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Brad’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 06 Aug 2005

Location: Yerevan, Armenia

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After travelling alone for well over three months now I hooked up with a fellow traveller for the second time in a week - Julie, an wonderful American who teaches in a tiny villige in Alaska for half of the year and travels for the other half. After leaving Tbilisi we travelled to Armenia together and have been hanging out for the past three days, visiting various museums and galleries, spending a day up at Lake Sevan, and of course soaking up the vibe of Yerevan's cool cafe and bar scene.

Yerevan is a really cool city, particularly after spending a few days in Tbilisi. The difference is amazing, people a so helpful and friendly here, and there are a lot more smiles on people faces. As mentioned in the previous entry we went to this amazing repository of incredibly old books. Only a few are on display, but we saw a books written in the 9th century stating that the world was not flat (a good five hundred years before Gallileo), and a translation of Euclid's work on geometry. There was even a huge book written in the 12th century that was six hundred pages long - amazing because every page required the skin of a two week old calf!

After going to the book repository we headed over to the Ararat Brewery, the company that makes the world famous Ararat Congac (oficially brandy!). We got to taste five, ten, and twenty year old congac, the smell of the twenty year old stuff was amazing. It's about $100 a litre!

Yesterday we headed up to Lake Sevan together, the closest thing Armenia has to a beach. It had a really nice vibe too, I didn't see any western tourists, just lots of Armenians on holiday! There was two beautiful 10th century churches on a hill above the lakte, and a beach disco, full of young Armenians partying - what was weird was that it kicked off in the early afternoon and finished well before midnight! We ended up meeting a lovely Armenian family who were staing in a cabin right on the lake, and they invited us to camp in the tent next to them. Their ten year old daughter, Anna, was really beautiful, she was telling me how she sang English songs in a choir. I asked her to sing one, and she sang a song that I first leant when I was her age in a choir - it was a really special moment, a meeting of music across huge gulfs of distance and age.

I'm back in Yerevan now, having said goodbye to Julie as she is flying off to South Africa in a few days. I'll proably go and visit some old monastries over the next two or three days, then I'm catching a bus to Tabriz - Iran!!