Waking up in a tent in the nature always give me a great feeling. It’s a kick-start of the day. Once out of the tent I quickly packed the tent and all my stuff in my backpack and started walking back to Gosh village. Since it was mostly going down, I arrived there quickly. I had the chance to see Goshavank again but this time with the sun on the other side. Just when I wanted to enter my car, the student priest, who I had met yesterday, noticed me from his balcony. I was happy to tell him I survived the night in the forest without any trouble.
Gosh village is located very close to the edge of Dilijan Natiaonal Park, so I wanted to have at least a small teaser of this park. I found out in my guidebook there is a nice walk to Aghavnavank monastery which lays in Dilijan National Park. The walk starts in the village of Aghavnavank about 8km further from Gosh village.
It was a challenge to reach the barrier of the park by car. It’s a narrow path over rocks and a small stream as to be driven along. But after a while the gate of the park rose in front of me. To access the park by car you need to get the key from one of the villagers but on foot you can easily go through the fence.
It’s a lovely 1 hour walk along a small stream. Walking here feels like meditating. Sound of the water, the unfamiliar bird sounds and the cool air that flows through the forest only make this feeling stronger.
The monastery itself isn’t very impressive but I ‘ll remember the walk.
On my way back I met a woman and her granddaughter. They just brought there animals in the park and were going home now. It wasn’t a surprise anymore they invited me to have coffee at their house in the village. So I walked with them back to their house. I only saw one room of there house. But it was clear they are completely self-sufficient. I could see tools to make butter and cheese, a pile of wool and through the window I saw beehives. Once seated, I was offered a full breakfast. Homemade bread, cheese, butter, an omelet with tomatoes, honey, and some more vegetables. Of course there was also homemade cognac.
I felt a bit guilty I had to leave so fast after eating they gave me that breakfast. Sometimes I just wanted to stop the clock.
But I had to move on. I wanted to reach Lake Sevan, drive all the way south along the lake to Martuni.
The lake is enormous. It covers almost 5% of Armenia’s entire area. While driving along the lake you have absolutely no idea that the lake’s altitude is in fact 1900 meter above sea level!
Since the lake can be easily reached from Yerevan, tourists could be found here too. Of course still not so many as you would find in other popular countries but it’s a big contrast with the places I visited the last few days.
My first, and only, stop around lake Sevan was Sevanavank. It’s a monastic complex that was originally built on a small island in Lake Sevan but after the artificial draining of Lake Sevan, the water level fell about 20 metres, and the island transformed into a peninsula.
Back in my car I would continue the road south from Sevan to Martuni visiting several sites on the way. But when I was driving for half hour without seeing the lake I stopped the car to see on the map where I was driving. I though the road would be obvious just next to the lake but apparently, I wasn’t focussed when leaving Sevan and was halfway on the highway to Yerevan.
There were two options. Turn my car and drive at least half hour back to Sevan and take the correct road or continue to Yerevan and completely change my schedule for the next week. I choose for the second option and called Anush to tell her I would be there in less than an hour.
I would meet Anush in her office and I promessed to bring some ice cream with me. I used my phrase book to find and order ice cream. But while looking for the ice cream I became disoriented and couldn’t find the office of Anush anymore. Even with instructions of Anush on the phone I couldn’t find the correct building. Meanwhile our ice creams were melting… Anush finally came out on the street to come and find me and the ice creams.
While she finished her jobs for the day, I rescheduled my weekend and my next week in Armenia. I was going to stay this weekend in Yerevan and visit some sites from here. So I called some couchsurfers to see if they could host me tonight and/or tomorrow night. Ani, a couchsurfer who offered to host me before, replied she could host me on Saturday night. Meanwhile I found a room for tonight in a Armenia Hostel for only 4000AMD (8 euro).
When Anush finished her work, we dropped my luggage in my hostel and went for pancakes with fresh lemonades. It was good to see a familiar face again and to know I would sleep in a good bed that night.
That was my seventh day in Armenia. I was back in Yerevan where my journey started and I can already say this trip is so much more than I could ever imagine it would be.