My second day in Armenia officially started with a complimentary breakfast from Europe Hotel. This hotel serves decent amount of delicious breads, pastries, fruits, eggs, hams, and other food items for breakfast. Of course, as a caffeine-dependent person, coffee should not be missed!
Johann with his Armenian brother, Hayk, picked me up at my hotel at 10am. We then descent to the Filipino couple’s hotel (they stayed at Doubletree by Hilton) whom I met at the airport. We continued our journey and after half hour, we arrived to our first destination.
Our first stop is a view point of Mt. Ararat. In the Bible, it is said that Mt. Ararat is where the Noah’s ark has landed after God flooded the earth. Unfortunately, Mt. Ararat was very shy that day and all we can see were sea of clouds. However, this view point is still very beautiful even the without the sight of Mt. Ararat.
Our next stop is Geghard monastery but due to natural beauty en route to this place, we could not help but ask Johann to park at a random area and take some pictures. Here’s some of the pictures that we took..
This monastery was founded in 4th century by St. Gregory The Illuminator and is now listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It looks like it is patterned out of the rocks and cliffs that surrounds it. What I really love in this monastery are the surrounding trees that bears flowers. These looks like cherry blossoms and somehow it feels like you are in Japan 🙂
Temple of Garni
This is one of my favorite sites in Armenia and this is just minutes away from the Geghard Monastery. So if you are planning to visit Geghard Monastery, make sure you to include this in your itinerary. The temple has an entrance fee of 1,500 AMD or 3 USD and it is all worth it considering that it is well preserved and maintaned. Before Armenians embraced Christianity as their official religion, they were once pagans; thus, they built this temple in the first century to the sun god Mihir. I really love this place and not too many tourists are coming here (in Armenia generally). You can have the place to yourselves for picture taking and relaxation as well.
Since we love and was looking forward to see and experience snow, Johann took us to Tsagkhadzor Ropeway and paid an entrance fee of 2,000 AMD or 4 USD. Me, Ate Maria and Kuya Abdul were like little kids when they said that we can only get to the activity area by riding through a cable car. Unfortunately, in the middle of the our ride, it started to drizzle and the wind was very cold. Our outfits were made for the cold but our bodies were made not for the winter. When we got to the top, we just spent five (5) minutes for picture taking and immediately went down to warm our bodies. It was a brief exposure of the winter wind but still we had fun.
We had our late lunch in one of the restaurants in Lake Sevan and due to hunger, I forgot to take pictures of our food (lol)! We ate fish which is a catch from the lake, vegetables, mixed grills, and more cilantro! Seriously, Armenians love cilantro and I can’t blame they why. It gave some refreshment to your pallet specially if your eating some meat. When we asked for the bill, Ate Maria and Kuya Abdul decided to pay for our lunch and wouldn’t accept our share – they were so very generous and kind. I was very lucky and blessed to meet them.
After we had our lunch, Johann took us to Sevanavank Monastery which is located at the southern peninsula of Lake Sevan. There are two churches in the peninsula which are all built in 874 AD while being under the Arab rule. You have to use the 200-step stairs to get to the these monasteries. The view when you get to the top is very SPECTACULAR! I feel so blessed that God gave me the opportunity to see and experience this beautiful place. Really, it was very magical.
After a full day of travel, we went back to Yerevan and went to our last stop, the statue of Mother Armenia. This symbolizes peace through strength of the Armenians. It is located on a hill overlooking Yerevan.
We ended our tour at 7PM. We wanted to have dinner together as group but we were very tired that we opt to go our own hotels to get our some long sleep..
Something about St. Gregory, wines, being drunk, and good laugh!