Our hotel had a rooftop terrace where breakfast was served, and where one could idle away an afternoon under a cool canopy, staring at Mount Ararat.

Kompot like we have never had before. Each one was more delicious than the previous.

Lavash. The staple bread of Armenia.  (Strategically paired with Nutella. Mmm.)

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It goes without saying that we ate well. Tony’s colleague suggested this restaurant for both its food and the music. By complete luck we secured the last open table and indulged in both!  We returned the following evening, but with a reservation.

 

Lunch on my independent day out. An Armenian “Summer Salad” and a glass of Kompot. Total bill? €1,67.

One of the funniest of English-language translations we encountered. Though we are adventurous eaters, I would never think to pair, “Masterpiece” with “Sliced beef heart and lungs.”

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Street scenes in Yerevan.

 

 

The stunning Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, containing the first writing of Armenia’s alphabet among its treasures. No photos permitted, understandably.

Armenian is an Indo-European language, introduced in 405 AD.  The writing is an art form in and of itself.

St. Grigor Lusavorich serves as a tribute to St. Gregory the Illuminator, who brought Christianity to Armenia.

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Yerevan’s open-air market,  Vernissage. Most active on Saturdays, but an enjoyable way to pass an hour or so on a Thursday, as well. Handmade items were gorgeous, and so different from goods I’ve seen in other markets.  In the park leading up to the market are replicas of historical tablets, many of which were destroyed during the Genocide.

 

I was admiring the hand embroidery on the table linens at the market, and asked the woman if she had either a table runner or placemats in my pattern of interest. She did not, and immediately set out to take my order!  I thanked her, and explained that I was only visiting. I did manage to find something else that I liked, though.

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The Cascades Complex is a set of stairs leading up to the Monuments Park. Its purpose is simply to provide art and shaded places to rest in the center of the city. Some of the art resembled what we have seen throughout America.

Yerevan’s Modern Art Museum (the round concrete building), the first museum in the Soviet Union to display contemporary art.

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Produce vendors throughout the city ranged from a single person selling their bounty of tomatoes from a basket to the slightly more elaborate, like this person taking advantage of this shady corner of the art museum to set up their stand. No matter the size of the stand we passed, the fruits and vegetables were so beautiful as to appear artificial!

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The Blue Mosque is a lovely Shia mosque, almost invisible to the average person walking along one of Yerevan’s busy boulevards.  Under Soviet occupation the mosque became the City Museum; restoration and the resumption of religious services resumed in 1999, and ownership was given to Iran in 2015, for a period of 99 years.

Yerevan had glimpses of Kiev; not surprising, as both were part of the Soviet Union, and I saw hints of Belgrade, too. Turkish and Balkan influences are noticeable, as well, but Armenia seemed uniquely different. With the temperature being so warm, I paused more frequently than usual on shady benches that offered my favorite sport of people watching. No matter where I sat, passersby were smiling. Of course, two sunny days in a country does not tell the entire story, but the friendliness and overall sense of happiness was infectious.

As for flying Austrian non-stop to Yerevan, the inbound flight was only marginally better than the outbound, but neither were up to Austrian Airlines snuff. The outbound departed at 2020; or, as scheduled  to depart at 2020. With the two hour time difference, our arrival in Yerevan was around 0400.  Apparently the cabin crew felt we should all be awake, so the cabin lights remained on for the flight. So much for sleeping. The only up note was that the kind folks at Passport Control confused us with important people and ushered us to the front of the queue!

The inbound, departing at 0425, was 30 minutes delayed. Obviously the plane just flies back and forth, but an 0425 departure meant my airport driver was ready to go at 0230. On this flight the crew at least turned the lights off.  The “meals” on both segments were atrocious; while I am a morning person, I can switch from cheery to “hangry” in an instant, and the slop of lukewarm mushrooms, scrambled eggs (to which I am allergic and can not eat) and something that could have been a French Toast Stick in another life found me borderline crazy by the time we landed.

So, that’s it. I regret not taking at least one more day, as a couple of museums sounded interesting; I missed my usual market wandering for lack of time (no rugs, no food, no wine came home with me, alas); and another half-day outing from the capital would have rounded out the trip.  Next time, as of course my appetite to explore more of South and Central Asia has been whetted…