Waking up was difficult for some of us this morning, heavy heads stomachache and headache were the main issues. All those coupled with the bed condition forced us to postpone our visit to Geghard Monastery and the archeological site of Garni, only 40km from the capital.
The road up to Yerevan was not special in scenery at all. The good news was that we did not meet traffic (it was Sunday) and driving in the city was comfortable. Worth mentioning is that Armenian drivers were a lot more careful and respecting others. Nothing whatsoever to do with Georgian neighbors who they blame the Armenians as "less European" by themselves!!! God bless!!! At least our own experience says otherwise!!!
With help from GPS we arrived at our meeting point, before we refueled for the first time in Armenian soil. In the capital the gas stations have means of payment by VISA, unlike the countryside, at least that was we had seen up to that time. Reaching the meeting point with the guy who was arranging our accommodation, we found there that was not what we had agreed and we finally moved somewhere else, going in an apartment building, just behind the central city square, the Republic Square. We parked the bikes in a parking place about 200-300 meters away from the house.
We settled at the house, we took off our clothes, we made a bath and after we chatted commenting for the previous day, late in the evening we went for a walk in the center of Yerevan, which is the heart of the city, day and night!
The city of Yerevan is built on the river Chrazntan, at an altitude of 1000m. and is the administrative, cultural and industrial center of the country. "Yerevants!" in Armenian means "appeared". In Armenian tradition, the name «Yerevan» is derived from the phrase uttered by Noah, as he looked towards to the city, after the stranding of the ark on Mount Ararat and after the retreat of the waters of the Flood. The most likely theory, however, is that only the city was named king of the Armenians Gervant C of last (the last leader of the dynasty Orontidon), who founded the city Yervandashat.
Our ride, therefore, started from the impressive Republic Square, which is the main town square. It has an amazing fountain which impressed us with slower jets formation! Around the square is quite a site, tall buildings, covered with red stone awe-inspiring with their imposing presence. The clock is located in one of the buildings, an attraction that doesn’t go unnoticed! The central streets that run east and west of the square was full of food shops, cafes, bars etc. People were walking in the beautiful square, the whole scenery was giving a special atmosphere that is directly transferred to those who were visiting the square for their first time...us!
We continued at the square diagonally to the northwest path to a pedestrian zone -under construction- that housed various shops. I really did not expect to see Yerevan so alive, modern and westernized but without losing its authenticity. At the end of the sidewalk was the imposing Opera House, with its distinctive architecture. Crowds walked and sat in cafe’s that were around.
Walking even further, we went in one of the most famous sights of the city, the Cascade, meaning "waterfalls". It is a manmade site with steps creating waterfalls. The Cascade offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city. It was built in honor of 50 years of Soviet Armenia. Construction began in the Soviet era, and sometime works stopped abruptly. In 1991 it continued again and the construction was completed after some years. We climbed up to the highest point to enjoy the view offered which was even more beautiful in the night lighting!
The truth is that as we walked in the city discovering beautiful places that impressed us even more. Admittedly the Yerevan emits a special air! It is a city who has nothing to envy from European cities...
Dinner time arrived. A Greek woman, Alice, living many years in the Armenian capital and who I met in the Armenian community, through Mike, she had proposed two restaurants for food, of which one was hers. We thought it would be better to first try hers, as we were closer. So we started to go there. It was located right across from the German embassy.
On our way we met the super market SAS, which -as Alice had told me - had the best conversion rate (about 1€=530DM), for exchange office. After much walking we arrived at number 28, Street Chawajkj, from which it gets its name of the restaurant. We sat in the small garden that had a few tables. The food was delicious, singling out the soup with “manti” (handmade pasta), which we all loved it!!! Late in the evening we took the road back home, with a stopover at a supermarket to replenish some goods for our breakfast.
Before I felt asleep I was thinking mainly one thing: "... every day in Armenia is getting more impressive!!!"