Armenia was not a rest for us!
After we crossed the border we had to go up during two days, first slowly but after more steep. The country is covered by mountains. Even if it was difficult to progress, our efforts were rewarded by impressive landscapes and the cool air which we found in altitude. Since we arrived in Armenia, the weather was hot like a July in central Asia.
There is more than thousands monasteries in Armenia, the country is considered as an open air museum. We saw very few because often we had to climb and make a detour of several kilometers. The most famous we saw is the monastery of Sevan. It’s on the top of the Sevan lake which cover 3% of the area of the country and is located at 1900 meters above sea level. From here, we could reach the Capital Erevan without big efforts.
From the border we saw only austere towns with the same buildings which send back to the communist era. The stores were rare and almost empty. It was difficult to find a snack to taste the local specialities. We were happy to arrive in Erevan even if the temperature was very high. We found a big European city with every commodities. We realized quickly the big social disparity in Armenia. In contrary of the country, here the cars were very luxurious. We have never seen as much as Porsche in the same day!
The Cafesjian museum exhibits a art collection of the entire world and allowed us to discover interesting Armenian artists.
In the capital city, there is an atmosphere of holidays. In the evening, the citizens go out to enjoy the freshness of the fountain show on the main square. They walk in the center to take a drink and listen music.
In our hostel, we met an Iranian guy, Javad with who we took a rendezvous in Tehran. We met also Celeste, a young French boy who enjoy the scholarship Zellidha to discover and learn Armenian music with his violin. We found this scholarship very interesting. It allows young people from 16 to 20 years old to develop a subject while traveling.
Many posters in streets and stickers on cars commemorated the hundred years of the Armenian genocide. This is symbolized by a purple flower of myosotis named “Ameruc” (not forget). Armenian people are still claiming the recognition of the genocide. According to the estimation, between 50 and 70 % of the Armenian people living on ottoman empire were massacred.
Armenian people surprised us by their indifference but some of them invited us to drink a coffee, one time, it was with the safety officer of a tunnel. In the south, the people offered us also many fruits: delicious apples and apricots. Our bags were always full. One day between two passes, we met close to the river Edo and Sedan. We shared with them the lunch and a bottle of vodka. We spent a great time together so we stayed with them the rest of the day and the night. We ate, drank and spoke despite our different languages. The next day, the waking was very hard. We had the bad feeling to lose the control of the situation. We have to learn about this.
In the south, mountains are increasingly hot and steep. Our hardest day was when we had to confront us with a very strong wind during several hours. We couldn’t progress. We hadn’t any choice than to persevere. Our bicycles seemed to be alive, they rear up and stopped as they wanted. Yet, we had simply uncontrollable machines undergoing like us the gusts of the wind.
One day we had chance to be pick up by a post truck which filed us with letters in the next city. The next day, with a last effort we climbed a pass at 2535 m before to go down straight toward the Iranian border. We met Luc, a Belgium cyclist who followed the same road.
We though Armenia would be the continuity of the Georgia but we were a bit disappointed. Contacts with people were poor. We had the feeling to pass through the country only to go forward. Food was not very typical and various. We met in spite of this some very kind people and we saw some magnificent landscapes.
Of course, it is only our point of view, events and meetings make our trip as the feelings which are associated, this can be different for everyone.
This article lacks maybe of general and historical informations about the country. We want just to specify that all we talk about are some informations picked up during our trip.