Last updated on 23rd May 2019
Well before 10 am I arrived at the Ortachala Bus station to catch the bus . But it turned out that I was the only one for Yerevan. Also, there was no Minibus but a Minivan which turned out to be rather a slightly bigger car for a slightly higher price of 40 GEL instead of 30 GEL. However, I was accepting and waiting for another traveller to turn up. But after one and a half hour I was still alone. They asked me to pay more and travel alone. All I had was 50 GEL so I accepted. But when we left we did not go south. Instead they went to the Central Train Station where they found another 4 travellers so that the car was full. No thought of returning my money but I did not inquire as long as I would arrive in Yerevan somehow.
The ride was smooth and I must say the driver was not as lunatic as some travellers may tell. It rather seemed that maintenance is the real issue. I felt they wait until last minute which in our case resulted in a ripped off tire. I had a quick look and found there was no profile left whatsoever, I guess they would laugh about the 2mm rule in Germany. But luckily (or maybe because of that) there are workshops along the way, one after another, and the tire was exchanged in no time.
Border control was easy, one terminal for leaving Georgia – I got a nice stamp for leaving the country – and another one for the entrance to Armenia – I got another stamp for entering the country on land and a friendly German “Guten Tag”.
Safe – Homestay
I have settled with my host family which actually is just one person: Marina. She is a woman around my age, musician in younger years and now selling cosmetics from her home office. Thanks to her music background I have a piano in my room which is – according to Marina – still working and tuned. Marina is a very friendly, warm hearted and hospitable person and I felt very welcome. It is amazing how happily she is sharing the little she has.
Sound – City full of Music
The first you can’t miss is the music that fills the town centre of Yerevan in the evening. It is played at the Republic Square in front of the History Museum. The water fountain in front of the museum is built in a way that it allows all sorts of different shapes and sizes. They have somehow connected music and fountains so that it looks as if the water is dancing with the music . And all this is topped with a colourful light installation that again dances with the fountains. The square was full of people listening, so did I. They played mostly well known classical music, I remember I heard Swan Lake. But also orchestrated rock themes like John Miles “Music”. It was a magical atmosphere that found its way directly into my heart so that I hardly have words for it.
The very next evening I had a quite similar experience in front of the Opera House. Many people had gathered , music was playing and a performance was schedeld outside on the big square. They played Armenian folk music and before I knew it people started to line up and dance. Others grasped their hands , formed big circels and danced some traditional dance. Soon the entire square was dancing. And I mean everybody, no one just stood and watched – except me and Marina. Heavy rain started – unfortunately – but still the music went and the people continued dancing. Within seconds they were wet to the bones, still dancing. There must have been at least 100-300 people on the square, uneducated guess. As rain continued less and less dancers remained, and also Marina and me left, completely wet, but laughing. I was moved so much as I have never experienced anything like that. I will always remember.
reading your reports, I just feel like packing my bags and leaving for Yerevan… :-). Well, one of these days… Maybe.
So, why didn’t you and Marina join the dancers?
And for the piano – great! No excuse now, not to play :-). You know quite a few pieces by heart, don’t you? Like Bach’s Prelude n° 1.
Will you stay with Marina for the whole time while you are in Armenia?
Enjoy every minute of it. And keep the reports coming. 🙂
Good question, I really felt like dancing too but honestly I had no idea of the choreography of those Armenian folk dances ( little like the Irish/Celtic dances) and secondly it was pouring rain. Ok, we got wet in the end anyway but first we tried to stay dry. People were offering their umbrellas to those who did not have one, like us.
Yes, my plan is to stay with Marina for the entire 2 month. I asked Marina twice already if I can play, she never answered. I will only play if she agrees. I would love lessons but she said she has not done any music for like 20 years. Maybe she is afraid. I will keep trying.
I have another idea. Maybe Marina can give you lessons 🙂