Majestic Mount Ararat

Just like Yeravan, the plains we cycled through now, always close to the turkish border, were dominated by Mt. Ararat, of which i made a looot of pictures…
It’s a bit hard to see, but following this traktor ploughing the field, there was a bunch of crows and two storks, hopping behind, lurking for worms or other treats the plough would dig up.
Taking a little detour to visit the famous Kor Virap Monastery, with arguably one of the best views on Mt. Ararat, my bicycle liked the view so much it decided to get a flat tire just on the spot. So i spend the next hour fixing my bike with the best view possible.
This are had a lot of storks. Every village had at least a few of those nests.

But when i was finished fixing my bicycle, the day was already coming to an end. The night before we were wildcamping and we intended to do the same, the nights were getting already very wamt in May. We were searching for a nice place to camp, but left and right of the road, there was only fields or swamps. Generally this area was very wet and with the coming dusk there were also more and more mosquitos out. It quickly became the arguably strongest mosquito attack of the year. As soon as we stopped somewhere, there were instantly 10 specimen sitting on each of us, preparing to suck our blood. And even during cycling they didn’t leave us alone. It was dark by now and the road bumpy aswell, so when we came to a village, where the mosquitos are comparably less than in the open field, Hiang-Hsin decided to find a spot to camp right there. She went to ask at one house but the dog who lived there didn’t like us and let us know, so we went a little further down the road. I still feel a bit awkward knocking at people’s door and ask them to sleep in their yard rightaway. But there was no discussion, Hsiang-Hsin HATES mosquitos, and this situation was indeed a bit extreme. So after knocking another door, the people didn’t understand us and send us to their neighbours, where the daughter speaks english. They were greeting us with a smile, and after describing our situation, they let us in. But how so often when we asked for a place to put up a tent, this was quickly out of discussion and they asked us inside. Although they already had dinner, they quickly warmed up some food for us and what followed was a feast, where we discovered several dishes for the first time (and some for the only time in our whole trip).

Like usually, most of the food pictures are taken by Hsiang-Hsin. I am usually impatiently waiting for her to get the right shot, but later usually happy to have some memories of what is actually so important when experiencing other cultures: The Food!
After serving us the soup they went out and came back with Lavash, a flat bread, that is as thin as it is long and that is stored dry and when the day comes where they want to eat it, they spray water on it, so it becomes soft again. It is common all over the region, and in Iran it’s almost everywhere (although slightly different) but the first time, when we saw the ladys coming in with an 1m long cracker that night, we couldn’t stop laughing.
While we were eating, this naughty guy was constantly pushing the door open. The door was closing itself, so he had a funny game to play. Never coming inside, but curiously pushing the door open every 20 seconds, showing us his face filled with joy.
What’s that? Olives? We also saw this for the first time, and it took us a while to figure out what it is. It’s walnuts! If you ever picked walnuts with your own hands, you probably know that the nuts how we know them are actually the core of a fruit, which is usually left to rot under the tree. But for these kind of “pickles”, they collect the walnut fruits in summer, long before the nuts get their hard shell. Then they peel them and boil them over several days in sugar water. What’s left are sweet kompott-like fruits with a nutty flavour and a very nice syrup, that tastes also nice itself. We never seen that anywhere before and also never encountered it anywhere afterwards.
Here a close-up of one of them open. They taste much nicer than they look!
When we already were full, they took some joghurt, added water, cucumber, some herbs and put in old bread: A cold kind of yoghurt-soup. We had no choice than trying that dish as well. And: No regrets! Delicious!

While being covered in food and more food, we also started to get to know the family: The father and his son worked as watermelon farmers and showed us videos of how they collect the ripe melons. The daughter, who spoke good English is studying international relationships and is currently writing her thesis on the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. She would like to study in Egypt later, and therefore is also learning Arabic right now. And next to the lady of the house and her sister, who were spoiling us with all the food, there was also an uncle, who works as a mechanic. He showed us his hands, which were almost pitchblack and he told us that’s after he washed them. He was also responsible for the entertainment that night, showing us videos of turned over trucks or other accidents on the TV.

