Page 15 of Redheadpeter Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Georgia May 23rd 2012

Geo: 42.6567, 44.6433Every mountain I have seen on the trip so far, with the possible exception of Mount Ararat, just pales into insignificance, and these pile peak upon peak - even on an overcast day.We left Tbilisi at 9 headed first for Mtskheta, the religious and spiritual capital of Georgia, with its large cathedral built in 1010-29 on the site of a much earlier church that dated back to the 4th century. This one was considered to be so magnificent that they chopped off the architect's right arm so he could never work on anything else (scant reward for doing a good job, I say)Then we headed north on the Georgian Military Highway, this has existed as a route through the Great Caucusus since the first century BC, turned into a carraige road by the Russians ... read more
A few sheep
See that monastery on top of that hill?
Another architect

Asia » Georgia May 22nd 2012

Geo: 41.6941, 44.8337Tbilisi, it somehow has a magic ring to it, somehow more exotic than it will prove to be in reality. My new guide was there promptly this morning, nice bright young lady who trained as psychologist but makes more money as a tour guide. So I have her and a driver all week. Turns out she is from Abkhazia, though Georgian, and is more sympathetic to my going to Russia that way. She is going to make enquiries about the position on the various border crossings for me.We walked a lot generally to viewpoints looking over parts of the city and to churches of Georgian, Armenian and Jewish persuasion. Georgian churches much more decorated than Armenian with frescoes, an iconostasis (? right word) somehow like Russian Orthodox, lots of icons, lots of people kissing ... read more

Asia » Georgia » Tbilisi District » Tbilisi May 21st 2012

Geo: 41.72, 44.79Monday, my last day in Armenia, and quite uneventful. Gregor had two monasteries for me to see en route to Tbilisi. Both big monastery complexes close to each other, Sanahin which means older than the other and Haghpat which means the one with the big wall, all very unoriginal - to get to the first one we had to drive through a Soviet era housing estate of crumbling apartment blocks. One odd thing I haven't mentioned is the gas pipes, I know I know, what can be interesting about them! Well all our gas pipes are underground, the ones in Armenia, and Georgia it seems, were underground but they had problems with leaks and explosions so they moved them all above ground and painted them yellow. So there is this warren of yellow pipes ... read more
Me pretending to be a trainee monk
Front end of mig fighter
and the back - no engine!

Asia » Armenia May 20th 2012

Geo: 40.7471, 44.8726I've written all this once before, saving it as a draft email in the absence of wifi to send it and in trying to copy and paste it managed to delete it all.. So when last we spoke I had arrived in the pleasant hotel in Goris, yummy honey at breakfast, and been to see the Tatev monastery without being able to take the cable car.. Next day, Saturday, we headed back North with a first stop at the Armenian Stonehenge, as they call it. Well stonehenge it isn't but it is an impressive collection of standing stones in an oval with intersecting arc and other standing stones some with holes in the top which they claim means it was a prehistoric observatory, some armenian professor has even done a study and written a ... read more
A sheep shaped gravestone
Inside the Caravanserai
The Shepherds on their lunch break

Asia » Armenia May 18th 2012

Geo: 39.5023, 46.3364So today we headed way down south in the country, passing close to the borders with Turkey (closed), Azerbaijan (closed) and in the direction of Iran (border open and judging by number of iranian trucks probably a bit of sanction busting going on. Visited three monasteries, all interesting in their own way but made special by location, all close to or in mountain countries with snow capped peaks by the dozen.Khor Virap monastery, famous because Gregory the Illuminator - who brought Christianity to Armenia, was imprisoned In a dungeon on the site for 13 years before healing the Kings son which persuaded the king that Christianity might be a good thing.. (It's in wikipedia too folks, you better believe it). And I went down the pit. Then to Noravank, perched high on a cliff ... read more
Gregory the Illuminator's cave
A stork and her chick on top of a pole
Me descending some precipitous steps

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan May 17th 2012

Geo: 40.1596, 44.509Short report today 'cos I have to pack and get ready to leave in the morning. Staying in Goris tomorrow night then a guest house in Dillijan for two nights, wifi might not be available. Today was four churches and a Greco-roman temple, the only one in the Caucusus apparently. It is the age of some of these places that is astonishing, one church - St Hripsime' - was built in 618 over the saints mausoleum which had been built in 395. She was a nun who fled Rome to escape persecution (before Rome became Christian) and arrived in Armenia only to be killed by King Tradt III, because he wanted her to marry him and she wouldn't, that must have been 2nd century. , chanced on a service today at the cathedral in ... read more
The service in progress
The Catholicos arrives
A shaft of light

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan May 16th 2012

Geo: 40.1596, 44.509As you may have seen from the quick upload I did this morning of Mount Ararat it dawned clear and sunny and it stayed sunny enough and I was in- and - out of the car and then found I had walked 15 minutes in the sun and the factor 30 was back in the car, result - stupidly, a bit of sunburn. It stayed clear long enough to get some more pics of Ararat, first as we drove up to 2000 metres on the southern slope of Mount aragat (pay attention now, don't confuse your Ararat with your Aragat, there's a mount ara as well) to see a Fort and a church. On the way up Gregor said he could hear a funny noise from the car, I walked alongside while he drove ... read more
In the distance Amberd church and fortress
The picnic girls

Asia » Armenia » West » Yerevan May 15th 2012

Geo: 40.1596, 44.509Well the train didn't exist, somewhere along the line - in April I think - someone decided that instead of running trains from Tbilisi to Yerevan on even dated days and back on odd dated days, they would do it the other way round! Not having the luxury of being late to Armenia the only option was to get off the train and straight onto a bus or minibus to Yerevan, 5 hours away. At Tbilisi got to minibus station and got last seat on a minibus to Yerevan, problem was it was in back row where the seats are raised up and my head was above window level and I couldn't see out. Two Japanese guys on the minibus and when we stopped at roadside kebab place for lunch there was a motorcycle ... read more
Mother Armenia
Me with Mount Ararat in the background
Mount Ararat

Asia » Georgia » Adjara » Batumi May 13th 2012

Geo: 41.6517, 41.6562Uncomfortable bus ride to Hopa. Not a full size bus but a large minibus, very crowded, lots of Russian and Ukranian ladies returning from doing 'business' in Turkey, so I knew who to follow to catch the mini-mini-bus to the border. Immigration lady really friendly, gave me a big smile and a "Welcome to Georgia" - don't think she sees many UK passports.One downer is that according to the lady at the rail station here my train Tbilisi to Yerevan tomorrow night does not exist, runs odd dates only, not even, which is contrary to everything else I read anywhere. Hey-ho, means I may trade an overnight train ride for a long bus ride and an extra night in a hotel. Don't mind really. See what they say at Tbiisi stationI did sit in ... read more

Middle East » Turkey May 12th 2012

Geo: 39.9073, 41.2763Wifi has been a bit thin on the ground ,or should that be in the air? Certainly none on this train ,which takes care of almost 20 hours.(ankara to erzurum). I thought there was on my istanbul to ankara bus, but it turned out to be the one parked next to us in the otogar (bus station) and when it left it took the Wifi with it The istanbul otogar,what an experience. You enter this huge space,about the size of two or even three football stadia with a road all the way round the edge and parking in the middle. All the way round the outside are bus company ticket offices with cafes etc above, and behind them another wide road where all the coaches wait to load up. And it has a dedicated ... read more
Ladies in mourning
Makes me sad
Spice market

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