We already knew we wouldn’t spend too much time in Armenia. We were kind of eager to get to Iran, because we were afraid it would get too hot later on. So we planned to hitchhike most of the way, also because Armenia is really, really mountainious. Our first stop was Yerevan, where Hsiang-Hsin would pick up her visa for Iran. Unlike me, she was refused over the online procedure and had to apply over a travel agency, which takes a few days. I got my visa already in Tbilisi.
After the bike was fixed, the sun was already saying good bye and we planned to camp nearby, but we wanted to eat something first and we asked if they knew a restaurant in this village. We specifically asked for soup and one of the workers told us he knew a Hotel nearby where they also have soup. We were afraid it’s a bit far because this village didn’t look like there would be a hotel nearby, but he assured us it’s very close. So he drove ahead and we followed him on the bikes through the village and already wondered where there would be a hotel in this little village’s back streets, until we turned into the driveway of one of the houses: He tricked us!
The major goal while in Yerevan, was to get Hsiang-Hsins Visa for Iran, so we could get there before it would get too hot. She got an Invitation Letter from a Travel Agency before, so she was ready to apply. After an annoying procedure, where she went up on the hill (Yerevan is very hilly!) to the embassy, where they told her she could get the Visa later that day, if she would pay right now, went a few kilometers down the hill to the only bank where she was allowed to pay the fee, and up again (did i mention that Yerevan is very hilly?), racing to make it in time back to the embassy, and after they told her that she could come back in two days, because tomorrow is a holiday, and she already contemplated to not go to Iran , she finally got her Visa. We left Yerevan on the same day, but on the way out we visited a museum about a very interesting Armenian and his art: Edward Ter-Ghazaryan.
If you are interested about this artist and his art: In Yerevan just opened this museum completely dedicated to him, run by his grandson, who is also engaging in miniature art. On Tripadvisor you can find some more information.
After visiting the museum we were almost ready to leave Yerevan, but there was one last thing we wanted to see. On our way out, we passed a Shopping Mall, where, according to a friend, during the construction they found an ancient tomb. Because they didn’t want to stop building, but could also not just destroy the tomb, they just built the mall around it. So it came that among all the fashion stores and cafes, there is buried some king or the like. Apparently you could just visit this grave by asking around. And indeed when we asked the guard, he knowingly nodded and sent us downstairs. But when we got out of the elevator there was no sign of a grave, just a band playing in immense loudness, and a film crew shooting an advertisement.
We asked another security, who just pointed in one direction. We followed his finger but could not find anything. After walking a round, asking two other people who obviously had no idea what we were talking about and coming back to the band, we found another guard who then brought us to another person who guided us through the parking area (we were already not sure if they understood what we are searching for) and finally to a woman working at some kind of cloakroom. He told her some things in armenian, and we were already sure this was a misunderstanding and thinking that we really are wasting our time in here, while it would get dark soon, and we didn’t even left Yerevan. But then she went into the back to get her purse. Out of this purse she conjured up a little key. With this key the guard led us through other corridors, and finally guided us out of the mall. At the side of the wall, there was a little house, with a staircase going down to a wooden door, locked by the key we just picked up. Finally we got to se the tomb! To be honest the whole adventure to find this ancient grave was maybe more exciting than the site itself, but it was funny how the guard and another employee, who just happened to take a smoke break outside, joined us to see the grave they obiously never visited, albeit working just next to it, and discussed the descriptions next to it with us in sign language.
After this it was really time to leave, because the sun was already sending it’s last rays over Yerevan, and we still had half of Armenia in front of us. And off we cycled, our eyes always on Mt. Ararat.