Saturday 5 June 2010
05.06.2010 - 05.06.2010 90 °F
Another lazy start to the day. I definitely could get used to this. While we were waiting to leave Dilijian, a group of rather shifty looking men arrived to look around the building with Razmik. Apparently they are a film crew who are going to make a new tv series - one that we will never see!
On the road to Sevan, we climbed up a mountain on a twisty road. On each bend there was a stall - apparently they were selling sweetcorn which they boiled in very large pots that were bubbling away over a fire. There must have been at least ten different sellers along the way. We didn't stop as we had just had breakfast - tempting as it was. At the top of the mountain we went through a long tunnel. This was the first one that we had been through which was lit. All the others have been pitch black and quite dangerous as there are pot holes in the tunnels too. Once out of the tunnel we were in completely different terrain. Gone were the green and lush forests - just green fields - it wasn't long before we were close to Lake Sevan. Along the road, men signalled to us by putting their hands out as if to show the size of something. Apparently they were selling fish. Pretty big ones if the distance between their hands could be believed!
Lake Sevan looked amazing- we realised how much we had missed seeing stretches of water (not swift flowing rivers). When we climbed up to see Sevanank monastery the lake looked great and we could see pedaloes down below. We saw Ginny and Arthur - we knew they were a bit ahead of us so had been looking out for them. We couldn't leave without at least dipping our toes in the water so we drove down to the edge and had a paddle. The lake has been tinkered with over the years - first of all it was being slowly drained - Sevanank used to be on an island only reached by boat but now you can walk up. Now they are trying to fill it up again but can't go to the original levels as it would mean flooding all the buildings that have been put up in the meantime.
We took the road around the lake to Noratus and the field of Khachkars - which are gravestones. The road had been flooded and we had a take a rather uncomfortable and bumpy road until we could get back on the original road. When we got to the cemetery it was very, very hot. There were some elderly village women trying to sell us woolly hats that they had knitted. Not quite the weather for it. One of the women was spinning the fleece with her own hand spinner. The graves were interesting but we were ready for lunch so headed off to a place called Martuni.
Saro knows the good places to eat - apparently he has gained this knowledge through experience. We had our own private room in which to enjoy our food. Again it was rather delicious. Fried courgettes, a delicious omelette with unidentifiable green stalks with lovely salads and the best yogurt so far. I drank tan - a type of lassi drink - yogurt with salt.
Our next stop was the Selim caravanserai at the top of the Selim pass - an amazing building with an even more amazing view. Every time we think we have seen the most beautiful and dramatic scenery, Armenia surprises us and surpasses itself. We made a decision as we stood looking at the view that we would rejig the next few days. We were due to do a long walk the next day over the mountain but we decided that the idea of walking for 4 hours in high temperatures with no shade was probably insane so went to where the walk ended so that we could see where we would have been. We also crossed yet another fast moving river to see the Jewish cemetery underneath a dramatic cliff. We bumped into the french tourists who we have seen regularly since we visited Amberd fortress. We also decided to visit Noravank monastery which we weren't due to do until Tuesday. On the way we had a cool drink in a cafe inside a cave. Very cool! Noravank is my favourite monastery so far.
Finally we arrived at our homestay in Yeghednadzor. We had a great meal again cooked by our host. I managed to get onto the internet there but it was very slow.... A hot night but we managed to sleep eventually.