Armenia is a country that is nothing if not proud of its history. As they should be. It is one of the most ancient of geographic areas in the world with a great rich history.
The city of Yerevan is also a very old, but has a very modern vibe to it. Two examples are the way the people dress. The women of Armenia are drop dead gorgeous; stunning. And they dress the part. Every other girl has either high-heeled pumps or some dazzling fashionista shoes. The majority of them are ALWAYS dressed up anytime of day.
Now, me personally back in the States, I did not like to go out with any girl and have them dress on a different level. If they are dressed up, then I’m going to dress up. I gather the Armenian men have the same game plan. They too, for the most part dress well. They (the younger generation) seem to have invented “metrosexual”. And all men wear stylish shoes, too. For example on the far end of the spectrum we saw a guy walking with his girlfriend with a man-purse. A real life man-purse (a clutch). And he was owning it!
They have high end stores throughout the city, not just in a central area. They have a obvious appreciation for art. In every major Square there are not only fountains but also grand pieces of public art.
The overwhelming impression I got was “New York”.
*** The previous statements were grand generalizations about the people in Armenia, Yerevan specifically. These generalizations are not to be taken as literal statistical facts about them or their culture. It is merely for a mental point of reference for me. Take them or leave them.***
The Penthouse Hostel
One of the hostels we stayed at was The Penthouse Hostel. It was very inexpensive. It offers private rooms and the dorm. They had the cutest little lady cook breakfast for us every morning. The staff was very helpful in helping us line up excursions out of town. I was very pleased. The other hostel our traveling party stayed at was called, The Envoy Hostel. I didn’t get to look in nor stay at that one.
As the majority of our crew was trickling into the city over the next couple of days, Brooke, Chris and I decided to go exploring. We visited the Armenian National History Museum. The first exhibit was about the pre history of the Armenian region. Fortunately it had English script to follow along. But the rest of the museum was straight up Armenian or Russian script (which I don’t understand either).
[ In thinking back on the trip, I didn’t think to try to learn even one word of Armenian. Not even ‘hello’. I think it’s because I have such a daunting task of learning Georgian, that anything else would be overload right now.]
The trip to the museum did give me great ideas for excursions out of the city, however. So stay tuned for that!
After museum, we walked to an area called The Cascades. This park/ art museum was built by a wealthy American-Armenian. It’s been seven years in the making so far. And still has some years to go. But it’s a stunning display of public art. The views of the city are breathe taking.
The layout of the city was planned out with the pedestrian, parks and walkways in mind. Circling the city are arcs of greenways and parks. There are several major city squares for concerts and gatherings.
We wanted to end up at Republic Square at nightfall. So beforehand, we searched for a restaurant that served authentic Armenian food. The place was recommended by one of our hostel clerks. But for the life of us, we couldn’t find it. And as fate would have it, the restaurant that we finally did choose was the largest pizzeria chain in the Caucasian region. I must reiterate- not largest pizzeria in only Armenia, but the Caucasian Region! Opf.
I refused to eat pizza (besides the fact that they regularly put mayonnaise on it and most things ‘American’). I had my mind set on Armenian food. Chris had it, though.
It’s funny how English speakers simply pop up when you need them. Our original waitress wasn’t even going to mess around trying to understand us. So she got another waitress who spoke English well. When Chris ordered pepperoni pizza, she informed him, in a warning tone, “The pepperoni is pork.” With a reply of acceptance from Chris, she was slightly stunned.. “I said PORK. And that’s ok?”
At nightfall, we went to Republic Square. There they had a water show at the fountains. The water was set to lights and music. People were out in force enjoying the beautiful evening.
We finished off the night meeting some hostel mates for a drink at a bar called The Beatles. The friends were from Israel and Finland. We had a good ol’ time. I tried to find a recommended dance club.