Armenia: Brandy and Mystical Landscapes
June 14, 2014 - June 21, 2014
We'll get to know Armenia first via its sumptuous food, cooked with ample fruit and nuts, and of course visit some of the famous brandy factories. We'll do one road trip and stay for two nights in the wine country with amazing mountain views, and visit several awe-inspiring historical sites, including the "Armenian Stonehenge" and Tatev Monastery. Back in Yerevan, we'll make the most of its arts and bar scene, and of course, indulge in a bit of Soviet nostalgia.
Included in the price: Airport Transportation, Accommodation and Breakfasts at the Hotels, Tour Leading and 1001Worlds Services. (The price is based on two people in a twin room. If you’d like a single room, let us know and we can organize it for you for extra fee. Couples can of course request a double room.)
Not included: Plane Ticket, Mandatory Travel Insurance, Meals and Activities.
I love Armenia. It came as a total surprise. I didn’t have much idea what to expect, except for friends raving about it. It never was clear why, till I went. The country is dotted with breathtakingly beautiful ancient sites: cave villages, churches seemingly lost in the middle of nowhere high in the mountains, old caravanserais, bizarre graveyards, insane nature and as most fascinating site Karahunj, an old stone observatory where we had a magic sunset with the group. Also Yerevan is a real surprise. At first it looks a bit post-soviet with not much to see, but it unfolds itself step by step. There is no lack of art galleries and museums, great eateries and a brandy factory, called Ararat, according to their holy mountain that dominates the city.
I could totally talk about its beautiful scenery, the great hospitality or simple every sight we went to, but no! In my memories there will be things in a different order. Like starting the mornings with Armenian coffee (don’t ever dare to say Turkish coffee! That is a very simple rule u learn fast and stick to! Even though one might not get the difference). Eating as much meat as i have never eaten before in one week and loving it. Having ice coffee in the sweetest little cafe, looking like a doll house, in Yerevan. Visiting a most interesting artist in his own studio. I clearly can say I'm done for life, visiting monasteries. But for the scenery i would do it again. And: Danny and I discovered the first and only (officially not existing ) lesbians nuns, dressed in a light blue gown. Of course they disappeared on us, once we started following them.
And this might be a bit of an insider, which you will only understand once you have been there and what always put a smile on our faces: Armenia is the country were basically everything was invented or founded first, like the astrological calendar, seriously!, and they have the biggest, the longest, the best, the widest, the only real... (... you can fill in the blanks with everything you come across).
Above all, the queer/queer friendly group made this a unique experience.
To wrap it up, its a country to discover...
Armenia My Love
I was with 1001 Worlds in Armenia and it wasn't a typical group tour that we're used to. I was able to see all of the top sites, eat at the best possible restaurants and enjoy the best clubs in the country with an intimate group and also do anything I wanted by myself. It was a totally customizable tour for your needs. After the trip, while checking the GPS coordinations of my camera on the map, I've noticed that we've been almost every corner of Armenia, something I wouldn't be able to do myself. I'm grateful and looking forward to your future trips.
A magic trip to Caucasus
SAT Day 1
Arrival in Yerevan. We'll start with a night tour of the city, giving you the first sense of this city on the crossroads of cultures. We'll get you right in the mood with a khorovats, a traditional Armenian BBQ, and afterwards, those who have the energy, can try out some of the fun bars and check out the tunes of an Armenian DJ.
SUN Day 2
Ready for some USSR nostalgia? After a copious traditional brunch, we'll have a Soviet tour of the city, in an old style bus together with your new comrades. Unlike some of its neighbors, Armenia has always maintained strong ties to Moscow, and this shows in surprising ways. We might also hop into a church, one of the thousands that are dotted around this very devoted country. In the evening, we'll meet up with local artists in Yerevan's thriving arts scene and go listen to music at one of the excellent jazz clubs.
MON Day 3
Time for a road trip south to the Vayots Dzor province, Armenia’s wine country, and home to its most dramatic mountain views and historical sites. We visit the newly opened Zorah boutique winery and explore the nearby cave complex that hosts traces of a winery that’s 6000 years old. No kidding. We'll make sure to hit the lovely Noravank monastery before sun goes down. In the evening, we'll have a regional meal in our hotel paired with local wines.
TUE Day 4
Today we drive even further South to Goris, known for its gingerbread houses, and visit the dramatically placed Tatev Monastery. On the way back, we’ll marvel at the petroglyphs of Mount Mets Ishkanasar and have a lovely sunset on Karahunj, the Armenian Stonehenge, yet another enigma in this mysterious mountain landscape.
WED Day 5
We'll leave the wine country and visit an ancient caravanserai, a Silk Route rest stop, on the way to Lake Sevan, while taking in the dramatic scenery. Once on the lake, we'll have a fancy picnic, and you’ll get a chance to swim, sunbathe or sail if you like. In the evening, we'll head back to Yerevan, back to the joys of city life and perhaps some live music.
THU Day 6
Today is dedicated to brandy and culture. We’ll start with the house museum of the artist and film director Serjej Parajanov, and afterwards visit the two nearby brandy factories. After inhaling the “angel haze,” as the brandy evaporating from the oak barrels is called, you can choose to visit the Geghard Monastery, a UNESCO site. If you want to get away from it all, we can organize an encounter with the nomadic Yezdies at the edge of Mount Aragats. Or you can just opt to wander around the city people watching.
FRI Day 7
We’ll start our last full day at one of the crafts markets, and visit the nearby Contemporary Arts Center. After that, you can choose to take a cooking class by one of Yerevan's specialists in traditional foods. If you’re a foodie, this class is a must. Evening is reserved, before our final dinner together, for more shopping or people watching at one of the many Parisian style outdoor cafes close to the opera house.
SAT Day 8
We end our time together with a relaxed fair well brunch. Our tour leader will have tips for those who’ll stay a bit longer or for those who still have some souvenirs to buy.
Please note that we keep updating this program based on the already signed up nomads’ wishes and interests.