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Armenia add on to Undiscovered Georgia
Post: #1
The Armenia add on to 'Undiscovered Georgia' is well worth doing if only to see the similarities and differences between the two countries emerging from 'Soviet times.' Here are a few observations:

1) GBP is not accepted in Armenia so you will need Euros or US$. (We were  not given this information and some would have been stuck had it not been for the help of our TM Ian - thankyou Ian.) Having said that, you don't need much - just for drinks, a couple of snacks and tips. It's not an expensive country and the hotels and restaurants take credit cards.  I think I used my card a couple of times and didn't spend more than £25.

2) The roads are definitely 'work in progress.'  We had quite long days in our mini-bus (there were only 9 of us), and many roads were twisty and and bumpy either from the terrain or from avoiding pot holes and road works. In other areas, this work has already been completed so it's not all bad.  These longish days did allow us to see much of the country in a short time.  The scenery is wonderful and our lovely local guide (Armenie), gave us excellent commentary on all aspects of Armenian life, history and culture. Water was readily available on the bus.

3) You need to be reasonably fit and mobile as there are many steps and uneven surfaces in many of the monasteries, and sometimes dark too ! However, we did not need to cover heads or wear saris to visit the monasteries. 

4) The Tufenkian Historic hotel is well placed in the capital and we were taken to some very nice restaurants for our meals out.  We had good food with plenty of locally grown salad, fruit and vegetables.  Our city tour of Yerevan gave us a quick snapshot of a lovely, interesting capital (which Armenie told us was quite safe to walk out even at night), but we didn't have time to re-visit areas that would have benefitted from a closer look. I am going to suggest that this add-on be a day longer in order allow this.  It is a new tour and think that with a few adjustments it can be even better. There were certainly many things we did not see and it would be a shame to leave out any of the things we did see.

5) The last day, back in Tbilisi needed a better programme as we re-visited the Dry Bridge flea market which we had seen at the beginning of the holiday.  It was only thanks to our TM Ian that the afternoon wasn't totally wasted as we enjoyed a last drink together in an outdoor 'taverna' with live music. 

Both countries are anxious to develop their tourism industry and there were the beginnings of several new hotels, restaurants etc, so as Roger said in his review of Georgia, now is a good time to go before it gets too commercial.  Hope this has been useful,  Happy travels,   Joany
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Post: #2
Thank you for your review of this add on bit. This tour is on my list and I hope to do it one day in the near future.


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Post: #3
I was on the same tour as Joan and I agree with her comments.

The trip is busy, but not too busy. I think it would be a shame to leave anything out of the tour; I think that when travelling as singles it's better to have lots to do and see.

I'm not a fan of included cookery demonstrations and if there is anything I would leave out of this tour, it would be the included cookery lesson. Particularly as on that day we missed out Gremi monastery and we didn't visit Sighnaghi in the evening, because apparently there wasn't time.

There was some discussion about missing out Khor Virap in order to give us more free time in Yerevan. I'm so glad we went ahead and followed the itinerary, because the views of Mount Ararat from the monastery were spectacular and the monastery was well worth a visit.

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