Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Day 1 in Armenia: Flea Markets and Food

My first day in Yerevan, Armenia was a bit of a lazy day. Slept late and didn’t make my way out of the house until around 2 o’clock. We decided to take the subway downtown so I could get a feel for the metro. Yerevan’s Metro has no English signage, but it’s not hard to figure out since there are only 10 stations and one line. The fare is 100 drams for one trip ($0.30), which is the same price as the metro in Tbilisi, Georgia (0.50 Lari). The architecture within the stations is what I’m learning to recognize as typical Soviet style. Photos aren’t allowed down here, but that’s only if they catch you!

 Soviet style metro

We headed first to the weekend flea market, called Vernissage. Perhaps my readers have noticed that I love markets. I had no money to buy anything here, but it was fun to walk around and watch my couch surfing hosts do some shopping. 

We spent a good 3 hours or so here wandering around and shopping. After that we had worked up an appetite for dinner and my hosts took me over to the Caucus Tavern. It’s a place popular with tourists and locals for traditional food from the Caucasus, from both Georgia and Armenia. My hosts love Georgian food and they filled their bellies with Khinkali and Khajapuri, two things I eat more than enough of at home, while I tried my hardest to sample as wide a selection of Armenian food as possible in one meal. 

Thin Armenian bread called lavash

First we split a plate of dolma, minced meat wrapped in grape leaves. Here we had a yogurt and garlic sauce to drizzle on top. 


I of course had to sample the local beer. Nothing special here, but still better than Cass. 

 Kilikia, Armenian beer

This drink is called Tan. It is a fermented milk drink. It basically tastes like yogurt, salty yogurt, but without the thickness of yogurt. The first few sips were a bit of a turn off because of the seriously salty taste. But I think this is a drink I could grow to love if I were living in Armenia. 


My main course was this wheat and chicken dish called Harisa. This was nothing special, but good to try. 

For dessert we each tried a different dish. I got this sweet bread called Gata, which was good, but I was so full I had to bring most of it home (Which made for breakfast for the next two days). My couchsurfers got this plate of honey and something I don't remember the name of.... 


After dinner we walked around looking for a store that they never found. But this was fine for me as I got to know the city a little better and tried to take some night photos.

The center of Yerevan is developed a lot and feels like any modern city that you might see in any developed country. This is in stark contrast to the rest of the city and the rest of the country (from what I could see from my few day stay) which is still a developing country on the best of days.

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