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Armenia: Winter Travel Diary Part 2 l Yerevan



There's no turning back now. After Armenia, I guess we've reached the point of no return. The only way is to move forward and to travel far and wide. But until then, we shall grow our travel fund to make it happen. Sorting out photos and writing about the trip helps alleviate the travel bug bite symptoms.


I posted part 1 of our Armenia trip a few weeks ago and it is basically the things first-timers need to know before traveling to Armenia.

For now, I want to talk about Yerevan. the capital of Armenia. How it made me feel and why we've decided that we should travel more often.

In Yerevan, Ferald and I are night owls. We began exploring Armenia from its core with a late night walk in below 0 degrees weather. Yerevan, known as the Pink City is not pink but golden at night.


We walked out of our hotel and searched for a place to eat. We have Yerevan Tavern in mind which we found at the corner of Amiryan and Zakyan street only a few blocks away from our hotel. Unfortunately, they were full for the night's dinner service.


We were actually ready to get shawarmas in Shaurma just across the street because we were starving but on our way out of Tavern Yerevan, the receptionist told us that they have another branch about 10 minutes away. They gave us a small map which was very helpful in finding our way there. Although this one doesn't have immersive cultural performances the main branch has, the food was really good and we enjoyed a lovely and quiet dinner.





Our first meal in Armenia were some flavorful chicken kebabs and slices of succulent and tender grilled meat called "khorovats" which is a barbecue, Armenia style. Both served with a piece of lavash bread and some onion-coriander slaw.


This is by far the tastiest barbecue I've ever tasted in Armenia. The meat is fresh and cooked to perfection.


Unaware of the time, we walked our sated bellies towards the Republic Square not very far away from where we were.



Ordered hot coffee on the way while trying to find a supermarket that sells UK type adaptors.


Got distracted only to find something even better.




We got ourselves a few nibbles and drinks for later and continue to walk to get to Republic Square, which by the way looks gorgeous at night.


Met a cute local


and a couple of men in uniforms


We couldn't be any happier, standing in the middle of a new city we haven't known before.


The famous singing fountains were hushed by winter and so we didn't hear its lovely songs. Ferald and I called it a night and walked back to Shirak passing by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Building and Shahumyan Park & Square in honor of the famous political leader Stepan Shahumyam.



After planning our day 2, we kissed the kids goodnight and slept like babies huddled together in our bed. Woke up fresh the next morning ready for a new adventure.


I love opening our window door to the scent of fresh cold air on my face. It is a delight to watch the people go by their morning, many of them hustling to work.



Pick up for our scheduled day tour to visit places outside of Yerevan was at 10 am but we were up early to buy the adaptors and charge our phones. Thanks to a helpful lady we met at a supermarket who showed us where to get them.


Back at the hotel while our phones were charging, we went to eat breakfast.



My typical Armenian breakfast consists of a double serving of eggs, salami, cheese slices, savory pastry and black coffee, just enough to keep me full and awake in the first half of the tour.


When our Day 2 tour is done for the day and Ferald and I are back in Yerevan, we went out to eat at Dargett Craft Beer, Armenia's first craft brewery.


It was a few days away to Ferald's birthday so I thought of celebrating even if it was just the two of us.

Dargett has a Sampling Set of five different craft beers. Uncle Raffi's Apple Cider instantly became my favorite but all of the beers were good.


Beers and savory meat are a match made in heaven so we ordered dinner with gusto


a platter of five different grilled sausages (this was the same sausage platter we saw online that leads us to this place)


an American style barbecue ribs served with pickles and country style potatoes


and a new addition to Ferald favorite salads, chicken Caesar salad (he's not a big vegetable eater so it is always a victory for me if he likes something like this)


I'm a big meat eater myself


Never been afraid of getting my hands dirty

Dinner was pleasant even in the midst of a super busy restaurant, we totally enjoyed it.


Although it was Ferald's birthday celebration, I guess I was the happiest being able to travel with this guy right here.


So I raised the glass for a toast to more birthdays and international travels with my favorite person in the world.

Dargett Craft Beer is at 72 Aram street, Yerevan 001, Armenia. For reservations +374 60 757473
+374 96 870870 / info@dargett.com (this is not sponsored, I just love 'em)

By this time, we already know half of Yerevan's road so finding our way back to the hotel is simple.

