Armenian hospitality

After breakfast in Debed Hotel and another warm shower, I crossed the big square in front of the hotel and took a street going between two rows of rundown soviet flats. Not much later I found what I was looking for: a sign showing the direction to Sanahin Monastery.

Once arrived at the monastery, it was obvious that this place is more popular among the few tourists in Armenia. Two small buses with tourists just arrived at the same time as I did. Due to the popularity, locals take place every day on the stairs towards the entrance of the site to sell souvenirs. Sanahin Monastery was the first Armenian Unesco World Heritage site I visited.

From Sanahin I could see my next stop for today. Haghpat Monastery. I returned back to Alaverdi where I put my backpack in the car and descend into the valley again. A few kilometers further on the main road along the river I took the turn right to drive the hill up to Haghpat Monastery.

Haghpat is a really nice little village and the monastery site is also more beautiful – especially the location – than Sanahin Monastery. Haghpat Monastery is also on the Unesco Word Heritage list.

I don’t think I still need to tell that Armenia has a lot of Monasteries? Well, there are many more and for this day I still wanted to see one more. Akhtala Monastery.

About halfway the road to Akhtala, you can see the monastery build on a huge rock on the other side of the valley. Here I stopped the car to offer a ride to a man standing on the road. He declined, when I got out the car to make a photo of the view he told me to wait for him. He went to a small shed in the field from where he brought three shiny stones for me. Alaverdi is known for its copper mining industry, so those are stone with copper in it.

It’s was still in the early afternoon but the dayly schedule was completed. Back on the road I continued going up north until I was only a few kilometers from the border with Georgia. The main road makes a big turn to go south via Noyemberyan, Ijevan and Dilijan to Sevan.

I still don’t know why I choose to stop in Berdavan. A little town before Noyemberyan. There is nothing to attract tourists. But still, when I passed the small town. I parked the car over and took everything I might need in my backpack with me. Of course people where looking at me. They know every single person who comes in their town. Except me.

Not even 5 minutes later, I was sitting in a garden of a family. Drinking coffee and eating the Belgian cookies I brought. Again, the language barrier was a bit a problem. But they didn’t mind and even offered me to stay for dinner and sleep there that night. I was more than happy to accept there offer.

Before the dinner I still walked down their street in the town and met some other people.

People live different here. Being used to all the luxury we know, it’s a big shock. I don’t say the people are poor or are unhappy. I honestly don’t know. But I do know their hospitality is something that cannot be found here.

Dinner was a vegatable mix accompagnied with a few toasts of homemade tequila. There was also Armenian icecream for dessert. I don’t want Italian icecream anymore. Armenian icecream is the icecream I want!

Time to go to bed now. A day not to go forget. Goodnight!