This was the view the next morning. For a second i was abandoning all my plans to just start a new life and camp in this garden forever and to have this view every morning.
But then i remembered that we promised this nice family that we will just stay for one night. And so we made a last few photos before we started pedaling again.
And after all, in this area, pretty much anything looks magnificent with Mt. Ararat in the background. Be it some car skelletons…
…or Hsiang-Hsin 😉 This was our last chance to go back to Yerevan and enjoy the view of Mt. Ararat and his little brother a little longer. But we followed our way further down south, towards other, equally buatiful landscapes.
These days, we also got a new addition to our roadside-food assortment: Mulberries! Which is still following us in Iran now.
Another stork 🙂
When i think of it, Armenia has quite a lot of old car shells, often repurposed, like in this case into a… bus stop? Not sure, but it made for a nice shot for certain!
Maybe less than 1km away from the road, we could see the borderline with Naxcivan, an enclave of Azerbaidjan, surrounded by Turkey, Iran and it’s arch enemy Armenia, which of course also claims this area. This region has quite a lot of unresolved disputes around borderlines, genocides and military conflicts. Just around 50 km eastwards, there is a border with another territory, Nagorno-Karabach, which is it’s own state, although not recognized by the UN, and also basically controlled by Armenia. But of course, also claimed by Azerbaidjan, to which it still belongs, according to most governments.
After Yerevan, the road was quite flat for a while, always with a good view on these two giants that dominate this plateau. But from now on it would go up again. Our last views of Mount Ararat where covered in dark clouds, it started to rain occasionally. Ironically, we were quite thirsty and our drinking water was almost completely finished. The road in front of us was steadily going uphill, without any shelter in sight or any place to get water. And then my bike started to behave weird, the lower gears were always jumping, making it really annoying to pedal uphill. So we started to push, while the sun was also slowly dissapeared behind the mountains. The mountains that looked so inviting and familiar just a few hours ago, had changed their appearance. They looked majestic as before, but now they radiated some kind of intimidating desolation. What to do?
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7 thoughts on “Majestic Mount Ararat

  1. Hey, nice to see you had a great time around Mount Ararat.
    Mulberry time around here in Germany is already over but found quite some well hung trees here in Erkner.
    Also considered planting a tree in my front garden, but I don’t think there is enough place left, even if there are small growing sorts.
    I know, the pickled walnuts don’t look very delicious, but I also heard of it and the preparation delicacy sounds very interesting, that i always wanted to taste this stuff. However I never had the opportunity but I’m happy to see you had the joy to taste em.
    Oh no, sounds like your bike will need a new chain and gear wheels, hope everything turns out good.
    I really enjoy your blog and always looking forward for your next report.

    Have a good time, best wishes from good oll’ nasty Germanji.

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    1. Oh , i didn’t know we have Mulberrys in Germany 😀 We never encountered them on the road, when doing our first steps from Berlin to Germany one year ago.
      The walnut i definitely want to try next time i have the chance. My parents have a walnut tree… But i would have to search for the recipe again, i kind of forgot, what exactly they told us.

      The Fortsetzung will coming soon, but i will spoiler, we survived it 😉

      Greetings back!

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  2. Wow, das ist mein Dorf und das ist die Familie von meinem Cousin. Daneben ist mein Elternhaus, hab mich sehr gefreut, die Fotos zu sehen. Finde schon echt cool, mit dem Fahrrad von Deutschland nach Taiwan zu fahren und so viel auf dem Weg zu erleben. Ich wünsche euch ganz viel Spaß für den weiteren Weg.
    Liebe Grüße aus Würzburg.
    Lusine

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  3. Wow, das ist mein Dorf und das ist die Familie von meinem Cousin. Daneben ist mein Elternhaus, hab mich sehr gefreut, die Fotos zu sehen. Finde schon echt cool, mit dem Fahrrad von Deutschland nach Taiwan zu fahren und so viel auf dem Weg zu erleben. Ich wünsche euch ganz viel Spaß für den weiteren Weg.
    Liebe Grüße aus Würzburg.
    Lusine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Das ist schön! Vielen Dank an die ganze Familie nochmal, uns so herzlich willkommen zu haben. Und danke für die virtuellen Blumen und die Wünschen.

      Liebe Grüße nach Würzburg!

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