Hitch hiking Armenia!

Trip Start Apr 07, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Yerevan Hostel
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Armenia  ,
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Balev Armenia!
After a 5 hours bus drive from Tbilisi, we arrive in Yerevan the capital city of Armenia.
We are super excited as we have a new country in front of us to discover - we don't know much about where we wanna go or what we wanna see (as our decision to come here was made the night before) but it doesn't matter, we will find out!
Yerevan is another big surprise - the city center is full of cafes, restaurants, pubs, shops... it is really developed and seems pretty rich and gives a feeling of being in a capital city of Europe.
(we will find out later that Yerevan and the rest of Armenia are 2 different world)
Today is a big celebration day in Armenia so at night the streets are full and really lively - we let ourselves go with the flow and spend the evening out.
We decide to leave already the next day as we are in need of more nature experience (we know we will have to come back to Yerevan).

The next day we catch a mashrutka to Khor Virap, it is a monastery located 100m from the turkish border and where we have the best view on Mount Ararat (at least when it is not cloudy...)
The local transport in Armenia is not as developed as in Georgia (way less mashrutkas) so we decide to get on the highway and hitch hike to the next place.
Our first hitch hike are 2 Turkish men that are travelling from Georgia all the way down to Iran to cross the border back to Turkey (Indeed the borders between Armenia and Turkey are closed).
They will take us for about 2 hours with them, buy us some beers, share a picnic on the road - really nice! thanks to Ahmet and his friend!
We get off at the junction to go up the Noravank Canyon - after almost 1 hour walk we get picked up by 2 armenian women (school directors) that take us up the monastery located in the middle of the red and imposing canyon.
They will take us back and further, even if they are going to the opposite direction - when we find out that they are driving us to our next stop (150 kms away) we order them to stop! :) Thanks a million to Nargyz and Anoush!
We keep on our hitch hike mode and get picked up this time by a minibus driver which is empty until Sisian where we will spend the night.

Next day we are ready for our 3 days trek through the beautiful valley and gorges of South Armenia.
It is raining but we start walking through the villages when a old minibus stops and ask us to get on!
we don't think long and we jump in the bus.
And it is when we meet Mais that will make the rest of our day!
Mais is the delivery bakerman around all the tiny villages here and there deep in the valleys and with not much access to anything.
Mais had already decided that we will go with him around all the villages and keep him company! he speaks to us in russian but we don't understand a word but he keeps on speaking anyway!
hahah what an experience! for more than 3 hours we will visit the most remote villages in the most beautiful part of this part of Armenia and we will help him deliver all kind of breads!
He will stop at his friend's place in one of the villages and invite us for a coffee/tea. There we meet with his friend's family and as always I fall in love with the grandma!
She is awesome!!! So old but so happy! and when she laughs we can see her golden teeth in the bottom of her mouth and on the top only one tooth left!
She starts to sing some german children songs to Max and say all kind of funny sentences she remember in german. She is super talkative and full of energy and makes as well our day!
When Mais finishes his round of deliveries, he drops us off at the bottom of the mountain where we wanna reach our trek and gives us some of his warm and delicious bread. Mais! a thousand spasiba! 
Before we reach the village of Ltsen, we get again picked up by a really old truck that leaves us at the village and from there we start our trek in the mountains, finally :)
After 3 hours of walk in the mountains with amazing views on the whole region, we meet a guy that tells us that we are on the wrong way and have to go back and turn left at some point - ok never mind...
At night we set Homer (our tent) in the wilderness surrounding us. The night in the mountain is so quiet, when we start to hear the birds singing, we know that the sun is rising...
Next day we will walk through the clouds over 2000m until the village of Tatev, famous for his monastery 'hanging' on the cliff.
To go down we decide to treat ourselves and take the longest gondola in the world (more than 5kms long) through the gorges.
we will hitch hike again until the highway and finally got a ride in one of these old ladas cars (there are everywhere here just in different colors).
On the highway, a really slow old truck (maybe from the 50s) picks us up and here we go with Vanyk! - a laughing old man that is worshipping Hilary Clinton and keeps a picture of her above his head.
The truck is so old and heavy loaded that he might be driving 20km/hour - not a matter, we are not in a hurry to arrive to our next destination as we love to be sitting in this high truck.

Next place is Goris, located in the middle of a green valley and surrounded by sand stone formations, a deja vu? yes, kind of the armenian greener version of Cappaddocia :)
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