“Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle
another side of Armenia
by Taline Kuyumjian
Working with Depi Adventures to plan a family trip to Armenia was a dream. Planning with Nune was fun (and easy!). She was easily able to take our ideas and turn it into a complete trip - adding in things we didn't even know to think of! She was great at adapting the schedule to fit our interests (like visiting Etchmiadzin during mass). Artak was a fun, kind, and generous guide. He was fantastic! We had such a good time getting to know him and learning from him. There was nothing he didn't know - we tried to stump him, but he had answers to all our questions! Artak clearly has a passion for Armenia, and we loved getting to know the country through his eyes. Garin was an excellent driver. We felt safe with him, both on crazy city streets and when up in mountains on windy, patchy roads.
We loved Geghard. It was incredibly beautiful. We also loved getting to explore Bird Cave, Zvarnots, Noravank, Ani Viewpoint... everything. The food was also great (Cave Cafe!!!). We enjoyed the family style meals a lot, and how it allowed us to see another side of Armenia - especially when music or arts were involved! Also... the surprise! We LOVED the surprise photoshoot. It was a perfect, and hilarious, way to remember our trip. We learned so much about our ancestral homeland thanks to them and hope to return one day soon!
by ANNA ANDREOLI
Our experience with Depi was awesome, we loved the programme and the places that were picked up among hundred others. Me and my husband lived an authentic experience. Our guide was an expert in history, and just a fun person who could tell stuff involving you in the story, not just plain boring history. In short, it was great!
All the accommodations were tip top, comfortable and most had really nice views. Me and my husband loved the food, it was authentic and delicious. The driver and the car were great too. We also loved our guide, such a lovely person! Besides doing her job excellently, she was very friendly and shared some useful info and interesting stories about the places we visited.
We loved the zipline experience in Yenoqavanq, it was pretty awesome. And the scenery was beautiful, all green, and away from cars and noise.
haunting sounds of duduk
by ROBESPIERRE EVASCO
THE ITINERARY In five short days, my friend, my son and I whizzed (not our usual pace) through the world's first Christian nation, starting in Yerevan – one of the world's oldest continuously inhabited cities. Sadly pockmarked with remnants of the Soviet period, the nation has weathered the millennia from ancient riches to near starvation as powerful neighbours have continued to bite off chunks along its borders. Towering in the background is Mount Ararat of Book of Genesis and Noah's Ark fame: this massive giant keeps watch a mere 60 kilometres away. Having a private guide and driver, we could have a pick of where to go on our leisure. We also strolled the halls of the State History Museum, creating an integral picture of Armenia's history and culture from pre-historic times to today.
Our history lessons were richly supplemented with stories of age-old customs, traditional dance and song accompanied by haunting sounds of the duduk, a flute made from local apricot wood. We watched coffee being cooked in sand, sampled Armenian brandy from the Ararat distillery and sat down at every meal to a feast of local meats, herbs, vegetables and fruit, including the plumpest apricots I have ever seen. Although, nothing beats the khashlama and parda!! (To die for).
On our last day, we headed north to the Georgian border, pausing briefly at Sevan monastery on the peninsular of Lake Sevan, the largest body of water in the Caucasus, where I purchased trinkets in local shimmering moonstone and gold-flecked obsidian. As we ascended the Caucasus foothills, we travelled through breathtaking dense forests and peered into soaring vaults of dark, ancient monasteries such as Haghpat which is UNESCO World Heritage listed. We ended our Armenian buffet with a local taste of Armenian coffee on different cafe in the city and last tour around the city proper.