Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Travel Update II: Yerevan, Armenia


Again, apologies for the infrequency of these updates; Blogspot's crazy security policy of demanding that you receive a text message from them everytime that you're out of your hometown. I tried to complain but you're not allowed to send them a direct email; grr...

Since my last update, we've been to another country, That is for sure but what is less certain is which country it is that we went to. My world atlas tells me that it was Azerbaijan but on the ground everyone considers it to be Nagorno-Karabagh. Yes indeed, it's another of those countries that aren't quite countries that I so adore. Two years back it was Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, now it's the Armenian-populated piece of Azerbaijan that doesn't like its rulers and, like with Transnistria, got a little help from Russia in settting up on its own. And the newspapers are all pretending that Crimea + Eastern Ukraine is some sort of new phenomenon, but it's far from the case. That's also most likely the reason why the West won't recognise the place; for some inexplicable reason they just don't trust the Ruskies...

Nagorno-Karabagh Flag

But anyway, Nagorno-Karabagh is very nice. Its name means "Mountainous Black Garden" and it is more than a little mountainous. We visited a fabulous monastery high in the hills called Gandzasar but for me the highlight of the trip was driving past Aghdam, a city of 100,000 souls totally obliterated by the 1994 War of Independence,, every building bar the mosque destroyed and burnt out carcasses of tanks still littering the fields. It was like a scene out of a computer game or Stalingrad film. Eeerie and thought-provoking.


Now we're back in Yerevan, the most beautiful city of the former USSR where we've been spending our time drinking with both the locals, (some cool, football-obsessed lads who could not pass by on the opportunity to speak to a supporter of the world's greatest - and second-oldest - club), and a couple of Czechs whose appetite for travel matches mine and whose appetite for alcohol sadly, exceeds mine by a mile. Must be getting old. Still, at least I wasn't the one whom we had to stop the car for so that he could empty his guts...

Garni Roman Temple

Geghard Cave Monastery

As well as the alcohol, we're still hitting the sights; desolate and haunting Lake Sevan, the Roman temple at Garni and the incredible cave monasteries of Geghard. But that is all for Armenia, tonight we're travelling first class all the way back to Tbilisi. Must be getting bourgeouis as well as old. Damn.

Anyway, to finish off, since it worked well as a cheap ploy to get hits on my blog, here's another picture of some Yerevan girls.

Keep travelling!

Uncle Travelling Matt

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