After 3 days in Artsakh it was time to return home. We woke up at 9am, had breakfast and quickly packed our bags ontop of Yerish’s car, who had come just in time to drive us back to Yerevan.
Instead of the southern route we took to reach Artsakh, we would return instead via the northern area of Karabakh today, known for leading us to new vistas along Lake Sevan.
Quickly glancing around the village of Martakert, we continued up north and took a northwest weave towards Yerevan.
We passed through a few canyons…
… and made our first pit stop at Dadivank Monastery, built somewhere between the 9th and 13th centuries.
Free to enter, the monastery boasts superb views over the Karabakh region.
After about 20 minutes here we continued our drive and within the hour reached the norther border outpost to get stamped out of Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.
If you’re feeling a little peckish, there’s a perfunctory rest stop nearby and a coffee vending machine that also serves cups of “Whiskey Cappuccino” and “Whiskey with Milk.” They both tasted…odd.
Another hour away was another rest stop where we got real food: a wrap of herbs and fried chicken. It was so good I got 2.
After about another hour’s drive, we reached Noraduz/Noratus Cemetery, a medieval-era burial ground and the largest cluster of khachkars in Armenia.
Following the destruction of the khachkars in Old Julfa, Nakhchivan by the government of Azerbaijan, this is currently the largest surviving cemetery of khachkars.
Finally, we got to see beloved Lake Sevan one more time.
After about 6 hours total on the road, we finally returned to the capital city of Yerevan, where we re-checked in back at our hostel (once again having it all to ourselves) and grabbed coffee at this adorable “Starbus Café” down the block.
Then we had some free time for a few hours before reuniting with Sandie and a friend she made at her hostel, Abby, for dinner at CEO3 BBQ.
We followed up with some drinks and shisha at Malkhas Jazz Club talking up into the wee hours of the night.
We finally turned in at 4am while Fanny on the other hand got hungry and made an attempt to find food, and got herself a delivery of stuffed peppers.
We also goodbye to Nishant who was to leave on an early morning flight in a few hours.
We’ll miss you Nishant!
Thank god our flight was the next afternoon, otherwise I don’t think we would have made it.
Time to explore Kiev! Good to be back. It’s been 6 years!
– At time of posting in Gandzasar, it was 48.2 °F – Humidity: 90% | Wind Speed: 5km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy