Hello From Armenia!

Parev Tsez,

St Gregory's Church in Yerevan

I have just arrived in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan. It is a beautiful city almost entirely built of red and black tuff, a volcanic rock found all over Armenia. Yerevan boasts handsome city squares replete with monuments commemorating great writers, musicians, generals and artists. I am staying in an apartment near the central “Republic Square”, where Lenin’s imposing statue once stood. His statue is now gone, and a growing number of commercial banks are opening offices in old Soviet government buildings, offering Armenians credit cards, bank accounts and ATM machines.

The city is hot and crowded. Everywhere I turn I see babies. My flight here was packed to the brim with married Armenian couples and their adorable, babbling two-legged carry-ons. Moms walk like queens here. They stroll leisurely through Yerevan’s avenues with their heads high, gleefully flaunting their pride and joy to passersby. In the center of town cafés boast “new and improved” play areas for kids, equipped with swirling slides, monkey bars, and all. Fathers are proud, too. They trail a short distance behind, chain-smoking extra-thin cigarettes with Marlon Brando-esque intent and hard-boiled severity. Being the head of the household, it seems, does not allow for much smiling. Only stone-cold gazes and furrowed eyebrows will do…

Levon, Bread Baker in Yerevan

In my short time here I have made friends with an affable bread baker named Levon, and cooked a traditional Armenian breakfast of minced cow liver with sautéed onions, tomatoes, and freshly chopped parsley, paired with shots of a homemade plum eau-de-vie. In this mid-summer heat am drinking more beer than water and eating more ice cream than cheese. I have convinced a sweet woman named Anahid to teach me Armenian, and I am dead-set on finding some locals to play soccer with.

Enjoying a Beer with a Friend...

I am hedging here, but I hope my passion for food, language and sports will be the keys to my success in branching out to communities far and wide throughout Armenia. With that in mind, I should probably get back to my Kilikia beer, which conveniently sponsors the Armenian Olympic soccer team…

See you next week!

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5 Responses to Hello From Armenia!

  1. doris says:

    I for one will follow your blog. What an adventure. Please keep writing. I cant wait to see how everything will unfold. Have fun.
    Doris

  2. Courage says:

    Nice one bro :) I know you will have a good time from the start of the journey! I am happy to hear you’ve already settled in. Keep us updated because we are listening.

  3. Phil says:

    What facinating insights into local life in Armenia. I can’t wait to read and view your next blog.

  4. bluetooth says:

    you’re my hero Vanick!

  5. Ara Makasdjian says:

    Hi Vanig, I really enjoyed reading all of your adventures and gastronomic travels in Armenia. Reading your travel blog, made me feel like I was with you enjoying all the food and the sites you visited.
    I just got back from Armenia and Gharapagh and would recommend you visit the newly found Dikranagerd in Aghdam, it is less than an hour drive from the capital Stepanagerd. You will find the ruins and a modern museum with artifacts found there.
    Also I would recommend, if you have the time(2hours, most of it with 4wheel drive) to visit the unbelievable mineral waters, shooting up to 5 feet high, like geysers, at Hak village in kelbachar. Before reaching this site you will see Melikatun Hotel at Kashatagh region. The hotel is a modern and it is known as an ecco hotel. Their e-mail address( Mail.serjoserj@yahoo.com). Very pleasant drive, mountains rivers and 2 very old churches. Can not wait to read more of your travels. Regards from San Francisc0

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