4D/3N Self-Retreat in Armenia: Where Second Life Began

Things meant to be just happen smoothly. Armenia was a country beyond my knowledge, yet I got here with no fuss at all like how I got in Dubai and became the best and life changing phase of my life.

Yes, it is my first legit solo trip. I was supposed to be with a friend but things came up so I was left on my own. The whole trip was a package promo from Holiday Factory which costs AED1399 inclusive of the flight tickets and hotel with breakfast. Good deal! Each tour is arranged and paid separately the day itself but doesn’t hurt your pocket as well.

Jotting down the itinerary below.

Day 1

7:30am DXB to Yerevan

I wasn’t feeling well that day so I’m thankful to these girls who helped me get to the airport at 5:30am.

10:50am Arrival

Lilit, the jolliest tour guide, and Karen, the Manager, both from Holiday Factory

12:00nn Deluxe Hotel Check-in

I’m lucky to get myself a suite with a living room, one bedroom, toilet, sauna, and jacuzzi (or pool I may say because it doesn’t heat and is 18degC, brrr!). And the receptionist was pretty and nice too.

2:00pm Tour (USD30 food included)

✅ First Stop: Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat is where Noah’s ark stayed put after the great flood making it the pride of Armenia. It is where humanity started all over again.

✅ Second Stop: Armenian Alphabet Monument

These ancient letters are still used up to date that’s why Armenians can read writings way back from like the 5th century.

✅ Saghmosavank Monastery

A picturesque monastery located atop the canyon. A wedding was happening when we got there. I told Lilit I wanted to marry here as well. She said a Filipina married an Armenian here before, so why not. Hehe.

✅ Dinner at Yerevan

It was Black Friday that day hence the heavy traffic. We weren’t able to do a city tour but we passed by the Republic Square and had dinner at a restaurant. They served all courses from appetizer to coffee and tea. Everything was delicious. Bon appetit!

Day 2

8:00am tour (USD60 food included)

✅ First breakfast at the hotel

Same food was served every morning. Got accustomed to the taste and now I’m missing it.

✅ Second breakfast at Areni winery

The first wine cellar in the world was said to be found here. Hence, wine tasting was something we looked forward to and was reserved for the night. We just had breakfast with a local family in the morning and will return at night for the good goood stuff. Breakfast was delicious and Armenian coffee was always a crowd favorite.

✅ Longest Tramway Ride in the World to Tatev Monastery

Reached a monastery located on a plateau after the longest and solemn cable car ride. Again, we witnessed another wedding that moment. Dear God, are these signs? Hehe.

✅ Lunch at Tatev Authentic Food

The food is always amazing and good enough to keep us energized the whole trip. I loved the chicken and potatoes!

The oldest and traditional way of house heater was also shown to us but I wasn’t able to take a photo unfortunately.

✅ Wine Degustation

The main and happiest event of the day – wine tasting. We were lucky to have tasted 8 different wines made by a local winery who won 5 consecutive years at the wine festival. The first 7 flavors were the sweet ones and fermented for 3-4yrs: grapes, pomegranate, raspberry, cherry wine, black carrot, strawberry, and blackberry. The last one was the oldest fermented wine for 8yrs, dried grapes, and the strongest which has 20% alcohol content.

The old man was very enthusiastic and the group had a very cheerful night. After the tasting, we had an option to buy their products for 3000drams per 1liter. And for every 4liters we get a bonus half liter of any of our own choice of flavor. That is super cheap! Don’t be fooled of their money. It has big figures that’s why they are all said to be millionaires lol. Kampay!

Day 3

10:00am Tour (USD35 food included)

✅ Breakfast in the hotel

✅ Pagan temple visit at Geghard

Started off the day with a temple visit and souvenir shopping.

Armenia is such a beautiful place that is so rich in history. Everything is beautiful, the simple living, religious people, the language, their music, the food, and has the most beautiful faces on earth. Everyone can seriously be a celebrity! I told the same to Lusina, our tour guide, and she agreed. She’s proud especially of the beautiful women.

✅ Geghard Monastery

Next was a tour inside the monastery which was surrounded by cliffs with tombs, and is one of the UNESCO Heritage Sites. The big stone you see in the middle of the pavement was a rock that fell from the cliff during an ancient pagan celebration where people throw water to one another. No one got hurt surprisingly. It is believed that it was a sign to stop the pagan worshipping but until now it is still practiced.

We were alao able to see and attend an apostolic mass, and see men preparing food and drinks at the back of the monastery.

✅ Lunch, sightseeing at Lake Sevan, and monastery visit at Sevanavank

After the scrumptious lunch, we had to climb a number of steps to reach a monastery. It was a bit difficult to climb and breathe because of the icy pathway and steps, and thinning of oxygen as you reach the top. My phone always dies because of the coldness. But the view was breathtaking and will make you forget those difficulties I said prior (except for the phone dying, I need to take photos! Lol)

✅ Last monastery visit at Tzaghkadzor

Tzaghkadzor is a known place for skiing and is also a spa town. But since skiing is not yet available, we visited a monastery and had a snowball fight there instead.

✅ Back to city and dinner at RIO Mall

Tried these black burgers and their KFC for dinner. The mall is new and simple. Had a bit of strolling and window shopping.

Tired and finally called it a night. Packed things for tomorrow’s flight.

Day 4

8:00am breakfast at the hotel

✅ Photoshoot for the last time

I really enjoyed wearing winter outfits. Looked so dapper even if the cold is killing me. It was -8degC on my first day, -3degC on second day, and 1degC on third day. I wore 3 layers of clothing & pants, and 4 layers of socks. I will miss this but hopefully experience it again soon.

9:30am pick up from hotel to airport

Fyi, cars here are combination of right hand and left hand driving. Quite confusing, but the roads are governed by left hand drivers.

 

This religious and historical trip gave me a lot of feels and realizations. It strengthened my motivation to reach for my life goal. And as I have returned to Dubai, I am now gradually changing and mellowing my lifestyle as a preparation for that dream…

 

 

 

 

 


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