Located in the middle of Georgia’s famous wine region, overlooking fertile valleys and gazing up at the high Caucasus in the distance, lies the sleepy, tiny village of Signagi.
Outside high season, literally nothing is going on there. The streets were empty apart from a few locals wandering around. The restaurants that hadn’t already closed for the winter were filled with empty tables and wineries seemed surprised to see a tourist walk in. And yet I had a wonderful time. Continue reading Signagi: Georgia’s city of love (and wine)
After my arrival in Tbilisi had left me with very mixed feelings, I decided to take sightseeing slowly. It had worked in Yerevan, after all: take some days to get used to the new country, the people, the vibe and the customs and then get to the more serious exploring.
My hostel was great, with good beds and breakfast pancakes served up until well after 10am. In the evenings, there were great views over the city, a rocking chair in front of the fire place and strong wifi. What more could I ask for? Continue reading A lonely start in Tbilisi
There is one morning marshrutka from Alaverdi to the Georgian border, and it passes through the city at 9am. While I slowly froze at the bus stop, a friendly taxi driver offered me a ride for ten times the price which, of course, I declined. Then he offered me to wait in his car because “I can see you cold” (nice try) and at 9:05am he insisted the bus wouldn’t show up. “If not come now, not come never!”
Sure enough we watched the marshrutka pull up five minutes later, me all focussed while trying to read the Armenian writing on the window and the taxi driver with a dead pan poker face. He would have gladly let the car pass by if he had the chance for it, and I dropped in my seat smiling to myself about that one golden rule: never EVER trust a taxi driver. Continue reading Smooth operators (and border crossings)
As I write this, the first leg of my round the world trip is slowly coming to an end. In less than a month I will be back home for Christmas. So far, I have travelled during three months, and through six countries. While all of them were great in their own way, two have managed to completely exceed my expectations: Kazakhstan and Armenia.
In this post I will attempt to share both my love for the country and my recommendations for low-budget travellers. Continue reading My top recommendations for Armenia
My last days in Armenia were spent in the Debed canyon, close to the Georgian border. Rows and rows of grey Soviet blocks welcomed me to Alaverdi as the marshrutka drove down a seemingly endless winding road to the bottom of the gorge. The sun was setting and the last hour of the journey had been beautiful; slowly wobbling over a barren plateau and through tiny villages. Continue reading Throwback to Soviet times: the Debed canyon
My last day trip from Yerevan was a group tour (again with One Way Tours) to the Dilijan region, yet this time it wasn’t a winner. Sure enough, it was really cheap… and in retrospect I’m happy that I didn’t waste a day or two rushing around the area by public transport, as I found that it wasn’t worth that hassle at all.
The day started with a drive out to the Sevan Lake and equally named monastery. Continue reading Not recommended in winter: the Sevan and Dilijan region
Let’s get straight to the point: when it comes to Hovhannavank and Saghmosavank, it’s all about the location.
These two monasteries North West of Yerevan are build next to an impressive gorge and overlook the plains above it, as well as the depths beneath. One might think that nothing can beat the mountainous location of Tatev, but think again. For me, the Kasagh gorge was by far the most inspiring location of any monastery I’ve seen in Armenia. Continue reading The jaw-dropping scenery around Hovhannavank and Saghmosavank