yerevan (a lovely, cosmopolitan city), I wasn't too impressed with the landscape.  Malawi was much more beautiful.  But then we drove a few more kilometers and the terrain began to change.  Here are more photos of our tour to Khor Virap, Noravank and Areni.

Climbing up to Khor Virap

Denise at Khor Virap.  If she looked straight ahead, she'd be looking at Turkey and Mt. Ararat.  Because of the long-standing issues with Turkey, the border is closed and you can't cross from Armenia to Turkey.

A herd of sheep slowed our drive a bit as we left Khor Virap (about 45 minutes out of Yerevan) to drive to Noravank.  We climbed to a much higher and cooler elevation to Noravank.

It is traditional to release doves at Khor Virap, as Noah did after the flood.  This is believed to be the cradle of all civilization, since only those on the ark survived the flood.

From Khor Virap, facing away from Turkey - looking down on a cemetery.

The terrain began to change as we climbed toward Noravank

Denise and I met in Samoa.  We both lived in northern Arizona.  We agreed that these red rocks reminded us of there.

The weather at Noravank was cool, a bit drizzly and perfect.  The setting is remarkably peaceful and beautiful.

A few rain drops didn't put a damper on  our enjoyment of the beauty of the place.

The great thing about travel is the opportunity to meet amazing people and make  friends who get your passion for experiencing the world.

Photos don't do justice to the panorama.

Yeah, it's a monastary, but where tourists go, Coke and vending machines are sure to be there.

We stopped for lunch on our way back towards the winery at Areni.  Traditional (and delicious) Armenian food.  Beef shish kebab, grilled potato slices, cucumber/tomato salad (I've never tasted sweeter tomatoes than in Armenia).  You can barely see the slices of fresh cheese that you put with the fresh herbs on lavash bread for a wonderful treat.  The herbs included tarragon, basil, dill and something I didn't recognize.  Lunch, which included water (still or gas) and tea or coffee, was less than $7.  That's at a touristy tour bus restaurant.  Lunch was served open air, next to a river.

The world is a beautiful place.  This is in Areni.

After the 8 hour tour, Denise went to yoga and Otis and I strolled a few blocks from their apartment to Republic Square to watch the nightly fountain display and listen to the music.  Note that it's just getting dark.  It was 8:45 p.m.

Lots of people (most seeming to be locals) enjoyed the beautiful evening along with us.  I predict that Yerevan is going to be the next hot tourist destination, with prices rising dramatically.

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