We went to visit Lake Sevan (the top part in the lake on the map) under a dense fog and it was very pretty:
Fishermen in the fog:
We then went further North to a small eco-resort up in the mountains called Apaga Resort. The twisty road in the mountains, under the rain was beautiful:
The hint of sun piercing the clouds:
There was an old carriage on the property
Karine, Lilit (the guide), Thao, Lilit (the doc :) ) and Anna. The dogs were just happy for all those friendly faces near them, and the occasional pat on the back !
The next day we went to a tour to the Geghard Monastery
They were selling tons of sweets in front of it :)
Part of it is was excaved from the volcanic rock (on the left); part is build up (on the right)
The entrance of a monk cell (no this was not our bedroom!)
One of the 2 churches, all excavated, not build up! Smart monks !
Many inscriptions in ancient Armenian. Apparently they had no script for numbers, they were using letters and giving a different signification for numbers and differentiate letters-for-words from letters-for-numbers by bracketing the number with a colon on either end. Interesting idea. Also to save space on small columns they would merge several letters in one. I later realized that indeed the Romans were doing the same!
While we were there a group of visitors started to sing a-cappella (quite a propos!) some very nice songs and the sound in that tiny church was beautiful ! Even an anti-clerical like me can appreciate what they were doing!
Another monk cell.
We went to visit the second church that was not excavated but build as an extension.
Thao in the ray of light, with candles in the backgrounds
Having fun with candles!
The spring in the church (of course it can produce all sorts of miracles):
And a priest doing some ceremony. They looked something like black KKK, and I though this was a little frightening!
The emblem of the family that made the church
We then went to see a Hellenistic temple (Pagan temple as our guide described it :). Some honey and jam seller:
This Greek temple dated from the first century CE. It had been destroyed 400 years ago by an earthquake and only rebuild in the seventies and the repairs were unfortunately very visible:
On the edge of a beautiful valley. The rock in the middle has the hexagonal crystalline structure of slow cooling lava (too small on this picture but better visible on the nextl) Same physical principle as the honeycomb of bees: the least amount of wax surface for the greatest amount of cell volume for bees and the least amount of rock fracture for the volume of rock to contract under cooling.
Then we went for an EXTENDED lunch at a restaurant called 7 stones where we saw a wonderful demonstration of baking the LAVASH bread. Very thin bread that is typical of the region:
A woman makes a fire in a below ground oven that is just a pit line with refractory clay. She sits with her legs in the hole
and she burns a bundle of little twigs, that I suppose are pruning left-over:
When the intense fire dies down she raises the chimney pipe and flattens a fist-sized lump of dough into a very thin sheet
Then spins it in the air, like the pizza guys do:
This is all incredibly fast in fact! She then stretches the dough over a sort of pillows…
And reaches in the oven to plaster it on the wall where it sticks
She pulls back the pillow
And let the dough cook a minute or so:
And pulls it from the over and there it is the bread! Fresh from the oven and extra crispy
A hot job for sure but an incredible skill ! Then we ate the bread with some cheese that to me tasted more like goat cheese but is cow cheese. Whatever the mammal whose mammary gland it came from, it was very good !
However, after tasting it totally fresh like this and cooked with wood, all the other Lavash we had could not compare. Slightly soggy, or without the distinctive wood burning flavor, it is not quite the same!
We then went to the restaurant part itself
View from the restaurant. It sits on a cliff like that seen on the right of the image: