Armenia... finally!!!

And so we finally arrived in Armenia, but of course not without a heap of adventure along the way. I'm never going to have time to explain everything in detail, as we rarely find internet, let alone having the time to use it. So here's a brief run-down of what's happened since Batumi:

We got the overnight train from Batumi to Tbilisi, spending the night in a sleeper for 4 people with 2 other women and their 4 children. So EIGHT people in a sleeper for four. Though they offered us some guilt food as an apology for the constant crying through the night.

Tbilisi was interesting. Like Batumi, loads of contrast between the rich and [mostly] poor areas. Houses falling down and roads with massive craters in the middle of them, and then lavish foutains, light-shows and beautiful architecture on the other side of town. Everyone kept telling us how wonderful Georgian hospitality was but everyone we met was really freakin rude. Where was all this friendliness?

The next day we got a marshruyka - a overpacked mini-bus 2.5 hours to a small, tiny village called Kazbegi - well-known for the iconic church on the 2,200 metre mountain. On our way up the mountain with our heavy, heavy packs we saw some guys gathered around a make-shift table, preparing a cauldron and only just beginning to skin a freshly killed lamb. "Tired?" they yelled out and called us over. They insisted we sit down and join them for their feast of boiled lamb & georgian bread, cheese and wine - LOADS of wine. Every time they wanted a drink they would fill their cups to the brim, make a serious toast and then finish the cup in one gulp, expecting us to do the same. Though Claudia and I insisted in taking little sips. A couple of hours later we finished out climb and camped by the Church on top of the mountain, happy that we finally experienced the Georgian hospitality :)

The next day we got another marshrutka to Armenia. It was enroute to Yerevan (6 hours) and the driver wanted about 30 euro for the pair of us. We wanted to go to a small village called Kobayr to check out the ruins of a convent and managed to negotiate it down to 12 euro for the 3-hour journey - it was ALL the Georgian money we had left. The driver just said, "Give me what you have," though we stashed a couple of bucks in out pockets to buy water and toilet entry.

We were dropped off on the side of the road in Gyumri where 3 Armenian guys were sitting and eating. Hearing that I was an Armenian from Australia they immediately called us over and inisited we join them for dinner - filling our plates without even asking if we were hungry or not. They were from Yerevan, the capital, and exchanged details for us to meet them when we head over. And if I read his ID card correctly, one of them happened to be the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

Last night we camped next to Sanahin Church, and today we met some people there who took us to Haghpats Church and then organised a free ride for us to Vanadzor - which used to be called Girovagan - which is where we are now. We plan to head to a place called Gyumri today, but let's see.

Of course there was not one place where something wierd, freaky, exciting or scandalous didn't happened, but I must log-off and head on while there is still light.

I'll try to update on the village scandal we uncovered in Kobayr, but no time at the moment. Love to you all!