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Day Eight - Tatev

Monday 7th June

sunny 84 °F

My turn to write a bit fortunately Cath has kept notes as I'd have no idea what we did on day 8, I must admit I haven't really had anything to do with the planning of this trip so spend most days in the back of the car with very little idea of where we are heading. I could get used to having my own personal driver and having a daily itinerary typed out for me, well maybe not, but for this visit it has been great.
It seems like our driver Saro is on a mission to make sure we have as good a time as possible; he turned up in the morning very chipper having spent the night with Iranian relatives and friends{Goris is where he went to school after leaving Iran}
Saro seems to have raided his Uncle's home for BBQ equipment, we are pleased about this as anyone who knows us will know we BBQ at a drop of a hat, we then went off to the local market to buy vegetables, fruit, lavash bread and drinks, cost about 2 quid in total.
Then we went off saw a few more caves from a scenic spot in Goris probably took some more photos then headed up towards Tatev to the sounds of 2010 Eurovision. Cath and me love Eurovision but rarely hear a song from it ever again, apart from the winner who sings at the start of the next year's comp, however this year my head is awash with the songs as Saro has downloaded his favorites, can't help but notice he hasn't got our entry!
As I said I usually sit slumped in the back but shortly after we are on the road Cath asks me to swop, the hair-pin bends, avoiding pot-holes by swerving towards the cliff edge is clearly getting to her nerves. I happily comply to avoid her putting Saro off his stride and causing him to plummet into a very deep valley.
Anyway we finally arrived at the Tatev monastery in one piece , we did pass a chair lift in construction, Cath says she will take that next time. Interestingly we both talk about the next time we visit, quite frequently,now I realise this isn't going to be a once in a lifetime trip to our homeland. We probably will come back in Sept/Oct next time when Lake Sevan has warmed up. It has been strange being in a land-locked country but Armenia did used to stretch from the Caspian to the Black sea, and all I can say is give us our damn land back!
Anyway where was I Tatev, well it's like a fortress and is really big. Seems we must have spent most of our time looking out for possible attackers, but then again I suppose most places did- Cath has written a lot of details in her notes but let's just say they were pretty self sufficient, can't imagine coming up that mountain very frequently especially in the freezing winter. Talking of which everyday I think thank goodness we didn't do this on a bike, we wouldn't have lasted half a day.
Better move this along....next stop after an exhilarating drive down the mountainside we got to the Devils Bridge where Cath and me sat doing nothing whilst Saro did all the cooking, as I said earlier I could get used to this. Not sure how he did it but within a very short time he had got the coals all white and then shortly after he was presenting us with BBq'd potato wedges, he then skinned all the veg and the chopped it all up and we put it in the lavash and it was delicious. For pudding we had cherries followed by Armenian coffee, water boiled on the fire.
A bit more lazing about then down to the hot springs for a dip, one of the pools had fizzy water how this is as it is was explained but there is only so much information you can take in isn't there? It did feel great on the skin though and I think if only for a brief spell we were rejuvenated. The only thing that marred the experience was in the picnic area there was lots of litter and up to then I'd been really impressed with that on the whole Armenia is quite litter free. Maybe a big SITA van was on it's way up that mountainside though I kind of doubt it could have negotiated all those bends.
We then were driven to Sission and to the Hotel Dino an old style Soviet era hotel, complete with a stuffed bear in reception, nice! Really lovely staff though gave Cath bean seeds for her allotment and cherries off the tree! Ready for bed after a very nice tea and a stroll round the town, first time we needed another layer, as don't know if it has been mentioned but it is hot, though cooler in the shade so you get some respite.
I see you can comment on the photos but I advise you not to!

Posted by Cath_Greig 06:37 Archived in Armenia

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