My Trip

June 2016

I first traveled to Armenia in June of 2016 and spent one week in the country before taking a Marshrutka (a Soviet style van) up to Georgia. The second time, I returned with two friends, Teresa and Remi, and we rented a car to drive around the country. I spent spent a good deal of time exploring the capital city of Yerevan and the country seeing such sites as lake Sevan, Khor Virap, many historical monasteries, and spent a night in the town of Goris.. Overall, especially as someone who has studied history, I found Armenia to be one of the most interesting places to visit.

One of the things that makes Armenia so distinct is that far more Armenians (about 10 million) live abroad in the diaspora (primarily in Russia) while only three million live within the borders, making the residents of the country the minority among Armenians. Also, the borders with Turkey and Azerbaijan are closed, making entry to the country only possible through Georgia, Iran or by flight. As a result, it's rare to see someone who is not Armenian within the country. That isn't to say the country doesn't get tourism, but most of the tourism happens to be Armenians from the diaspora. Therefore, I, a lanky, hairy, American of Polish descent, stood out like a sore thumb. Nonetheless, I found the country as a whole to be pretty welcoming.

In general, The culture did not seem as outwardly open and as relaxed as the Georgians, but while there, I had nothing but positive interactions. Nearly everyone I came across was interested to learn about me, who I was, and why I had come to Armenia, and on top of that, many people were eager to share with me part of their lifestyle and culture. This even got to the point where a family even invited me in for apricots and coffee, which (partly due to my caffeine addiction) I happily accepted. Keep in mind, however, this was all made easier by the face I can speak conversational Russian. English as a whole is still not widely known, but nearly everyone speaks Russian alongside Armenian.