Today I am leaving Armenia to head back to Tbilisi. I have decided to take a minibus rather than wait until 3:30pm for the train, plus I’ve heard that it’s quite a different experience and I wanted to try both. On the taxi ride to the Kilikia bus station I can see that Ararat is entirely shrouded in cloud today.
I arrived at 11am and waited in a minibus until 12:15pm for us to leave but then we were on our way! There is plenty of space on the bus in terms of seats and legroom which is a huge relief! The tickets cost 7,000 dram (£11).
The driver is a lunatic. On his phone and driving way too fast round these bends, making everyone reach out to grab the seat in front frequently.
The landscape is beautiful!
The journey took us through Dilijan and then North East to the border with Nagorno-Karabakh and interestingly we passed two other Azerbaijani exclaves which, since the war which claimed Nagorno-Karabakh, also defacto claimed the two, now abandoned villages.
We are now in the 2km wide corridor with Nagorno-Karabakh on our right and Verin Voskepar to our left but there is an abandoned settlement right by the road that was caught up in the fighting. The heat of the summer parches the whole area so in September this place looks more barren than ever.
There are wild fires in some areas which thankfully aren’t too bad for us to see but they come right down to the road!
We reached the border in unbelievable time and then the driver got out to change some money but I wasn’t allowed to get out to buy wine! We went to the border and I had the most pitiful selection of Armenian wine to choose from which sucked because I had expected we might stop along the way.
The rest of the journey through Georgia was no better or worse and we arrived at Avlabari Station at 5:20pm. I had been speaking to Cassiana, the orthodentist I met in Yerevan and she is up in Kazbegi, north of Tbilisi and has invited me to join her. So I’m going to see if I can get a bus or shared taxi up there tonight.