Have I mentioned how much we love our late night walks is Armenia? We were always out every night and yes, it is safe as far as our experience is concerned.


Believe it or not, there's something about standing at the corner of Mashtots and M. Korenatsi Avenue that makes me feel like being in a Harry Potter scene. Maybe it is the lights or probably the city's European charm.


Another Day tour and it was my last night in Armenia. I haven't seen much of the city's famous landmarks so Ferald and I took it upon ourselves to roam at night so I get to see it before my flight the next day no matter how tired we were from the day tour. This time we took a cab from our hotel to the Opera House to save time. We were to check a hostel where Ferald will stay after I go then went to see some famous landmarks after.

Our first stop was the Opera House and Ballet Center


then walked around the Cafesjian Museum of Art where about 5000 artworks are displayed. We only get to see the external part which is the garden where three works of the Columbian painter and sculptor Fernando Botero is displayed including the Gatto (Cat), the Roman Warrior and the Woman Smoking a Cigarette. We have one in Dubai close to Dubai Mall fountain. Have you seen the horse?


Another noteworthy artwork is that of Alexander Tamanyan statue thinking standing since 1974. Alexander Tamanyan was instrumental in establishing what was essentially a small provincial city into the modern Armenian capital, a major industrial and cultural center.


We dared to climb the Cascade with five levels and a total of 572 steps up top.


Passing by some incredible pieces of art



It looks easy to climb the Cascade from down below but it wasn't. I was almost out of breath when we reached the top but totally worth the climb. There's an elevator inside but we weren't sure it is accessible at night.


For the last time, I slept in our hotel room nice and warm next to my husband. Excited to see more of Yerevan before I leave the next day.

We were blessed with a bright and sunny day on my last day in Yerevan. The best part, Mt. Ararat has shown itself to us for the first time.


I wanted to see the Genocide Museum, Vernissage Market, and St. Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral but I didn't have the time so I settled for just one.

I chose the latter. Ferald and I went early in the morning, bought candles and flowers from the vendor in front of the church before we went inside.

I knew I had to pay a visit to St. Gregory The Illuminator Cathedral, the largest Armenian apostolic church in the world before I go. The cathedral houses the relics of Saint Gregory the Illuminator and the Holy Remains of St. Gregory. It is a beautiful church and the huge dome gives it an airy and solemn feel to it. I didn't take any pictures inside but it was really amazing. Different from any other churches I've been to.

Like I always do, I made a wish on this first visit. I hope it comes true.


I never wanted to leave. I flew out of Yerevan from Zvartnots International Airport back to UAE (Sharjah) with a heavy heart leaving Ferald behind but at the same time excited to see my kids. At the airport boarding gate, I stared at Mt. Ararat and remembered everything that transpired in the last four days. It was incredible. I am beyond grateful for all what I've just experienced.


Ferald stayed for a few more days and had the chance to see more of Yerevan.

Starting with The Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts or Matenadaran (I know it's a mouthful) Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of Armenian alphabets, statue stands in front of it


Matenadaran holds one of the world's richest collection of medieval manuscripts and books of huge importance. It is not only a museum but also a research center.


Victory Park and the Mother Armenia Monument.

Mother Armenia Monument is a female personification of Armenia that symbolizes peace through strength. This large edifice overlooking Yerevan has a military museum inside it as well.


Vernissage Market, an open-air market in central Yerevan where you can buy locally produced handicrafts including traditional dolls, brass pots, ceramics, and woodwork, as well as second-hand goods.



Lastly, the Northern Avenue. 

Located in downtown Yerevan, the avenue is mainly home to luxurious residential buildings, high-end branded shops, commercial offices, coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs.


I hope one day we'll be able to visit Armenia again with our kids. That was my wish.

Thanks for all the beautiful memories of Armenia.

How's is your Armenia experience if you've been? Please do share in the comment box below.

Read more of our Armenia Travel Series
Armenia: Winter Travel Diary Part 1
Armenia: Winter Travel Diary Part 3 l 10 Places in 2 Days

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Cheers
Carla