Mar 24

Stone Temples on Pilot (Destination: Garni, Armenia)

Tues, Nov 26, 2013

I slept in a little bit and had breakfast. I was supposed to have a 10 am walking tour. The guide showed up but the other tourists did not so we decided to cancel the tour. Earlier I had met a Dutch guy that was headed out to Geghard Monastery and Garni Temple. I was supposed to do these on tour tomorrow but it was looking very likely that there would not be enough people to run the tour so I decided to see the sights with him.

We took a local bus out to a small bus stop on the east side of the city. There we got onto the 284 bus that took as far as the village of Goght. From here it was about 3 miles to the Geghard Monastery. We decided to walk but a little over halfway there, we were offered a ride by a couple from Yerevan in and Infinity SUV who were headed that way. The monetary itself was great. Geghard was named after the spear that pierced Jesus’ side during the crucifixion. The spear resided in this church for a long time but is now housed in another church in Armenia. There were a couple churches built next to each other as part of the Geghard complex. The best of these was a huge temple with four huge pillars carved out of a single piece of rock. Another temple was carved below this temple.

We had thought about walking the 10 Kms to Garni but a taxi driver offered to take us for 1000 Dram (about $2.50).

In Garni, we saw the Garni Temple. This had typical Roman Architecture with columns and an inner temple. It had been built on a dragon stone that had been worshiped in pagan times but was later converted to a Christian temple. It was on a fantastic lookout of a basalt canyon.

We returned to Yerevan by taxi but the driver wanted to charge us more to go to the center so we decided to take public transportation. We were hoping to visit the national history museum that was closing in just over an hour. Unfortunately, the Dutch guy was impatient and got on the wrong bus. So we zig zagged around the NW side of Yerevan and got dropped as close to the center as possible. From here the walk to the museum would take quite some time so I decided to skip it. However, I walked by the Opera House ticket booth and bought a ticket for an opera good for Thursday night.

Back at the hostel, I had a couple of glasses of pomegranate wine and chatted with Adam, the Australian guy. We decided to go to dinner at “At Gayana’s”. This place was only a block from the hostel but the workers had not heard of it. Armed with good reviews and an address from Tripadvisor, we set off to find it. We found the apartment block for the address and then we walked around peering in several windows. Finally, a lady motioned that we come inside. There was no sign on the door but we figured we were in the right place. We were in the dining and living room, where three tables had been set with nice tablecloths and settings. We had a fixed meal that included a drink of our choice (a wine glass filled to the brim with homemade wine), 5 different salads, fish baked in lavash bread (sort of a tortilla) with local spices and pomegranate. It was a great dinner in such a lovely setting.

Steps: 12,199

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