Tuesday, September 19, 2006

See Saw

I left Karabakh under a cloud. I had missed the last marshrutka out of town (at a ridiculous 4pm) and was determined to hitch. Somehow I thought the cloud, and its accompanying downpour, would make drivers more sympathetic to my plight. But more than two hours later I hadn't caught anything except a slight cold. I was about to give up when the "special evening express marshrutka" came along and whisked me away to Yerevan. Fantastic! I thought. That is until I got to Yerevan at 1am that is. Not wanting to go to a hotel (too expensive) and unable to go to a homestay (too late) I kept my cool, strolled over to the Genocide memorial overlooking the town centre, and pitched my tent among some bushes. Not only is this camping malarkey a good way to save money, but it can be rather exciting as well. I just had to make sure I awoke early enough the next morning to be able to sneak away without attracting any undue attention (of which I had enough in Karabakh).

There was one main thing left to do around Yerevan, and that was to visit the Holy See of the Armenian church at Echmiadzin, home to Catholicos (their equivalent of the Pope) Garegin II. People expecting the grandeur of the Vatican would be sorely disappointed by the rather humble nature of the place, but its spiritual importance to Armenians is immense. And with that, and a few other bits and bobs, I bade farewell to Armenia as the cooling weather, and my lack of warm clothing, is urging me on to warmer climes.

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