Over the Georgian Mountains and through the woods...To Armenia! We go.

Over the Georgian Mountains and through the woods...To Armenia! We go.

Georgian Mountains to Middle of Nowhere Armenia Plains

In case you missed me.. I’m back into good writing shape.. .my temporary sleep deprived, rubber-meets-the-road-itis that previously inhibited the continuation of anything blog related has ended in good form. Hai hai, everyone. .

We almost didn’t go into Armenia, because of time and the fact that Azerbaijan and Armenia are at war and the fact that we HAVE to go through Azerbaijan in order to get across the Caspian Sea.. We had heard stories of people getting denied from the border because of an Armenian visa stamp on their passport… but there was too much we wanted to see in Armenia, so we were going to risk it.. Otherwise we would have to go through Russia, since as Americans we kinda want to avoid Iran given its recent relations..

I mean if you don’t take any risks… you don’t get to see the things you want to see and in this case are surprised by some awesomeness… seriously just awesomeness.. just read on….

Now Armenia day one was really Georgian mountains all day. The day started out leaving out Batumi hostel in good spirits headed towards the Armenian border. Smooth roads. Sunshine in our faces… well the fires of heaven baking the car as the hot wind brushed across our faces, but then we started to climb a mountain or hill… not really sure there is a difference in our tiny VW Polo weighed down by four growing boys..

We decided to take the most direct route into Armenia to try and reach Yerevan or just outside it then spend the day roaming the city, monasteries, cathedrals and general Armenian culture…

But… we had a bit of a hiccup.. You see maps have different colored roads depending on the levels of use…. this fact is now known to us, but not without a 4 hour stretch staying in first gear over gravel mountain roads with pot holes twice the size of our car…free ranged cows eating the grub on the side or middle of the road…

I have to mention again how absolutely bollocks these roads were…even if its just an inch across on the map… just a few centimeters really…

We had to avoid potholes and cows…

First… for a time scale… imagine traveling for four hours… You would think you would be able to cover quite a large distance, right? WRONG… imagine you are a snail now… how far would a snail go in four hours? well thats about how far we travelled… about 30 miles… there are ultra marathoners that would have made it over the mountain faster than our baby yak sized car…

Next .. for the conditions of the road (if you can even call it that…maybe just a clearing in the side of a mountain… imagine dirt roads with scattered rocks.. then out of nowhere come these sinkholes in the hole that just engulf your car..

Just gravel roads all around.

BUT. the view was well worth the craziness.. although against our initial plans, but who really cares about forward progress, when you can just stop. take your nose out of the map and look at this with the cool wind in your face.

We also picked up some fresh honey from these wonderful Georgian Beekeepers

So we are making our way down these crazy roads down the mountains, when a jeep pulls next to us with a few Georgian men… some of which were clearly drinking… They pull up next to us and speak in Georgian… no idea what they are saying.. but then they just hand over a 2L of beer (yes.. beer comes in 2 liter bottles on this side of the world) smile then wave us off… We continue no more than 10 ft.. when one of them comes out of his car and speaks again in Georgian.. for all we know he could be telling us about sunshine and rainbows.. somehow we communicate if we can take a picture with him and he obliges in his somewhat inebriated state, while his less drunk car mate ushers him to the car… The Georgian people have been nothing but awesome.

Black shirt = 2L Beer friend. :D

I must note that the border crossing officers always get a kick out of the fact that Josiah, Marshal, and Patrick are from Georgia in the United States…It usually goes..”OH Georgia! (Points to passport)” Then a big ole smile and then (stamp stamp). California really hasn’t done me any good…

Eventually the sun sets, we make it out of the mountainous roads hit some smooth pavement (our butts thanked us in kind) only to be greeted by more bumpy roads as the small border crossing comes into view… We make it through the Georgian side smoothly.. with a nice smile and quip about Josiah being born in Georgia, United States.. then we encounter the largest no mans land we’ve ever encountered…. there are no lights in sight besides the soft glow behind us from the Georgian border gate… we had no where to go, but just dirt/gravel roads ahead of us..… but we progressed forward. after about a mile we found the Armenian border…

We make it through the border at midnight only to be told by the customs guard we need insurance to drive in Armenia.. but it was the dead of night and he just pointed to a white building… well it was more like those temporary offices you see at construction sites… we drive up and start trying doors…. they were locks… looking in the dirty windows… they might as well have been walls… no light was getting through the dust covered windows… then just sat back confused as to what to do.. Josiah walked back to the customs guard and communicated somehow that no one was there… the guard simply walked over and pounded on the window and door then like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.. poof out pops this Armenian man. The guard and this man exchange some rapid Armenian and then we get $100 Armenian insurance for our car..

Then i passed out.. not sure how we go to where we were or where in the world we were.. but it was about 2am and where we pulled over there is a field or hill…we are just a few hundred meters off the main highway on this gravel road… we pitch camp…err… Marshal, Josiah and I kinda just plop onto the ground as Patrick once again claims the car…

Getting Kicked out of Armenia..Almost

Getting Kicked out of Armenia..Almost

East Meets West. The Cross into Asia. finally...

East Meets West. The Cross into Asia. finally...