Wonderful Armenia

Welcome to Armenia
Welcome to Armenia

Ich bin in Yerevan, der Hauptstadt Armeniens. Ich bin bereits am frühen Samstagabend hier angekommen, nachdem ich am Morgen gleich 2 Gipfel des Aragats bestiegen habe. Gestern (Sonntag, Tag 80 der Tour) hab ich mir hier einen Ruhetag gegönnt und mein Equipment gereinigt usw.

Heute geht's weiter durch das bergige armenische Hinterland. Das Wetter ist gut und die geschätzten 4 Tage bis zur iranischen Grenze werden sicher aufregend. 

I am in Armenia. It's great and I am very happy about it. I arrived here late on Saturday afternoon after climbing Aragats in the morning. Yerevan is a great city and I really needed a rest day yesterday to recover and clean my equipment.

Today I will continue towards Iran. It'll probably take me 4 days until the border. I look forward to the way. It will be hilly but should be very beautiful and the weather is looking good.


Time to say good bye. Good luck on your journey, Nam!
Time to say good bye. Good luck on your journey, Nam!

4 days ago, after I finally got my Iran-Visa in Tbilisi I said goodbye to my good friend Nam who is continuing through Azerbaijan.

Die letzten Tage waren sehr anstrengend. Nachdem ich endlich mein Iran-Visum bekommen habe, bin von Tiflis allein weiter gefahren. Mein guter Freund Nam reist auf einer anderen Route weiter über Azerbaijan und wir werden uns erst im Herbst in München wieder sehen.

My camp
My camp

Initially both the roads and the weather improved but not for long. After 90km, 10km before the border I got caught in a huge thunderstorm. I found a shelter and got settled for the night.

Das gute Wetter und die guten Straßen, die ich aus Tiflis raus hatte, hielten nicht lange. Nach 90km musste ich dann endgültig die Segel streichen und mein Camp in einem Picknick - Platz einrichten. Es gab ein starkes Gewitter und hat die ganze Nacht geregnet. Die "Straße" verwandelte sich erneut in einen Sumpf. 

First view of Aragats, highest mountain of Armenia
First view of Aragats, highest mountain of Armenia

I crossed the border the next morning. It was again a weird experience. I wish I could take photos or videos of some of those border crossing but that is illegal.

Am nächsten Morgen ging es dann über die Grenze. Die Straßen waren direkt viel besser. Das Wetter leider nicht.

Die Armenier sind sichtlich erfreut, wenn ich berichte, dass ich aus Deutschland komme. Mir gefällt auch das Essen hier sehr gut und es ist sehr billig.

The Armenians are very friendly towards Germany and the get excited when they ask me where I am from ("Otkuda?") and I answer "Germania". The German government (like many other European governments) has just acknowledged that the massacres of Armenians by the Ottoman empire between 1915 and 1922 were in fact a genocide. 

Right after the border the streets were improving. The weather however was not. I made lots of stops to shelter from the rain. Eventually I found another roof that I camped under. It rained the heavily the whole night.

A roof is always good but is never 100% dry.

Near the end of a 1km long tunnel. Almost no light. Scary.
Near the end of a 1km long tunnel. Almost no light. Scary.

The following day it kept raining but I wanted to reach Mount Aragats.

I had to do a lot of climbing that day.

On the first pass I was surprised to see a tunnel. I didn't recognise it as such in the map.

This was the first 'real tunnel' of the trip: I didn't know how long it was (about 1km). There was basically no light. It was dark and narrow. Luckily there was a sidewalk. The sidewalk was almost one meter above street level and as wide as my bike. It was too dangerous to cycle and pushed the bike the whole way. It was cool and I was glad that I didn't have to cycle over the mountain. It saved me a few hundred hight meters.

Es waren noch zahlreiche Berge und Pässe bis zum Aragats zu überwinden. Auf halber Strecke am zweiten Pass des Tages überraschte mich ein Tunnel, den ich auf der Karte nicht erkannt habe. Obwohl der Tunnel sehr schmal, lang (ca. 1km) und praktisch unbeleuchtet war, bin ich sehr froh gewesen, denn er ersparte mir etliche hundert Höhenmeter und viel Zeit. Am Rand gsb es einen schmalen Fußweg und ich hab mein Bike darauf durch den Tunnel geschoben.

The final ascent too Kari Lake was about 1700m up over 30km. Kari Lake is at 3100m and the perfect starting point for hiking Aragats.

I cycled to about 2500m. I had a slow puncture in the rear wheel and pumped it up a few times. It didn't help and I had to change the tube. 13th puncture, first one since Turkey. It was getting late and clouds were moving. It was cold and wet too. I flagged down a car and I got a lift to Kari Lake. I'm a little sad now that I didn't cycle all the way up. On the other hand: I stayed dry and got to rest a little better before my attempt to hike Mount Aragats. 

Aragats west peak, viewed from south peak
Aragats west peak, viewed from south peak

At Kari lake there is a hotel. It cost about 30€ per night. There is also a former Soviet research facility with many old buildings.

I opted to camp in one of the buildings. It had a roof but no windows/doors. There was lots of snow inside and outside the house. It was very cold.

I melted lots of snow to drink many teas and went to bed early. My sleeping bag really keeps me very warm even in the hardest conditions; very happy about my choice.

Am Kari-See gibt es eine ehemalige sovietische Forschungseinrichtung. Ich hab mein Camp in einem der verfallenen Gebäude eingerichtet. Es war extrem kalt mit eisigem Wind. Fenster und Türen gab es nicht, aber es gab genug Schnee, mit dem ich mir heißen Tee machen konnte. Es gab hier auch ein Hotel, recht günstig für 30€ pro Nacht, aber das schien mir zu einfach.

That's me on the west peak. South peak is in the background
That's me on the west peak. South peak is in the background

I have to cut the story short here, I need to leave: I climbed the south peak (3890m) and the west peak (4080m). It was awesome but because of the snow very tough. That is also why I didn't climb the north peak (4090m); another 4km through the hip - deep snow.

When I came back to my base camp at 3100m I decided to cycle to Yerevan. It was just really cold and having a rest day in Yerevan seemed very appealing. 

On the south peak
On the south peak

Ich bin früh um 6Uhr von meinem Base Camp auf 3100m los. Ums kurz zu machen: Ich hab den Südgipfel (3890m) und den Westgipfel (4080m) bestiegen. Es war geil und wegen dem tiefen Schnee sehr anstrengend. Der Nordgipfel (4090m) war weitere 4km entfernt und bei den Schnee-Bedingungen wollte ich mir das nicht antun.

Zurück im Base Camp entschied ich, gleich nach Yerevan zu fahren. Es war extrem kalt auf 3100m und ein Ruhetag in der armenischen Haupstadt hatte ich mir redlich verdient.