For Spring Break this year (2004), we headed to Armenia.We had a great time! We traveled with our friends Maureen and Debbie. We visited Maureen's friend John, who is working for US Aid in Armenia. Mike, an ex-CAC teacher who is now teaching in Spain, also met us there.

We were lured to Armenia because we knew so little about it. We had to look on the map to find it (between Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran) and had a tough time finding the one guide book currently published for it (Bradt travel series).

Armenia was part of the old Soviet Union, and has been having a tough time since that country disintegrated 15 years ago. Many of it's 3.5 million citizens have immigrated and most of the rest have stopped reproducing. The country side is littered with huge, broken down factories. Otherwise, however, the country side is beautiful; 80% of the country is covered by mountains. The capital, Yerevan, has excellent views of Mt Ararat of Noah's Ark fame.

Outside Yerevan, hotels and restaurants were few and far between. We stayed mostly in "home stays". Other than the landscape, the major attractions of Armenia are hundreds of very old monasteries. Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as a state religion (around 300AD), so many of it's churches are very old indeed.

Robyn with Zora at the monastery of Haghartsin. Zora was the owner of a homestay we stayed at in the old Soviet resort town of Dilijan.We went to Dilijan to do some hiking in the surrounding forested hills.

Robyn, Maureen, Mike and John in the expat bar of "Cheers" in Yerevan.

Mt Ararat.

Sometimes there's not much to do except have a nip or two of Vodka!


On a day trip out of Yerevan, we stop to admire Mt Ararat.

Part of the monastery of Gerhard.

The monastery of Goshavank.

Our "Home Stay" in Yerevan. We shared a bathroom with the owner and a boarder. The bathroom only had water 4 hours a day. The refrigerator was in our room, so the owner had to come into our room all the time. For $7 a night, I guess you can't complain!

We ran with the small Yerevan H3 group. They were a fun bunch!

Climbing some narrow steps at the monastery of Nordevank.

June 9, 2004
Keir Paesel