Day 15 – Armenia


The lights go on. We are 30 minutes away from Yerevan. I did not sleep much, but well. I believe better than my Bulgarian colleague who I saw seated during the night. I need to discover what is there to see in Yerevan, look for an hotel, where I can leave my backpack and a “free” tour.


Yerevan sleeps. Only a few taxi drivers are at the station asking if I need a ride, but they do not insist. The public lights are off, the streets are illuminated by the closed shops lights. It is cold. I walk towards the centre. Some buses go by and leave passengers. In the centre I finally find a “Paul” café open. The prices are tourist prices. I warm up with a coffee and reserve the hotel.

Yeveran morning, without any street lights


After leaving the backpack at the hotel I go to discover the city. It is completely different from Tbilisi. Smaller, much less confusion. Large sidewalks and comfortable. Only the pedestrian lights take very long to change. I go up the “Cascade” via the Contemporary Art Museum. The timetable outside says it opens at 10:00, it is in 4 minutes. I wait and then when I go inside they say there is no exhibition per se, but a set of mechanical stairs and next to it many pieces of art. It is an interesting building. At the “Mother of Armenia” – again a big statue of a woman -, the door downstairs have a sign clearly saying “open”. Inside is the Military Museum. The lady seated at the desk at the entrance turn on the lights for me. The exhibits are about the Armenia-Azerbeijan conflicts. When I go to the other floor, another lady working there follows me at the 2/3 meter distance for the whole circuit. At the end both came to say that the museum is free but accepts donations. I don’t have dirhams, I say. No problem, we accept any currency. I give 5 Lari which I understand will be a direct tip to the ladies.

Yeveran Cascade
Inside the “Cascade”
Mother of Armenia
Little important sign saying “Open”

I walk down to the magnificent Matenadaran Museum, which is also a repository and research institute of ancient manuscripts. Mostly are in Armenian, but many also in other languages and alphabets. I like alphabets and this trip was rich on it.

Manuscript from 1232


I eat in a pizza restaurant with an interesting concept: one chooses on the menu slices of the pizzas one wants and they make a tray with the desired mix. I taste the Armenian red wine, served fresh.

The afternoon I visit the “Vernissage”, kind of souvenirs market, where there is no pressure to buy anything. So far in Armenia no one insists to sell anything to the tourist. I exchange my remaining Laris and then visit the Blue Mosque.

At the supermarket it is possible to fill bottles of beer from tap. Also coffee there is a large ‘vrac’ choice

There are many water points, which is welcoming.


After resting for a while in the hotel, I go visit the old Yeveran neighbourhood. It is on a hill and basically where the poor people now live. There is a try to bring some live and art to the quarter, which is nice.

Kond neighborhood in Yerevan
Kond neighborhood in Yerevan

At the end I try to go to the Ararat brandy museum, but it is only with guided tours. I go for an early dinner instead, with Armenian specialities. There are influences of the middle-east and I manage to have a nice vegetarian choice.

Armenian “Paklava” dessert with Ararat local brandy

I walked already 26km today, says my watch.


I still go to a bar. On the Portwine/Jerez section they listed only a Jerez and a Madeira wine. I tell them while I drink an Ararat brandy with honey.