Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 5 - Back to Tbilisi!

Monday morning we awoke to a beautiful surprise! For the first time since our arrival in Yerevan, Mt. Ararat was completely visible through clear blue skies.  Mario had been really disappointed to that point that it wasn't visible (he's really into mountains), so I was glad Yerevan granted him that one last request.  We snapped a few pictures of it from the cold open balcony and then gathered our things, ate our breakfast, and set off for the bus station.  On the way we made a short detour to the grocery store so Mario could buy Mt. Ararat brandy and Armenian wine for his parents.  We had a bit of trouble finding the bus stop we needed to catch a bus to the main bus station, so we eventually just took a taxi since taxi service is quite inexpensive in Armenia.  We gave the driver a nice tip since we had Armenian currency we were trying to use up and were at the bus station in no time.  We got some of the last seats on a marshrutka headed to Tbilisi, so we didn't have to wait too long for departure.
Just as we were leaving the city limits, the bus driver pulled over to let a mother and little boy onto the marstrutka.  There was only one seat left, but I assumed the little one would just sit on mama's lap for the 5-6 hour ride.  Well, not quite! Instead, mama sat the little boy into the seat, handed him a bag a little bit of money, kissed him on the cheek, and said goodbye.  He was an adorable little thing and no more than 4 or 5 years old.  He was also a confident little kiddo and didn't seem nervous to be traveling alone at all.  He didn't end up crossing the boarder with us, but was met by some relatives when we made a small break not far from the boarder.  Crossing the boarder back into Georgia was absolutely effortless and the trip in general was about an hour shorter than our trip to Yerevan had been. Mario got his picture with the Armenian boarder sign, but I was feeling too icky to want my own picture taken.  I was definitely feeling better than the day before, but runny nose, sore throat, and headache doesn't end up so great when paired with a bumpy marshrutka ride.  Thankfully after the boarder the roads were a bit better in Georgia and we were back in Tbilisi in no time.  We were really fortunate because the marshrutka which we really quite randomly got on to go back to the center stopped at the exact intersection where the street leading up to our hostel was!
After a bit of chilling out at the hostel we went on a walk and dropped by a few souvenir shops.  I bought my first and only souvenirs of the trip (I'm really not so much into souvies usually) - a pen, which has a part which pulls out to show pictures of Georgia, and a pretty pink bracelet.  For me, a bracelet which will always remind me of Georgia is much more meaningful than a t-shirt or other really "obvious" souvenirs.  When it came to that point in our walk when our stomachs started to get a little rumbly, we found ourselves in front of a big, bright, shiny restaurant called "Elvis American Diner".  Not exactly authentic Georgian food, but something about it drew us in and we ended up having dinner there.  I got some stir-fried noodles with chicken and vegetables and Mario got a burger and fries.  He said it was one of the best burgers he had ever had, so I think it was a good dinner choice! After dinner we wandered around a little bit more before heading back to the hostel for our last night (or more like half a night since we had a taxi to the airport at 4:45 AM).  We met a Canadian family who was in Georgia on a family holiday and it turned out that the wife and daughter had the same flight as us in the morning.  It worked out well because we got to split the taxi four ways instead of 30 lari (about 15 euros) for just Mario and I. We knew we had to get up early, but we still stayed up for a while so that we would be tired enough to actually sleep when we went to bed. I went to sleep happy, glad to have had one last nice night in Tbilisi to end our little adventure.

Mt. Ararat on our last morning in Yerevan!

Bed head, pajamas, and Mt. Ararat :)

German fuel pumps in Armenia

With the boarder sign

Republic of Armenia!

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