Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We took this cable car from Goris to Tatev, over 3 mountains
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 The cleaning lady was busy inside before we could take off.  See her mop?
cheap ride, $7 american money...half an hour trip

We left the mountain that has a road going up. 

 Joyce and I in the cable car.  The car held 20 people, but us 4 were the only tourists, and about ten others were on their way to work, so it was "ho-hum" for them.

 Here we are on our way to the second mountain.

 There are two cars...they always meet on the second mountain, one coming, one going.

 This is a view from the side of the car...kind of looks like the grand canyon.  we were much higher.
On the other end of the ride....to a small village called Tatev.  We could see a towering mountain waterfall to the right of us as we neared the station.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

This is the top of the mountain where we took the cable car to Tatev...this cable car is the longest one in the world, taking in three mountains.

I should mention about the steps and hills that we had to climb....Evelyn's apartment is on the 4th floor, no elevator, our B&B was on the 3rd floor, no elevator.  Up steps to a cafe, down steps to get to the store...I have never in my life climbed so many steps....Armenia is hilly and mountainous.  I sure got a workout.  Lost 4 lbs even.

When we found a cafe to eat dinner in Goris, it was really dark...there were no streetlights.  Only lights from some of the buildings, which wasn't much...Our cafe turned out bad food, felt like our meat was heated up from the day before and burnt besides.  Joyce ordered potatoes, but they never came.  I said right out loud (waitress no speak english), " Hey, where's the spuds, babe?"  Of course we had a fit of the giggles.

Everywhere we were, people stared at us, right in our face, from head to toe;  one carload of people pulled to the curb, and all the faces came to the windows where we were standing...they got an eyeful, I guess. We found it very humorous.

We only saw two women drivers in the two weeks we were there. I only saw one woman smoke.  Is this a chauvinistic thing?  They aren't even allowed to grill, or barbeque.  ????

Most houses and fences were made out of rock, some then covered with cement.  I thought the Casita was bad for rocks, but Armenia is so rocky.....we found some places in the mountains tho, that were green rolling hills...(good golf course?)  But mostly rocks.

They recycle metal in a different way in Armenia.  They use car doors for fences, (Margie's favorite) and smashed cars on their sides for fences also.  I saw a fence with a refrigerator gate!

We visited a monastery in the small mountain town of Tatev, the end of the cable car ride. The monastery was built in the  year 906.  I don't know what this hole was used for, but you can see how high we are on the edge of a cliff.  You could hear and see the mountain waterfall from here.

The church inside of the monastery.  It was surrounded by high walls.  In the 14th century, the monastery was used for artists, philosophers, musicians, calligraphers, as a center for culture and learning.   It was a "university" as such.  Most of the monasteries were built up high, surrounded by high defense walls, had several buildings for chapels, workrooms, offices.  There were many uprisings at this place, destroying and rebuilding thru the centuries.  How on earth they built this on such a high cliff is beyond me. 

 This is an oil press at the monastery.  it has "future" thinking.

 Enlarge to read

 My favorite "artistic shot" which I sketched.  (sketched a few places on the trip)

Beautiful wild flowers

Tatev monastery actually had a sophisticated alarm system in the tower of the fountain which is about 12 ft. high..  There was an oblong stone on the top of the tower, and if an earthquake was beginning, or armies were coming, the stone would swing out from the vibration on the ground..  So they were smart back then, eh?

Goris market 

More Goris market...whatever works!  Selling Shoes 

Scene from a cafe...notice all the caves across the valley, some are their homes.

 HOW TO MAKE LAVASH:  First fire up the brick oven.  Some ovens are right in the ground. They then have a pit for the "baker " to stand in so she doesn't have to stoop.

Next, one lady will roll out a piece of dough about two feet by 14-ish inches.

Next, the other baker places the dough on a fabric "cushion". (That's what it looked like)

The next step happened so fast, I didn't get a picture of it....she actually slammed the dough on the cushion against the wall of the oven.  She quickly took the cushion out.  When it was baked just a little brown, a few bubbles, a little crisp, she took it off with the metal kind of hook, as you can see in the picture.
Here's Evie holding up a sheet of lavash.  It's their "bread", eaten with each meal.  People handle it with their hands, by taking it out of the bag and putting several pieces around the table.  We ate it with meals, even had peanut butter (taken from Evie's gifts from Stanley's school class....sorry, Ev, we will replace it soon) and jam, even a banana, or meat.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

                                     Goris overlook...pronounced "go-REECE"

This little girls made the motion of the camera;  she wanted to have her pic. taken

 view from our B&B
 These cone shaped rocks have holes in them;  with they were being invaded by the turks, they actually lived in them.  there has been earthquakes since, and since the earth has shifted, the holes of entrance are much higher than the ground.

