Parental Visit

The parents recently (and by “recently” I mean a month and a half ago, I occasionally procrastinate writing blog posts) visited for an action-packed ten days of sight-seeing, meeting the Armenian family, and trying every food under the Armenian sun. I’ll keep the description short and let the pictures do the talking.

We began the visit with a restful day in Yerevan – recovering from jet lag induced by an eight-hour time difference, eating at some go-to spots (e.g. Green Bean, Yerevan’s most western-style café but still boasting some tasty Armenian dishes, so a good transition for newly-arrived folks), and putzing around to the required beautiful Yerevan sites such as the Cascade. We were lucky enough to have a clear day, providing great views of Ararat (see picture below – many major streets, and the steps of the Cascade, are oriented to point towards the sacred mountain).

At the top of the Cascade, with Ararat in the background.

From Yerevan it was south to Goris, where with our excellent local guide Ara we saw a variety of sites, including but not limited to: Karahunj/Armenian Stonehenge; Shaki waterfall; Vorotnavank monastery; the cave city of old Khndzoresk; and of course, beautiful Tatev monastery. I appreciate every opportunity to feel like a tourist in Armenia, especially in an area so beautiful and full of fascinating old sites as the Goris region. As when Kim visited back in May, we stayed at the “barrel houses” near Tatev, and were lucky enough to have Mary taxi up to join us for a dinner overlooking the gorge.

Overlooking Vorotnavank, an old monastery near Sisian.
On the swinging bridge (it more shakes vigorously than swings, especially in high winds) over the gorge of old Khndzoresk.
Sitting atop the remains of an old church near Sisian.

From Goris it was up to Margahovit, where we had a very accurate Armenian village experience: day one was spent entirely at a barbecue up in the valley overlooking the village, and day two was spent mostly paying house calls to my important Margahovit people – Emilia, her in-laws (fellow volunteer Lauren’s host family), and Lena. We also went on a different beautiful hike everyday, and on our last morning before departing ate khash, the classic and very polarizing Caucasian broth of boiled cows’ hooves.

Host folks Vartush and Lento preparing kebabs at our barbecue.
Food, so much tasty food.
From our barbecue spot, Margahovit in the background further down the valley.
Family picture post-barbecue.

Finally, we paid a visit to my PST host family in Aralez, with lots of getting to know each other, strolls around the expansive garden and, you guessed it, more tasty food.

Marianna playing with Dad in Aralez.
Family meal in Aralez.

So, all in all, a very full and wide-ranging visit packed into ten days. I head to Greece next week to see Kim, then will be home for two weeks at the end of January. Next blog post will be about our ongoing work in the village, including our plans for a very cool camp for local girls coming up!