There has been a recent or maybe not so recent trend about traveling. I don’t know how that has come about.. Is it tourism industry working at it’s best? the social media? Is it consequent bandwagon effect? However, it doesn’t seem to harm anyone. Or so I choose to believe.
I never was too keen nor averse to the idea and so when an opportunity presented itself, few friends and I took off.
My first travel experience was the exhausting but truly refreshing 6 days to Armenia.
Armenia is located in the southern region at the border of Europe and Asia. The first bit I differentiated about Armenia from where I stay now and my hometown is how fresh the air was..it felt so good to breathe in fresh air and the smell of soil and green flora. After a drive along the countryside, something that looked like suburbs of Ernakulam, we entered into Yerevan the capital city of Armenia. And the second thing I notice is that there were mostly old model Mercedes all around. Yerevan even though a city easily looked less cluttered than Kochi.
The 5 hotel was not quite the stars it claimed but quiet, clean and pleasant. My room view was not the impressive bit-just few old buildings that represented the ones I and seen in a Russian storybook (of course in English) or can be compared to the old compartment buildings in Bombay.
I believe more than words, the images could justice. Please find them here and there but surely in this blog.
Our guide-Lillet, a very sweet middle-aged woman and I hit off well from the beginning. She did enough justice as an informant to the country’s history and political background. Armenia is the smallest of the former Soviet republics. As we moved to the destination, we were pointed out to the Archaic structures both historical and currently occupied. From majestically beautiful Churches and pagan temples to museums and wineries, a feast to eyes and brain equally. The mountains and landscapes were the best refreshers during the trip to Armenia. Mount Ararat which WAS Armenia’s now Turkey’s is the biggest mountain for them. Its tip is always covered in snow. Wow.
FOOD – again I can fight and claim that it was the most unadulterated produce I have had in last few years taking together Dubai and Kochi. Every meat preparation, be it seafood to chicken to meat, it was fresh, fresh, fresh. Most popular was lamb and seafood. The breakfast was full of exotic (at least for me :)) fresh juices like rosehip, apricots. Then lots of proteins.. They even had horse meat which, ahem I am not a fan of. There were sweet dishes as well for breakfast, clearly a lavish format. They appropriately follow the rule of a filling brekkie to sustain the whole day. At least it did well for tourists, I am sure.
Not much of a shopping scene other than the fresh fruit jams and Chuchkel… I absolutely love it!! it is walnuts coated in grape juice and hung dried… And of course for wine and alcohol lovers, quite the local stuff available.. the Cognac and Oghi ( a clear fruit vodka) are the prominent ones.
Altogether – They are almost like a small town but very self-sufficient filled with hard-working people. I even saw older people working in the evenings. People are happily aloof with the fast moving world out there and the very modern technologies that let them take pictures every minute and show them real-time to their crowd. Armenia is one of the oldest civilizations on earth. It is known to be the first state to have accepted Christianity as it’s official religion. And so evidenced the numerous beautiful Churches and other historic structures that have a place in Bible. Days went fast even if there was no adventure ride or much of a city life to explore. If time permits and one is the kind who gets high on traveling they should try and visit Turkey and Georgia at one shot (west and north of Armenia respectively). All these are bound to give the tourists a shock on how people can live so carefree, fresh, happily yet sufficiently along with the historical beauties that are the main attractions.
I hear Turkey mainly is known for its absolute beauty. Someday! And ill definitely let you know. Peace till then x