 Inside a cave in Goris half way up the mt. .. familes lived in them many yrs. ago.  The big steps you see here were their beds....There was a fire pit also.

 Our taxi/tour guide taking ev's and joyce's pic at the entrance to the cave

Me & Margie  from inside, looking out
 Homes to a few people, still living in caves

More house/caves
monastery high in the mts on the way to Goris, called Norvank, from the early 1300's

                              Margie & Joyce overlooking Goris, taxi took us on a tour

 cows going home from pasture to be milked; a very common sight to see cows on the road, untethered.
                                                  In Goris

a meal in Goris; pizza, a kind of "egg in a hole", which was tasty except for the part of the whites of the egg...(not done, but that's the way you eat it), and another kind of sandwich with sausage.  I can't begin to remember how to pronounce the food.

 Our bed and breakfast in Goris...the right side was modernized and fixed up, but the rest of the building looked like it had been bombed!  very comfy room and bathrm.

Having brkfst at the b & b:  tea (I had my own instant coffee always in my purse and sometimes Evelyn's peanut butter that we brought), boiled egg, lavash, yogurt, butter, cheese (super-salty, so you could only take a taste), another kind of bread, and their "jam", which you put a teaspoon into your tea to sweeten it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Went to Talin by taxi to attend a 5k race put on by the peace corp volunteer Brian Bokhart. It was to raise money for the children's summer camp and encourage exercise and fitness. They were happy with the turn out of 52 including volunteers and kids from Talin.
putting up the start banner

Joyce decorating Evelyn's race number.

They're off like a dirty shirt.

Evelyn on the home stretch.

Dinner after the race with peace corps volunteers.
The bottles of pop are a VERY sweet liquid, almost like syrup.
We ate matsun (yogurt), gnachi (greens), fried noodles, rice, lavash, panir (cheese),
and all the usual Armenian fare.

These dolls are crocheted by women in Talin and are now being sold to earn money.
This is their only income.

Berd's Bears are also being crocheted by women of Armenia for income.

Tim Straight, sitting with us, the consulate of Norway and Finland is here in Armenia helping promote the women's resource centers to help. (He was knighted by the king of Norway in 2005.) One of the bears "ran" the race and had his own race number (51.) 
Women's resource center in Vardenis where they make clothes, hot pads, pot holders, baby blankets.
They also teach the young girls to sew.

working on a baby blanket

Joyce will be selling these items at her store this summer in Lac La Belle. 
If they are a good seller, she will stock up before Evelyn comes home next year.

Most cows are untethered and people watch out for them on the roads because it would be terrible to hit someone's livelihood. We saw many many herds of cows throughout the whole of Armenia tended by 1 or 2 cow herders. The same with sheep. We saw many flocks with shepherds. It was a beautiful sight.

There are water pipes all over Armenia above ground. Water is running out of ditches, fountains running all the time, faucets run... there seems to be an abundance of water, but some houses don't have running water.

The young men wear american looking clothes. Young girls wear jeans, ts and fancy heels, and most are very dressed up with dress shoes on uneven sidewalks and roads with manure all over the place, and still dressed to the nines.

Unemployment is 60%. One day by the square in Vardenis, Evelyn counted 60 men sitting around smoking, and most men smoke.

We were 6 kilometres from Turkey at one point, and 3 kilometres from Azerbaijan. They have underground gold mines. Lots of gold teeth here, too.

Cathedral of Talin, 7th century. Destroyed by earthquake in 1847. 
Started restoration in 1947 and abandoned.

Inside the ruins with peace corps volunteers.

Khor Viarp, south of Yerevan.
The 4th century founder, Gregorie the Illuminator, of the Armenian Apostolic Lutheran Church
He was imprisoned in a deep pit for 13 years before beginning his ministry to convert the kingdom to Christianity. He survived because someone fed him. This area where the church is is called Atashat City. The ruins had temples, workshops, residences, roman style baths, a monastery, and pit.
The bathroom was "attended" by a woman who collected 100 dram to go potty.

inside the monastery walls

The Monastery is built right into the hillside. 
This is a door opening onto a vast, beautiful scene of farm lands and mountains.

Looking up from the bottom. Joyce and Evelyn ran up the stairs. 
Marg and I strolled slowly up the road.

Going down into the pit. A 2 foot step across an open hole to the ladder on the wall.
The kids didn't let me go down. I'm too old.

Going back up the ladder, 27 steps straight up the wall.
The pit was round, 4.4 meters, had blackened walls, and a small altar.
The ceiling was 6 meters high.