The crossing into Armenia was very quick on the Georgian side, but slightly more bureaucratic on the Armenian side. For some reason the Armenia border (both with Georgia and with Iran) tends to make everything more complicated than it is and the people (with a few notable exceptions) are not particularly friendly. I was through the Georgian side in about 5 minutes, but on the Armenia side, by the time I had finished with the customs and insurance it was already more than one hour. On top of everything in Armenia, you have to pay to get in and pay to get out – don’t ask me exactly for what as I don’t know. It just had something to do with customs.
When we moved North through Armenia in July, we went through the Debed Canyon and this time, I wanted to take a different road South and join the old road somewhere around Lake Sevan. So I had read that there is a road that goes along the fairly disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan, but initially I wasn’t quite sure if the road actually goes all the way around to Lake Sevan or if it’s interrupted by an enclave held by Azerbaijan. One of my maps was showing it was ok to go through, while another one showed I would have to cross a border. In the spirit of the trip so far, I decided to go and see what happens.
The road actually turned out to be really beautiful and without any issues at all. It’s a fairly twisted affair through the mountains and I even got back for a while off road to do a couple of dirt tracks to a view point I had read about in the village of Yenokavan which surprisingly had a really interesting summer resort which was full. I stopped for lunch there and then continued South-West towards Dilijan.
Dilijan was a small village fairly close to Lake Sevan which we had visited before for dinner and since we liked it so much I wanted to actually spend a night there relaxing and having some good food again at the same restaurant. The place is really relaxed and pleasant, but I was a little bit disappointed with the hotel as I was expecting it to be a bit better. The room was quite dark and cold and the wifi worked only if you had the room door open. The food on the other hand was as good as the first time so I spent quite a bit of time on the restaurant terrace, reading, eating and having coffee.
The next morning, I drove the short distance to Lake Sevan and since last time we hadn’t explored the Eastern side of the lake, I drove that way to check it out. I thought I might drive the whole way around the lake, but I quickly realised that this side of the lake, although quite beautiful, was very rundown.
Many of the buildings I passed (some of them former hotels) were literally falling apart and the whole area looked like it was abandoned for a long time. I stopped for a while in a small forest by the lake to have a small picnic and read some more (I was busy reading “The Martian” which I couldn’t put down for a couple of days) and then stopped to photograph an abandoned train station by the lake (photograph at the top of this post).
After this, I made my plans for the next couple of days and set my sights on Armenia’s Mt.Aragats. But more on that in the next post.