After 3 months of Islamic countries we enter Armenia. A smooth border crossing. No checks of the car and most of the time we spend at the border is because we see a water hose at the checkpoint. and fill up our watertank together with the nice soldier who immediately helps us.
From the Islamic world to the former Soviet Union
With entering Armenia, the cloth regulations of the women change as well. The head scarfs and completely covered outfits are now replaced for shorts and tight sweaters. After 3 months of traveling through Islamic countries this is so weird to see. Suus also puts her headscarf in the closet and we drive off to the first supermarket to store wine and beer. First wine again and it was delicious!
It’s very clear that we are in a former Soviet country. The supermarkets have more vodka than water available and during our first days we see many old Russian vehicles and buildings (especially the bus shelters are very typical). Also the transition from incredible hospitality in the Islamic countries to a more grumpy first impression. It ia such a switch in culture that we really have to adjust a couple of day’s. We realize that we are spoiled by the middle east and especially Iran in terms of hospitality.
Driving through Borat land
We drive a mountain road to Tatev. A road with gravel and the occasionally a bit of asphalt. As soon as we leave the main roads in Armenia, the roads brings us back to Africa, same quality, same unexpectedness. We drive through little village where time stood still. There are several old buildings, pigs are walking everywhere and the gray rainy weather is the finishing though. We have just entered the scenery out of the film Borat. In Tatev the rains have turned the little village in a huge sliding village. the lack of asphalt makes exploring this little village a challenging muddy trip. We camp next to a restaurant where we are treated by the owner to delicious fresh salmon and Ararat Cognac. The next day it clears up and we have a top view of the monastery.
Relax with Dutch coffee and speculaas!
After Tatev we drive through the vineyards in the direction of Gori where we visit a little paradise of the Bed and Breakfast with camping the 3G’s from two Dutch people (Marty and Sandra). They work in roses and have always worked in the area where Suus grew up (how small can the world be!) It is so cozy and relaxed at the campsite that we end up staying for a few days. We are incredibly spoiled with Dutch coffee, speculaas and cheese! When we do leave our exhaust brakes in the capital Yerevan, so we turn around to have it made in the Gori. Back at the campsite, there appears to be a German couple who are traveling to Asia with the same car and we run into a Spanish couple in a van who also follow us to the campsite. In short, leaving this lovely and cozy place was a big challenge!
From Armenia to the border with Georgia
The green landscape is a huge contrast with the countries in the middle east. The dates, peaches and watermelons are replaced by blackberries, grapes, figs and walnuts. So nice to experience all the difference of the seasonal vegetables and fruit in all the places we go. We are curious what we will encounter further north.
After two weeks of Armenia we drive the road through the mountains towards the border with Georgia. Here too large pieces of the road are under construction so we end up in a village where we find a nice wild camping spot. A crazy night were we are keeping awake by the mice that are walking back and forward over the roof of our car! Many people who we met have told us about the nature of Georgia. We can’t wait to explore it ourselves. On to Georgia!