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Published: September 27th 2012
Our last full day in Artsakh. We had a slow start which probably wasn't a good idea in retrospect as one of our destinations was a very long way away and on very difficult roads. While Saro got gas for the car, we visited the iconic Karabagh statues - Tatik-Papik. We then went to buy a SIM card which involved passports and a lot of red tape. We then visited the museum about the fallen fighters in the war. We are now in possession of a book which weighs a ton which was given to Rod for our mother, by the woman who founded the museum and wrote the book. After a little stroll we had coffee and then back to the market for Jingalov Hats and a fried potato bread thing plus fruit for our lunch.
First stop, Gandzasar Monastery which is in a lovely setting at the top of the mountain with fine carvings around the outside of the church. It's a functioning monastery with some new buildings added to the site. Saro showed us a hole in the wall where an Azeri rocket got embedded there. The monastery has been attacked throughout the centuries from the Mongols onwards.
It was time for lunch so we headed down towards the river. One of the hotels has created a lion's head sculpture on the hillside. I had seen Saro's photo on Facebook so I really wanted to see it. It even roars. There was nowhere we could picnic near the lion so further down the road, next to the river, we found a 'rest area'. For about £2 we could picnic at one of the tables. We could also have used a barbecue if we wanted. There was a spring to wash our fruit and veg. A perfect setting to eat lunch.
Our next stop was Dadivank Monastery. I hadn't realised how far away it was from Stepanankert. The tarmac road runs out at one point and becomes a gravel road. It wasn't as bad as some of the unsurfaced roads, but it was a long, long way. The scenery as ever was absolutely amazing. We passed a tank that had been used in the war. The fighters memorial was next to the tank.
We finally arrived at Dadivank. It's a pretty big complex - some of the buildings are ruins while others are being renovated. We had a good look around before setting off back to Stepanakert. The journey back seemed very long especially when it became dark and we couldn't see anything. We tried to find ice cream but none of the small village shops were selling it.
When we finally got back to the hotel, we ordered our food - not in the usual way - Saro negotiated our order in the car park. No-one ever writes anything down but you always get the right food. Another good meal - I am sure I've put on weight but I suspect it's the beer and wine rather than the food. I'll be back on Weightwatchers as soon as I hit the UK!
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