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Published: October 2nd 2012
27 September 2012
Our last day in Artsakh. It's been good staying in one place for three nights. Once we had breakfast we set off, our first destination - the post office. Easier said than done. It took as a while to find it. A very insignificant looking place considering we were in a capital city. It turned out that we had to wait for someone to arrive before we could get the stamps. The 'stamp fairy' arrived 10 minutes later, nonchalantly walking in. She proceeded to try to persuade us to buy commemorative stamps - she had millions of them! We succumbed and bought a couple.
We then set off to Shushi, visit the carpet museum/showroom first. We had a little guide to the stories within the carpets. Apparently, as the people weren't allowed to be in possessions of books, at one time, they told their stories through carpets.
We then visited the Tourist information. Rod was very disappointed that they don't sell posters. Also, the standard off postcards aren't brilliant. We are thinking of going into business with Saro to kick start a bit of merchandising.
Coffee next. The cafe had a pond which had an assortment of ducks, including the most enormous duck I have ever seen. It could hardly waddle it was so overweight, I'll swear it would sink if it tried to swim. There were also about 10 ducklings tearing about who kept us amused with their antics.
And then we were off. Our plan was to drive in a big circuit that would take in the Shikahogh reserve, the Iranian border, the town of Meghri and finally our resting place for the night, Kajaran.
It turned out to be a hell of a long drive. Stepanakert to the border is a long, twisty road - as the crow flies it probably isn't that far but there isn't a straight bit of road so takes a long, long time. Once we were back in Armenia we headed for Goris and the Mirhav for lunch. As expected the food was great - lentil salad, roast veg with tomatoes and cabbage salad.
We then began the marathon drive south. There are two routes to Meghri - we took the long one that takes in the Shikahogh reserve. It is very quiet as it isn't used by the huge Iranian lorries that take the more 'direct route'. It was a beautiful drive but we must have climbed up and down at least 6 mountains - I lost count of how many hair pin bends we went around. There are bears and wolves in the reserve but there was very little chance that we would see any wildlife without hiking through. We finally arrived at the border between Armenia and Iran. The Arax river marks the border. We had to get gas and when we got out of the car, I was surprised to find how hot it was. Apparently, Meghri has the warmest climate in Armenia. We went on our search for figs but none of the shops sold them. Apparently, it was out of season and the only way to find them would be to pick them ourselves if we found a fig tree at the roadside. As it was getting dark it was clear that our mission to taste Meghri figs was at an end!
After driving up a couple of mountains, through clouds, in the dark we finally arrived at Kajaran, our hotel stop for the night. Hotel Kajaran is an old Soviet hotel which has been renovated. The rooms were mega! Separate bedroom with a huge bed, minibar and lots of tv channels which all seemed to be Russian. Nicely decorated and comfortable and very reasonable to.
We had a late evening meal in the restaurant. It was tiny - I can't imagine where everyone would go to eat if the hotel was full. As it happened, there was a group of policemen drinking copious amounts of vodka and bemoaning the legal system. Our food included some sort of potato pattie, aubergine stew and salads. A bit different from other places but just as delicious.
Then it was off to bed in my little palace.
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