Amazing Yerevan and off road driving to Batumi

We woke up quite hungover but ready to head towards Yerevan as the hosts gave us a really heavy and delicious breakfast. The road was quite boring but after some problems orientating back in Tbilisi we soon found the way towards Armenia. We had to wait about 2 hours on the border crossing, the armenian side looked far worse than the newly built georgian border. We first had to buy the armenian visas for about 6 euros each. Later we also had to pay import taxes for the vehicle (about 45 euro) and car insurance.

The first detour we had to take in Armenia

The road towards Yerevan was quite okay and as we were really hungry we stopped next to the road and had one of the most delicious armenain mince meat kebabs. We arrived to Yerevan late at night, the hostel we reserved was full but they arranged us an apartment next door where we could spend the first night. Afterwards we still decided to go for a beer and were pleased with the prices, a beer costs about 1 euro. We immediately liked the city, people were still hanging around nice looking bars and cafes inside the city parks.

The vernissage flea market

The next morning we decided to go to the flea market near our hostel and spent a couple of hours buying gifts to take home, there was a lot of Soviet memorabilia and different hand made items. In the afternoon we took a walk towards the national library, the “50 years of soviet Armenia” monument and the Cascades. The cascades are a nice sight to see and walk up. We had lunch at an Iranain restaurant in the centre. The evening was ment as a night for a party but i needed some sleep as i was catching a cold – but the others had quite a lot of fun.

Overlooking the city at the Cascades

I woke up with much more energy and we decided to head towards the Ararat brandy company. The tour was interesting but we were much more interested in the tasting part of the tour. We met a Slovenian lawyer from Maribor who is traveling in the region. He joined  us for dinner in the evening, at a place he recommended where we had some good and cheap armenian food. The post-dinner beer was nice but my cold still wasn’t over so again i headed for bed once again, the others were not as outgoing as a day before so they came back to the hostel quite soon.

The tasting part of our tour at Ararat brandy company

On the last day we visited the Armenian genocide monument and memorial site. The free tour was interesting and our guide was very informative and convincing. We gave ourselves some time to think about stuff at the memorial site next to the eternal flame as the atmosphere gives you things to think about.

The Armenian genocide memorial site

Soon we were on the way towards Batumi. The border was again hectic and we had to pay a tax to export our car out of the country, which was about 10 euro. We stopped in Tbilisi on the way to say hi at Boombully hostel.

Then began the way towards Batumi. We were assured by our caucasus road map that there is a equally good but shorter route between Tbilisi and Batumi than the one going over Kutaisi. The road was good towards Borjomi but soon there was no more tarmac on the road and we began driving on gravel. We were driving over holes, huge rocks, waterfalls were crossing our way and there were bridges with holes in the middle. We drove 50 kilometers for about 4 hours and crossed a mountain pass on the altitude of 2025 meters. When we arrived back on solid road we soon realized we need sleep so we set camps overlooking the river on the side of the road and had 2 hours of sleep.

Our campsite on the side of the road

After 3 hours of rest we headed towards batumi where we stopped at Globus hostel to say hi, we stayed there when we were first in Batumi. The morale wasn’t very high and our energy levels were critically low so we decided to stay for another night in Batumi. We had some rest and a nice dinner near to the hostel, a couple of beers and we’re off towards Turkey in the morning.

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