“Camp here?”

Kids in Georgia

The children are curious and check our maps, bikes and the broken speedometer

Wednesday 4th of July 2012

From Tbilisi to Yerevan: About our second meeting with the police, the goodbye in Georgia, swimming like Indiana Jones and our big treasure: the picture book.

Leaving Georgia was a bit hard. We were already used to its food, currency and its people. So it is life, we had to move on if we did not want that the harsh winter catches us somewhere in the middle of Central Asia.

We are not the olny bike fans in Georgia

We are not the olny bike fans in Georgia

A not so lonesome night

We packed our things and off we left to Armenia. As it has become a tradition, our last day in every country has been a great experience. We camped very near to a river.

On the way to Armenia

On the way to Armenia

A van was already parked and three young people where ready to prepare a grill, so as usual they invited us to join. This time we had bought food for the road ourselves and we decided to share as well. After the meal our three friends Viny, Sachsa and the girl Maria went on their way and Roberto and I went to sleep.

Our camping spot nearby the river. We don't get too close to it to avoid getting wet if the water rises at night

Our camping spot nearby the river. We don’t get too close to it to avoid getting wet if the water rises at night

We were already asleep when we saw a powerful flashlight lighting our tent, Roberto’s reaction was of complain: “Oh, not now I am almost asleep”, he said. The man outside was talking to us, I think it was Russian. The only thing I understood was “Polizi”.

Traffic in Georgia

Traffic in Georgia

I sighed and hoped he would not send us away in the middle of the night. Roberto went outside and came back, with a smile. “He said that he will take care of us”, Roberto explained and was half way back to his dreams again.

Nature and entertainment with no TV included!

Nature and entertainment with no TV included!

Diving like Indiana Jones
The next morning was incredible. We decided to take a dip in the river, in order to say goodbye to the beautiful green country of Georgia. We had been camping a bit away from the river though we wanted to avoid getting wet feet at night in case that it rises. So we travelled with our bikes to the bank of the river and played in the water like kids with a new toy. “I cannot think of a better way to spend the day that here”, Roberto said to himself. Soon after that we were invaded by kids and very young teenagers. At first they all were very shy, but then they got curious on the weird foreigners with the wet underwear all over their bikes. There were two very funny chubby kids. They insisted that we followed them and so we did. Our surprise: a place we could jump to the river and dive like Indiana Jones on one of his adventures. We did, many times it was addictive.

After a few hours we decided it was time to leave this place. It was 2 pm, we had survived the worst midday sun and were ready for the bike ride. We then changed our clothing and set off to Armenia.

The Armenian Silk road welcomes us

The Armenian Silk road welcomes us

At the border – Our first day in Armenia

When we arrived the border seemed very calm. An officer directed us to the Visa office and it took us 10 minutes and 6 Euros to get our visas – as easy as that. Then we cycled direction south only to discover more green mountains and beautiful farms all over the scenery. It was not much different compared with Georgia. Again we did not understand a bit of what the signs read, but instead of the Georgian Alphabet we read the Armenian one.

Finding the way. These men gave me a black and white copy of an Armenian map - written in Armenian

Finding the way. These men gave me a black and white copy of an Armenian map – written in Armenian

Some of the signs were also written in Cyrillic and some others with Latin letters. Their language is very different to Georgian and well to the whole world and has a lot of different pronunciations of “ch”. It was getting dark and Roberto and I usually do not wild camp the first day we enter a country, just for safety reasons. The truth is we never felt unsafe in Armenia but you never know. So we decided to ask somebody for permission for using their ground for camp. I spotted a nice place, and asked Roberto his opinion, he agreed.

Our home for one night

Our home for one night

We decided to ask the man that seemed to be the owner of a garden with a huge machine inside. Till today we can’t remember his name, I feel bad for that. We took out our book of icons and pointed the tent picture. In seconds he made a welcoming gesture with his hands and said something in Armenian that I think was “here!” As easy as that. This dynamic of just pointing at our picture and people saying automatically yes became a common denominator all through our way to Yerevan.

Our host and his friends by the next morning

Our host and his friends by the next morning

Thanks to our picture book and a little Armenian Language book we had the opportunity to try out some very different places to spend the night:

Inside the water pumping facility just crossing the border √
Inside a very fancy restaurant and hotel’s garden with private security √
Inside a house with one of the most comfortable Beds in the world √
Besides a restaurant just 30 km from Yerevan √
In a spooky house √

A beautiful river in Armenia

We never got borded of the landscape

So with the nights being a solved problem we decided to focus on the road. On our first day of travel we felt like we were climbing the whole day. We were already warned about this situation and I was pretty much scared of all those mountains around us. Roberto did not seem to mind. The scenery was and surely is admirable all the way long. We go to see canyons and rivers in our way. In a sense that is what makes cycling so appealing to us, the feeling of freedom and lightness (yes even with all our heavy equipment). It is like nothing else in the world really matters and with that stress of any reason we might have had, goes away.

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  1. Big Fan says:

    The video is hilarious. Just when i though Roberto’s dive was the funniest in history, that chubby kid proved me wrong. Armenia seems also very beautiful and interesting 🙂

    • Tasting Travels Team Tasting Travels Team says:

      Hahaha – that is exactly what I thought as well 🙂 I am glad you enjoyed it. There is a lot more to follow. Yes, Armenia is really very beautiful and it has so many different views, climates and eco-systems to offer. We enjoy our time a lot. Cheers. Annika PS: Let us know if you wanna go one day, we can give you some advice 🙂

  2. Héctor says:

    It looks like you had to walk a long way to get back to the jumping point! I bet it was worth the effort. Was the water warm?

    • Tasting Travels Team Tasting Travels Team says:

      It was just cold enough to be refreshing – the sun shone really hard that day. What a fun we had there! I’d love to jump in again right now 🙂 Annika

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