The Caucasian countries have been on my radar lately, and I always enjoy finding out more about these three countries on the border between Europe and Asia. Annie Babayan visited the Armenian capital Yerevan on an impulse and shares her finds here. Sounds like she had a fab time!
I always make spontaneous decisions. If I were not that angry on that day in Georgia, when I had so seriously argued with my boyfriend, I would probably have never visited Armenia. He and I always travel together. We usually focus on larger countries, so the next country on our travel list was definitely not Armenia. Nevertheless, my unplanned trip turned out to be amazing.
I traveled from Georgia to Armenia by train and noticed the number of people visiting Georgia from Armenia greatly prevailed over the Georgian visitors to Armenia. I was among the few.
The two are neighboring countries, yet with obvious differences. Georgia seems to be more developed and have much more to offer. But that doesn’t make Armenia less attractive. I had only five days, so I had to enjoy them to the full. Since I am never a passive person, I needed some action – but first, a place to stay. I stopped an Armenian girl and she advised I stay at the favourably priced Envoy hostel. It was simple, but the hostel staff treated me very kindly and warmly. We made friends.
Since my time in Armenia was limited, I asked the girl to show me some fun places. She gladly agreed.
Yerevan pubs and restaurants
First off we decided to eat. There are Italian and Chinese restaurants in Yerevan, but I wasn’t much impressed. However, Armenian national cuisine is excellent. In Yerevan, I recommend Dolmama restaurant on Pushkin Street. Their local meat-based dolma is one of the tastiest dishes I have ever eaten.
Another restaurant worth visiting is Urartu on Proshyan Street, where you’ll enjoy not only local food, but also Armenian music and song, popular with some Armenians and ignored by the rest. For traveler me, it was an interesting experience. I even danced.
Among other things to do in Yerevan is visiting pubs. They are all very different. I loved Eco Pub, ideal if you hate smoke and cigarettes. It’s rather small, I doubt the pub could host a group of 30 people even. This is not a pub where you go to dance the night away. Instead, you go for a drink and a nice talk or, if you’re alone, just to enjoy the music, which is neither too loud nor too low, but just right.
Another pub my new good friend advised was That place. When she first said ‘let’s go to That place’, I thought she said Dead place. I didn’t want to go to Dead place, I was kind of scared. Can you imagine how relieved I felt when I saw it was That place? The pub is a good one, with loud music – sometimes 80s pop, which I love. It seemed men and women visit That place for different reasons: men to listen to music and drink whiskey, women to dance.
In Yerevan, don’t miss…
The singing fountains
Day- and nighttime Yerevan feel like two different cities. I prefer nighttime Yerevan, when the city is full of lights and riddles to solve. At Republic Square, I simply loved the singing and dancing fountains. The songs varied greatly; one moment I found myself quietly standing in the square, enjoying the beautiful melody, the next, I danced even crazier than the fountains. It was great!
One of the most crowded streets in Yerevan is the newly built Northern Avenue. With shops, businesses and expensive-looking houses along both sides, I’d say it’s one of the busiest places in the city.
The National Gallery
I also visited the National Gallery, which is a seven story building, housing paintings and sculptures of both Armenian and international artists. There I got acquainted with the art of Armenian sea painter Ivan Aivazovsky. I had never heard of this painter but I was greatly impressed by his work; I’d even say the paintings looked alive.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore other parts of Armenia, but judging by what I saw in Yerevan, I concluded that Armenia is a rather rich country. When I told my friend, she said the picture is deceiving, and that I should visit at least three other cities to get a clearer idea of the country. My fifth day was on the doorstep, so I didn’t have time neither to go to bicycle riding, which I’d love to try, nor visit other cities. I promised to come back with my boyfriend, and this fall he and I will visit Armenia during our one month travel in the Caucasus.
Annie is a travel blogger who owns TravelVivi.com, where she regularly shares travel experiences and travel stories.