First steps in Armenia: Yerevan & Gyumri
After 4 full weeks in Georgia, we decided that it was time to move on. So we chose Armenia to spend the next three weeks. Since the beginning of our trip, we’ve been traveling all around that country. In Ani, we even saw the border a few hundred meters from us. Now we could at least find out how Armenia looks like.
The arrival in Yerevan was rather surprising. The center is full of green parks, has some pedestrian street and plenty of fancy shops and cafes. Along all the Caucasian cities we visited so far, Yerevan is the one which reminds us the most of European capitals.
On our second day, we met Vako. He is a local who likes to share his knowledge of the city by offering free walking tours (highly recommended). During our five days in Yerevan, we stumbled on him twice. Yerevan is not so big after all. On those days we saw other faces of Yerevan, from the old soviet amusement park to the alternative Aeon’s cafe.
After Yerevan, we went on a tour in the country. In order to simplify the planning, we took the suggested itinerary from the Bradt guide and followed it by the letter. We rented a small Nissan Micra and started from there. The first stop (covered in this episode) was Gyumri. We spent the night in a very nice B&B owned by Armine and her husband. It was such a treat for us: Coffee and Choux à la crème on our arrival, followed by a traditional homemade dinner with her husband and her. And, in the morning, we got again a table full of delicious food for the breakfast. At that point we realized that our decision to stay only in homestays or B&B for the rest of our Armenian tour was a very good one. Although we may take some weight in the process…
we did specifically enjoy:
- The free walking tour of Yerevan offered by Vako. A really nice introduction to the country and the city.
- The children railways. A remain of the soviet time (1937) that was used to taught kids and teenagers how to operate trains.
- Looking at hundreds of persons performing traditional Armenian dances at the cascade. They do that every last Friday of the month and everyone is welcome to participate.
- The genocide memorial and museum. A must see if you want to understand Armenia.
- Yerevan hostel. So far the cheapest place we stayed at (24 CHF a night)… and we got what we payed for: a tiny room without windows and a bulk bed. Magali was sleeping on the bed below. Her biggest fear was to have the upper bed falling on her when Daniel was moving. Please note here that this is because of the few old pieces of wood that were supporting the bed and not because of Daniel weight.
- Armine B&B in Gyumri. Such a lovely place, highly recommended!
- The Black Angus burger bar. Our favorite. But don’t tell that to Armenian people since they don’t serve Armenian food.
- The Baguette french bakery. Taste very good. But don’t tell that to Armenian people since they don’t serve Armenian food.
- Pizza Toria, an Italian place. The pizzas were almost as good as in Italy. But don’t tell that to Armenian people since they don’t serve Armenian food.
- Armine B&B. Armine prepared us a real Armenian supper. Now we can say that we like Armenian cuisine! (after 5 days in the country).
best kept secret tip
(Daniel only) Every Monday you can watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones at the Aeon’s anti cafe, a place full of board games, books and nice english speaking people.