I just have three days to cross the country, I want to spend three weeks in Iran and my Iranian visa gives me 24 days, doing a proper visit to Armenia will have to be done some other time. I’ve done a simplified list of what I want to see: Yerevan, Ararat mountain and one of the monasteries on a mountain cliff.

I start in Yerevan, seems that I go from capital to capital. It’s not bad, but not too interesting, could be a good place to live for a while but not to visit, I’m not very excited.

P8200729 Armenia - Yerevan

It’s flag. Here the buildings are done in grand style with rows of columns and huge arches.

P8200738 Armenia - Yerevan

I buy from a man with a lot of golden teeth the coolest ice-cream, I don’t feel like eating it at all but had to try it and take a picture with it, in the back a Lada car.

P8210750 Armenia - Yerevan

A bible in a hotel is something that doesn’t surprise anyone, but in a hostel a bible per bed is something that everybody in the hostel was surprised about. It’s one of the most Christian countries in the world, there are lots of churches and crosses everywhere, the drivers cross themselves every minute, Christianity came in the year 40 and stayed.

P8200748 Armenia - Yerevan

Different from the Georgia, and nearly as alien, this alphabet was invented by Mesrop Mashtots in 405 AD. I’m in the market, smells fruit and bread.

P8210759 Armenia - Yerevan

Soviet memories, some yearn for it, during two days in Yerevan I’ve felt how this missing feeling is still alive. Mendeleev, the Russian president, has come for a visit and the city has taken to it. Never in any place have I seen so many police in the street, every 30 meters there was a police car making sure all was in order, shouting over the speakers for parked cars to move. The places for the visit were surrounded by police and hundreds of Russian flags decorated the city.

P8210751 Armenia - Yerevan

The English poet Byron said: “There is no other land in the world so full of wonders as the land of Armenians”. He obviously said that before this street was built, an attempt at doing a luxurious fifth avenue with Armani shop included. The flats aren’t less than a million Euro. It could be a Gotham recreation, Batman’s city. In a country full of needs having destroy a neighbourhood of old houses to build houses for Armenian emigrants that come here a week a year doesn’t makes sense to me.

P8220786 Armenia - Yerevan

I have a collection of signals of “High voltage. Dead danger”.

As tomorrow I cross to Iran and there alcohol is prohibited, I go for a beer with Ferran, the Spanish guy I met in Tbilisi the other day, I’ve met him here again.

Next day I wake up early, before leaving I want to get money out of the cash machine. In Iran foreign credit cards dont work, so I need to have enough money. I already have, but want some extra 400 euros just in case. I get dizzy, I try to get money out of the ATMs and it’s like it does not recognize my credit cards. My backpack is heavy, it was supposed to be easy, getting money on the way to the bus, I had taken money with no problems the day I arrived.
I look for a place they call my bank, they say the cards are supposed to be fine but they have no record of me having put it in an ATM. Maybe they be de-magnet? That’s bad! Finally, with no faith, I try to get money out of another ATM and it works. I get my money, change it to dollars and go to search for the bus. It’s late, I don’t think now I’ll have time to arrive in Iran, I’m hungry, I’m sweaty and kind of in a bad mood.

I wait to see if the taxi fills up, to kill time I play Backgammon in the cell phone, I loose three games 5-0, diabolic machine, so much technology for nothing, it could realize I’m a bit down and let me win.

P8210760 Armenia - Yerevan

I ask the taxi driver to stop for a moment, I want to enjoy the view. We go near where the oldest shoe has been found a few months ago, In case you didn’t heard about it here you have a link. These are lands where at the time had some of the most advanced civilizations and part of the progress and invention have continued to our times.

P8210765 Armenia - Yerevan

Finally I see the Ararat mountain at 5165 meters, a symbol of Armenia. It’s said that Noah’s arch got suck here after the flood, Genesis says it. In clear days you can see it form Yerevan but I had to wait to go south to see it. I was dying to see it.

Werner, a Belgian guy I met in Sarajevo told me that the view was better from Armenia than from Turkey, I like this volcanic panorama. It’s a bit strange that such a sacred symbol for Armenias is in the country next to it, moreover because the border is closed, but history is like this, seems that Stalin divided Armenia in a few pieces and Armenia lost quite a lot of it’s former territory with Ararat mountain becoming Turkish. Ani the old Armenian capital is in turkey as well but this was lost nearly 10 centuries ago.

It’s a country with a complicated situation, Turkey doesn’t want to open the border on the west and in the east, the border with Azerbaijan is also closed. The independence of Nagorno Karabah caused a bloody war. If we change the names of the leaders and ethnics, history is repeated from what I found in the Balkans.

P8210782 Armenia - Yerevan

My taxi companion, kind of cocky, they were offering vodka to the driver on the left.

P8210781 Armenia - Yerevan

A drink they have, It’s like Bitter Kas, but it’s not bitter, it’s very sweet and the color is different, conclusion, it has nothing to do with Bitter Kas.

P8220793 Armenia - Yerevan

Fence on the border.

P8220797 Armenia - Yerevan

I spend the last day at a mountain pass in the pass way of the Marshrutka, with my backpack as a seat. When I arrive I take a self-portrait.

The ambiance is sordid, the landscape arid, the ground dirty, the fence spiky, the taxi drivers are bored from not having clients. I change some money and cross walking this no mans land, I cross the Aras river bridge that divides the Caucasus from the Middle East.

As you see I haven’t seen much, from my list of three things the monastery is left but as I’m so eager to cross to Iran I don’t mind. I have to move, again I get into the axis of evil.

See you soon.

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