Me in a field of poppies
Next on the agenda was the Geghard Monastery. Once again we drove across the rolling hills and green pastures of the Kotayk region with the spectacular views of Mt Ararat. For not being in modern Armenia it is very visible there. As we moved further back into the mountainous region we saw a field of poppies and the group demanded we stop to get pictures. Rob stayed in the mini-bus as until I insisted he come and take a picture of me. He was beginning to have a full blow allergy attack. He hasn’t really had one of these since we moved to Europe.
As with everyday we were doing the excursion we saw numerous farm animals along the road most were wondering free under the watchful eyes of shepherds, but quite a few were just out there.
At one point we passed a trailer and behind it was a really nice swimming pool. Even in Armenia you can find some white trash values. Finally reaching Geghard Monastery we were amazed by the rushing river down next to the monastery. The power of the water and the violent rushing sound was incredible. I just had to get out in the middle to pose for a picture.
What makes Geghard Monastery special is it partially carved out of the adjacent mountain, surrounded by cliffs. It has also been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the way in Nates bought a braided flower head wreath. Some of us (Rob) tired it on and posed for photos, my big kid.
The church on the main level is ornate with carvings, but so dark we actually had to use the flashes (which I hate to do). Even though it was quite warm outside inside the caves was cool and crisp. Gevorg had been telling us that when he was young they would collect “poison ivy” and sell it at the market to be cooked and eaten. We were skeptical as neither of us thought this was possible (we had both suffered the horrible itchy effects in the past). As we were leaving we saw some stinging nettle plants. It turns out, that was what Gevorg thought was “poison ivy”. Mystery solved! Apparently, stinging nettle is a delicacy in some places and eaten in multiple countries as Anna (from The Netherlands) said they ate soup made form it back home.
Rob, Sun God and King of Fairies
There were little old ladies selling bread, dried fruits, and other items at the entrance. Rob was getting hungry so he bought what looked like a giant bagel. It was a beautiful golden brown and all nice and soft inside. The taste was sweet and reminded me of a Parker House Roll. In the mini-bus on the way to lunch we all literally broke bread together.