Hallo der ute - her er hjemmesiden min!

6th Day in Armenia – Hayastan

So, finally we got to sleep a little longer. The bus wasn’t leaving until 10 a.m. I still got up in time for a long-awaited work-out. Because of excessive intake of fantastic food and drink, I kinda looked pregnant, and figured I needed to take some measures to get the couple of extra pounds off of my body. So, Morten and myself forced ourselves out of bed, put on some training clothes and went for the elevator. Downstairs in the gym, was a not so helpful little lady who told us to wait until opening hours, which would be in ten Armenian minutes. Well, she said in ten minutes and I asked her if they were typical Armenian minutes or maybe American minutes. Since I managed to say this in a kind of Armenian she melted, and grinned and opened the gym right then and there.

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We spent an hour sweating, panting and losing three pounds of meat, chocolate, different salads, 100 pieces of lavash and a couple og bottles of wine and beer before we were ready for a shower and then the rich and nutritious breakfast (nakhadshash) which must have made us regain one of the pounds we just sweated out and left on the floor of the gym.

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At 10 we were ready for a new adventure. Today we were gonna visit Geghard Vank, my favorite monastery, carved into a mountain side and more like a whole complex than a monastery. Definitly on the UNESCO World Heritage List. After Geghard we were going to fantastic Garni Temple, then finally to the eye of Armenia, a hidden gem up in the mountains – Lake Sevan and the Armenian Riviera.

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Geghard Vank, just beautiful, and I couldn’t resist – I had to pretend that I am in command of the duduk so I bought one and got a photo with the usual dudukband in front of the monastery. Lots of beautifully carved khatckhars, lots of stands selling souvenirs and holy bread, and lots of people. It is probably the queen of all monasteries.

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Time definitly flies fast when seeing something beautiful, so even the one tourist who argued that one hour at this monastery would be far too much time, came 15 minutes late for departure of the bus!

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We moved on to Garni Temple, another beauty listed on the same UNESCO list. When I come to think of it, these 10% of the real Armenia which today constitutes the Republic of Armenia ,while we await the return of the remaining at least another 40 %(including Mount rat and Lake Van), might as well be listed on the UNESCO list of World Heritage as a whole. The Entire Republic of Armenia. There are so many diamonds, so much to see. It is a very small package, but it is filled to the edge with interesting spots, places and people. Once I visited Singapore I said to the Passport Officer – well your country is extremely small – not much bigger than my bedroom. I remember she thought I had a great sense of humour, and she answered: Well, Mister Rise, you are not that fat, so you don’t need a bedroom the size of Singapore. Besides that, everything good comes in small packages, and we are so small that it has to be good.”

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Garni Temple is the only remaining Greek style pagan temple in Armenia, and it remains almost untouched and looks like it was constructed yeasterday. A dudukplayer appeared and entertained us with his music, something that made the picture totally complete. After peeing, we went on to lunch in  the nearby village of Garni, where we got to see women baking lavash close -up, and then had a fabolous lunch again. We were all so happy – not drunk – but happy – so that the neighbouring table of disciplined Japanese tourists called for our attention. They too wanted some fun – so I went over and entertained them with the eight or so words of Japanese i remembered. Big hit!

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Final destination of the day – beautiful Lake Sevan, the world’s second highest situated lake, only beaten by Lake Titicaca in the Andes. Lake Sevan is large. It actually makes up 5% of the entire area of the Republic of Armenia, and is a very popular destination for water sports and sunbathing from June to August. This is also where Armenians get their fish, and even som species are endemic to this lake. There are beaches, hotels, shops and restaurants – yes and ferries crossing the lake. If you walk up all the stairs on the small peninsula you get to see the small churches and get a fabulous view of the whole area.

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We left forYerevan and had a nice walk through the city to a cozy restaurant before we had a couple of night cups, Karabakh red wine in a typical Winebar.

 

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