Русская версия On the last day in Yerevan (how we passed other days in Yerevan) we visited the excursion in the brandy factory. At first we were planning to visit “Ararat” factory, but on the way to it checked its branch – “Noah” and found out that visiting it is cheaper than visiting “Ararat” (3500 and 2500 drams with and without tasting against 4500/3000 drams in “Ararat”). That is how we decided to choose “Noah”.
Русская версия The next day after excellent shashlyk with Armenian family Arzni and visiting Gegard, we departed from Yerevan towards the lake Sevan.
Русская версия The best base to see Armenia is Yerevan – it is in the center of the country, with all main roads meeting here. That is what we did: stopped at Yerevan, and travelled around (e.g. to Tatev for two days). This day we departed to see a famous couple of temples: Garni and Geghard, 4 kms far from each other. We started the day with the breakfast in Kavkaz restaurant (82 Hanrapetutyan St): we really liked it the day before, and the breakfast was also great. Finally, its prices do not correspond to the loud title of a restaurant, it is too cheap. From Kavkaz restaurant we reached Massiv-Shuka bazaar by marshrutka nr. 73, and then by marshrutka nr. 284 for 50 mins and 300 drams (“A discount because of so many tourists, usually it costs 500 drams,” a driver explained) straight to Geghard. It is easier to get there first, and to Garni later. The full name of Geghard (40.140393,44.817984 Kotayk, free) — Geghardavank, or the “monastery of spear”. The name is related to the legend, according to which apostle Thaddeus brought here the Holy Spear that had pierced the body of Jesus as he had hung on the cross. Now the spear is kept in Echmiadzin museum in Vagharshapat.
Русская версия The next morning after a day of crazy hitch-hiking and visiting Khor Virap, we woke up in Tatev at around 8. Our host Gocha was already having a guest, local businessman, let’s call him Armen. Armen had been living in Moscow for many years, had done a successful career there, and then came back home to Armenia to develop tourist industry. His Moscow fellows were dissuading him from doing that: look, you have everything here, why would you need to go to this middle of nowhere? But Armen did not listen to them: no Moscow money can buy fresh air, tastiest food (not even in the most expensive Moscow restaurants, he said) and wonderful people. Now Armen deals with reconstructing Armenian historical monuments, building up and looking after cable road “Wings of Tatev”, and teaching locals how to provide touristic service. He was not very successful with the latter, complaining that Armenians are terrible businessmen since they are ready to give everything away for free. Since Gocha was one of his best “disciples”, we met at his place. Armen offered to show Tatev to us, and we happily agreed.