Peace in the world

I slept pretty well in my bed. actually it wasn’t really my bed since I shared the bed with the grandfather of the family. The bed was big enough for two so I didn’t feel uncomfortable or whatever. The only thing that wasn’t cool was my stomach. I had to wake up in the middle of the night, and find the toilet with my flashlight in their garden. The toilets in the countryside of Armenia remember me of those we had when camping with the local youth organisation.

In the morning I was the last one to wake up. The family life started and I could only look on.

When the first household chores were finished it was time for me to say goodbye. But not without making some family photos.

The father was also just leaving to go to the army and suggested to take me with his car. I was only parked a few hundred meters ahead on the main road but they insisted so after the good byes I left Berdavan in his car.

On my schedule there was again a visit planned to a monastery, but in my guidebook wasn’t really positive about it so I decided to follow the advice of a couchsurfer in Yerevan to visit Lastiver hermitage instead. Lastiver hermitage consists of several rooms carved out of the rock on different levels.

Going south to Ijivan I had to look for a road on the right to Yenokavan. But when I arrived in Ijivan I knew I missed it. I asked a shopkeeper how to reach Yenokavan. A few gestures with his hands were sufficient to show me the correct road. Until now all important places were signposted with their English names. But Yenokvan was written only in Armenian. Yenokavan was 8km further up the road. My guidebook said to park the car in Yenokavan but one of the inhabitants told me I could continue the track by car. I was happy he told me because it was another 4km uphill to reach the horse riding school from where a path goes to Lastiver. After Yenokavan, the road splits. I had no idea what direction to go but I took the left one and apparently that was the good one.

The riding school offers nice accommodation in chalets with beautiful view over the valley and surrounding hills. This is also as far a you can get by car. So I packed everything in my backpack and walked under the wooden bridge into the tight forest. The best is to keep left if there are two paths.

After 45 minutes the path goes down into the valley and brings you finally at a small camping site with tents and wooden tree houses.

The camping site has a few tree houses and also tents available. It was created by three brothers who came often to that place when they were kids. The man on the right in the photo above is Vahagn Tananyan, one of the three brothers. The two others are his friends. We shared the watermelon I brought with me and drank coffee together.

Waterfalls can be found a little up the river next to the camping site.

Meanwhile two other guys arrived at the camping site and the friend of Vahagn guides us finally to Lastiver hermitage. The rooms carved out of the rocks I mentioned earlier. Again, it was good I had my flashlight with me else there is not much to see in a dark room. The first room was the most impressive one, we needed to climb up a vertical tunnel of about two meter long to reach a room equipped with basic kitchen equipment and field beds.

Together with the two guys I walked back to my car and offered them to ride with me to Ijevan where they were staying in a hotel.

Ijevan has a very busy commercial life. Grocery shops are located along the main road together with snackbars and other shops with food. A passenger bridge brought me on the other side of the river on a parallel road where the clothing shops were found.

It was getting late, so I decided to visit one more monastery and find a place to camp near the monastery. I really like the name of this monastery. Goshavank. I arrived there just in time to have a quick look inside before the key holder closed the doors.

The keyholder was acutally a student priest who lived this summer in Gosh where he was responsible for the monastery.

My guidebook mentioned there was a small lake in the forest around Goshavank. The student priest was so kind to walk with me to the start of the path but told me I was a bit crazy to go there so late since it would be dark soon. I told him not to worry and started the second walk for today.

According to my guidebook the lake is home to some of Armenia’s noisiest frogs. I was a bit afraid I would be able to sleep in my tent next to he lake when I saw all the frogs jumping in front of me when I walked around the lake. Luckily they didn’t make so many noise that night and I added another exclusive camping spot in Armenia to my list.

Time is going fast, my sixth day is over. I’m curious what more this country has to offer.