Tourists and Temples, and a bit of Parkour

The last little trip we did from Yerevan was to visit Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery – a short ride away from the city by mini bus. It was a few hundred Dram, not too expensive, and the ride wasn’t terrible either. On the bus, we noticed that chivalry is still alive and well in Armenia. We thought maybe we should give up our seats for older people on the bus (it was a long uncomfortable ride and there were one or two old men standing most of the time), but they would not take a woman’s seat. Apparently gender trumps age.

When we arrived at the bus stop near Garni, it was just a little walk down the road. A nice young man in military uniform showed us the way, but you can usually just follow the people or ask around to find these places. The road was lined with cherry trees so we had a bit of a snack on the way – so delicious! When we got there, we realized we had to pay. We’ve been a bit spoiled on this trip with lots of free sites out in the wilderness, so we were annoyed at first, but we paid the 1000 Dram and went inside.

It was full of tourists, but we walked around slowly and eventually got a moment alone with the temple. The temple itself is really beautiful, but what makes the experience so much better is the location. It sits on top of a cliff surrounded by gorgeous views of the mountains, with nothing else around for miles. There were some little walls off to the side of the temple so, of course, I couldn’t help but get a few jumps in while I was there. You can watch the video at the end of the post.

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Garni Temple. Armenia. July 2015.
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Garni Temple. Armenia. July 2015.

After visiting the temple, we took a taxi ride to Geghard Monastery, a few minutes up the road (I actually have no idea how long it took us). It was a fun ride, communicating in some mix of languages & sign language as always. At one point, we were talking about chickens and listing the word for “chicken” in every language we could think of. Don’t ask me why, these things just happen. Also, our driver kept pointing to people on the road yelling, “Hooligan!” in a strong accent. I’m not sure what qualified them as hooligans but it made for good entertainment.

We made it to the monastery without too much trouble and spent a little time wandering around, enjoying the scenery around the old church compound. The main church only had a few slits of natural light coming in which made for a very dark and intense experience.

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Geghard Monastery. Armenia. July 2015.
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Geghard Monastery. Armenia. July 2015.

The taxi driver had agreed to drop us off, wait 30 or so minutes, and then take us back to the bus, but we took way longer than we said we would and he was a bit miffed when we came back down to the lot. Oops. Quickly, we explained that silly me fell and hurt myself and that’s why we were late. Wasn’t entirely false – I did hurt myself! It was just several hours earlier jumping around..

He believed us and didn’t seem too upset. We were dropped back off by the buses, spent a while waiting in the heat, and then eventually made our way back to Yerevan. Overall, a great visit and definitely worth it if you ever have the chance to go!

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