After the wedding party yesterday, I visited some great places on the second day during my stay in Armenia, 2014. Have you actually visited some great sites in Armenia? What is your most recommended place to visit from your experience?
So, on the second day, I left my wife’s parents’ place in Armenia with my brother in law and his wife around 9am to meet a friend of mine who is working in a travel company. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day and forecasted to be rainy later. Also, it was a bit cold.
We arrived at Khachaturian statue located in front of the opera house in Yerevan at 9:30am and met my friend there. Maybe it was due to morning or because the season was approaching to winter season (late October), there were few people walking on the street.
Then, we went to my friend’s office and waited for another staff to join us. The staff turned to be actually our guide on that day. She sounded very nice and professional as a tourist guide. After she came to the office, we finally started the tour by car.
It was almost 2 years since I had had a tour in Armenia in 2012 when I visited there with my father. The moment we were driving on the street which came out of the town of Yerevan, I felt kind of nostalgic. The land around us already became brown as almost all trees and grasses turned to be brown, which was a sign that winter is coming soon.
The first place we visited was a small town called “Ashtarak”. Actually, I became a fan of this town and personally thought it was more attractive than Yerevan because there are a lot more trees and it showed a more real Armenia which is less influenced with Soviet style/culture. In the town, we went to several churches (I forgot their names so please only enjoy by looking at the photos). After the churches, we took a walk to explore the town on foot. The narrow ways between houses were really different from the atmosphere of Yerevan, giving me the impression that it was something very warm.
Then, we visited Byurakan, an observatory located in Aragatsotn. The observatory has been used by astronomers locally and even from other countries too. Actually, the observatory itself may be not very interesting for most of tourists unless you are very enthusiastic to astronomy. Yet, the land around it is spectacular. So, I enjoyed walking in the field of the observatory with our companions but felt so boring especially while I was being given a lecture about stars and the history of observatory especially because most of the information was something I had already encountered on TV in Japan.
After we almost spent 2 hours there (it was killing me! Unfortunately…), we headed to a restaurant located in Mt. Aragats for lunch. We drove the car along the carved rocky road leading to the top of the mountain. On the way to the top of the mountain, we came across magnificently solemn views in which I felt the greatness of the nature. Cloud was being generated as we moved forward on the street and chased after us becoming larger and larger. The view was so amazing and powerful that I would not be able to see the same scenery in my life again. (You can see it in the photos below).
However, actually, when we climbed up the mountain to a certain level. We found out that the road started to be covered by the ice so that it would be too risky to move forward on the way. When I went out the door, I felt so freezing actually. It was maybe under 0 degree outside. So, unluckily we decided to go back to descend the mountain as we all did not want to die on the day! As a result, I could not try Hash (an Armenian soup usually eaten in the winter to warm up) although it was my favorite dish in Armenia.
We then headed to Amberd which is a fortress of Armenia that shows how powerful and strong Armenia was in ancient time. The way to Amber was very mountainous where there are lots of up and down with lots of curves. But after the way, Amberd came into my site standing powerful even in distance.
I realized that Amberd is really huge in size when I arrived in front of the structure. It is all made of huge stones. Many parts of the structure were destroyed but this condition seemed to strengthen the impression of fantasy (it is really one of the structures which you may imagine in the story of fantasy). It was almost 3pm when we reached there but did not have lunch yet. So, we decided to take a short excursion in Amberd (Amberd consists of relatively large area and slope at high sea level so that it is tiring actually to explore all of Amberd) and then have lunch later in one of the small shops at the site.
The lunch we ate was very simple one which was made with baked potato and salad. So, it was not something we really could enjoy the taste but we anyway could take a rest and gained some more energy to continue our trip.
By driving a car for another 30-40 minutes, then we arrived at the site of Armenian letters which is a place most tourists would be taken to especially they visited Armenia for the first time.
Then, we went to Saghmosavank. It started to rain a little bit when we got there and it became much colder. Saghmosavank was put on the list of my favorite places when I saw it in my eyes. What was astonishing was the combination between the monastery and the nature and landscape around there. The landscape is very harsh with very deep and steep cliff which seems very dangerous really if you try to reach the edge of it. In addition, on the other side of the cliff can be seen a mountain. These combination make the site really worth visiting showing the power and beauty of the Armenian nature with its history.
We left the place around 6pm and arrived in Yerevan at 7pm on that day. We dismissed and my brother in law left for home with his wife while I stayed in the city to see the members of ArMania to take them to a Japanese restaurant to let them taste the dishes. We had very good time for dinner of course.
It was very long day in the end with many things I newly discovered in Armenia. You can enjoy some photos from the day below. I really recommend you to visit some of the places I visited this time.