31 October 2013

Cavorting in the Caucasus: Mount Aragats

I don't know. I felt like I had to go and hike (if not summit) the tallest mountain in Armenia. After all, there is a day trip that does exactly like that, so why shouldn't I join? I saw this place together with Amberd Fortress. It was rather remote, and sure enough, I would not want to think what would happen if our bus broke down.

Getting there was already a hike. It took us at least one hour to be here, and the scenery that was passing right by us outside the window of the bus was not-to-mention spectacular. It was a little cold; some of the people who were with me who were just wearing a shirt were chilled a little bit. I on the other hand didn't mind it, even though I had a jacket as well. I guess I was already used to the cold weather I experienced for 7 years in Buffalo.

There is a lake near the top. There is also a restaurant, although we didn't get food here. I wonder if this is the restaurant that sells khash all year round. Khash is this apparently gross-tasting Armenian dish that can only be eaten if you have vodka with you, and is constantly swallowing it. Speaking of vodka, I was actually drunk when I did this trek. Before this, we visited a nomadic Yezidi family that lives on the slopes of Mount Aragats. And because Armenians are very hospitable, this occasion was no exception. I made the mistake of sitting at the chair right next to their kitchen table, and so they offered me food and vodka to drink. I was given a shot glass, they filled it, and toast! Bottoms up! Every time I try to stand and move away, they tell me to sit, and my shot glass was filled yet again. That happened about 4 times, so when we finally left their tent, I was already drunk. That was the state I was in when we did this trek. Very dangerous.

Anyway, I survived. I survived to take these photos and show it here. It was beautiful, perhaps not the most spectacular, but beautiful nonetheless. Armenia is a very mountainous country, and it would be a pity to visit it and not explore what its outdoor wonders have to offer to the visitor. I definitely would love to come back again, as there are plenty of other pockets within the country that I haven't even touched.


  1. Looks so quiet and deserted! I guess Armenia is still out of the beaten path.

    1. Zhu,

      Definitely. The crowd of travelers I met in Armenia was totally different from the crowd you'd meet in Amsterdam, for example. Most travelers in Armenia are more experienced, and they have visited way more destinations than your typical European city visitor.