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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.'

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 - thank you Ian) Having said that, you don't need much - just for drinks, a couple of snacks (they are not expensive) and tips. In any case, all the restaurants and hotels we went to took credit cards.  I used my card a couple of times and didn't spend any more than about £25.

2) The roads are "work in progress."  There were quite long journeys in our mini bus (as there were only 9 of us), and roads were twisty and bumpy either due to the terrain or  the avoidance of potholes / road works.  In some other areas, the upgrade is complete so it's not all bad. More will have been finished by the time of the next trip.  These longish days did allow us to see as much of this small country as possible.  The scenery is wonderful and our lovely local guide (Armenie), gave us excellent  commentaries on all aspects of Armenian life, culture and history. There was bottled water available on the bus.

3) You need to be reasonably fit and mobile and have good footwear as access to some of the sites have many steps and uneven surfaces and some are dark too ! However, we didn't need to cover heads or wear 'saris' to go in the monasteries.

4) The Tufenkian Historic hotel is comfortable and well located in the capital (which is safe to walk out - even at night)and we were taken to very nice restaurants for our meals out.  They served good food and wine with plenty of locally grown salads, fruit and vegetables.
Our city tour of Yerevan was rather rushed and we didn't have time to go back to places that would have benefitted from a longer look. But I appreciate this is a new tour and the itinerary will probably be tweeked for future trips. It really needs to be a day longer as there is so much more to see and it would be a shame to miss out anything that we did see.

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

It was the genuine warmth and generosity of the people that made a big impression with me.  Like Georgia, Armenia is anxious to expand the tourism industry to help their economy and as Roger said in his Georgia report, now is a good time to go before it gets too commercial.    Hope this is useful,  Happy travels,  Joany
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Post: #2
Hi Joany

Thank so much for this very useful review.  I am doing this trip with add on in September and the advice re sterling is very welcome.

Really looking forward to the trip and glad to hear you enjoyed it.  Hopefully the tweaks you mention will be taken on board.

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