Armenia · 2 Days · 12 Moments · February 2018

Emily's tour through Armenia

2 March 2018

I ‘tasted’ the 3 and 10 year brandy and Ryan had the 10, 20, and Churchill varieties. Really I had two sips and Ryan finished the rest of mine. Safe to say I am not a brandy drinker, however if I lived in the cold all the time I might change my mind. Fun facts: The strongest Brandy Ararat has ever produced was 57% alcohol and manufactured to be sent to Siberia and the North Pole. The Churchill is named for Winston Churchill, who visited the factory and loves the brandy so much he ordered caseloads-roughly enough for one bottle a day.
A quick stop to try local beer and Hans and Frans which proudly only serves meat - so we luckily didn’t stay long. We went next door to Wineberg where apparently a photo shoot was happening, not realizing they only served wine and burgers. Luckily the restaurant above called Wine Time was perfect. Shabby chic decor with an amazing menu. I was sad we were only grabbing a quick snack before our brandy tasting. We ordered a new red wine to try and the veggie katchipuri. It was delicious and uber cheap! Would come back here for a lunch or dinner for sure!
Quick stroll through the Cascade sculpture park, so much to see and honestly not enough time. First time I have felt that in a 3 day weekend in a while. Honestly if you are deciding on one country in the caucus region, Armenia is right up there.
Afternoon lunch part 1 at Wine Republic. Finally trying a glass or two of Karas red, which was recommended at our hotel. It was extra tasty with a small cheese plate. Next stop Beer Academy.
Geghard Monastery was destroyed in an earthquake and then rebuilt 100 meters away in the 4th century. Half inside the mountain and half out, it is a cool site to see. In the grounds is a lover’s bridge where you can tie your handkerchief to a tree and make a wish. Let’s see if mine comes true without the handkerchief. (I mean honestly, who carries one around with them nowadays)
Narek our driver-guide took us this morning to see Mt. Ararat, Garni, and Geghard Monastary- carved into the rock. Not too far from Yerevan this adventure was about 4 hours from beginning to end and approximately 60USD. In Garni, the local villagers were selling their fruit leathers, Armenian snickers, and homemade wine and vodka. Of course we were offered many samples and one can’t refuse. The homemade traditional bread with honey was the best! The pomegranate wine, runner up. We even saw the same view painted on the 20,000 dram note. The Garni temple was built in the first century and is the only remaining Greco-Roman building still standing in the former Soviet Union. There was a fresh snow overnight giving everything a dusting of winter. I had forgotten what that looks like and feels like-brrrr... A quick and easy trip to see the country a bit more. We recommend.

1 March 2018

We moved a few meters/feet down the street to Tapastan (same owner as In Vino) for dinner. Luckily we had walked by earlier and made reservations. Atmosphere is funky and fun in this establishment and artisan-ly Armenian.
Wine tasting @ In Vino did not disappoint. We were lucky to grab a tiny table because at 7pm everything else was reserved inside and outside the wine store/tasting room. Tried some delicious Armenian red wines with a lovely local cheese plate. 6 (smallish...don’t judge) glasses of wine + small cheese plate = 16 USD. Who can beat that?
Dargett Craft Brewery Solid!!! Huge selection of craft brews and large menu of great pub food and more. After my apricot ale I tried a flight and loved the special pumpkin ale. Smoked salmon and trout bruschetta and fried cheese balls were the perfect compliments. If we lived in Yerevan, we would be here all the time!
The Armenian Genocide Museum Very educational and well depicted exhibits to give you a history about the 1915 (and events leading up to) the Turkish-Armenian Genocide. Took awhile to find the entrance, which are steps leading down underground. The museum is open 11-4 except Mondays, and we got here right at opening time. That meant we were able to see this precious elderly woman laying out flowers to surround the eternal flame. Might be my most memorable moment of the trip. *city tip: there are public water fountains around and the water is very tasty and refreshing
Breakfast included at the Nova hotel in their adorable cafe. I am in love with the custom built bookshelves/planter. Tried some local Armenian cheese, and yes that one in a little purse is cheese. You just eat it whole and was pretty tasty. There are walnuts inside mixed with the cheese.
Arrived early (1am) for a great 3 day weekend. Staying at the Nova Hotel. Adorable and stylish first impression. Fun facts I have learned already: 1. Everyone here (or so I was told) speaks Armenian and Russian 2. Many gambling opportunities await 3. The unibrow is alive and well in Yerevan