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Hitting the City

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Today was our exploration day of the city of Athens, Toros started us off with a healthy breakfast of eggs, cheese and tomatoes and pistachio butter to top it off. We walked down to the hop-on-hop-off bus stop and toured the city on the bus ending at the Plaka, from there we had a beautiful seafood lunch and walked around the city until it was time to go to the Hammam Turkish baths. Started the baths with a relaxing tea on the roof top and then went to be sacrificed in a 55 degree spa. After the Turkish baths we walked down to the city centre and on the way we stopped at Dr Fish and Suzie & Toros had fish pedicures, this was the beginning of the end...😬 After they had all the dead skin eaten off their feet we stopped for a snack and a drink and then caught a taxi back to the apartment.

Island tours

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Early morning start with a short walk to the Divini Acropolis Hotel and waited for the tour bus to arrive which would take us to 3 islands for the day. Once onboard the ship which was jam packed with people, Cindy decided to upgrade all our passes to VIP, which included seperate sitting area, catered 3 course lunch and all the perks that come with a VIP pass. First island stop was Hydra, which had no cars and only donkeys for transport. We were there for about an hour which included a walking tour and a quick drink at the waterfront, then back on the boat. On the boat we had a 3 course lunch and then headed off to the island of Aegina, here we did a bus tour which took us up to the Monastery of Nektaria and all the surrounding areas. The island stay was only for about an hour and forty minutes and then we went back on the ship to head to our final island destination of Poros. At Poros had a quick look around and time for an ice cream and back on the ship we went to head back t

First day in Greece

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We arrived at around 7.30am the morning, went and got coffee and breakfast with Toros and Suzie. Went to Tacki's bakery and bought some supplies to take back to the unit, had some vinos and then crashed until the afternoon. Later went out for a late dinner at Croumbri's and a walk around the area of Koukaki and then went back to the unit and crashed again!!

Last Day in Armenia

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Spent a lazy day mostly in the unit. Boys went shopping to the Yerevan Mall. Jor and his mum Ana came over to the unit for a final goodbye. Later after Jor & Ana left we headed off for our final dinner at Mayrig Restaurant. After dinner we ended up again at Endoca Bar for a few drinks, Sue went back upstairs for a quick snooze as we were catching a cab at 1am to go to the airport.

Swan Lake Day

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We decided to go down to our favourite drinking hole, the Endoca bar, before heading off to Swan Lake for the Tea & Coffee festival. While at the Endoca bar we caught the end of the Storm v Roosters game. At Swan Lake we tried out a few coffees and some kind of corn meal. Sue, we think ended up on some Russian TV doco!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ We then made the long hike to the Cascade Complex, Victory Park and finally got to our last destination to see the statue of "Mother of Armenia". The boys went on a ride at Victory Park which sounded like rusted rivets barely holding hands!! πŸ˜‚ After that we taxied it back to our unit and called it a night.

Daniel's last day

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Suzie and the boys headed off to the Genocide Museum and I prepared myself for the Raiders game against the Rabbitohs. At around 1.50 pm the boys got home with Suzie & Torros to watch the game. After the game Suzie & Torros headed off to the GUM markets and me and the boys went down to the Endoca bar for a fair few celebration drinks. Later on that night the whole gang went to the Black Angus restaurant for a massive feed.

Final days in Yerevan

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Back in the minivan today, and off to St Hripsime church, the church dedicated to one of the 70 virgins that came over from Rome to preach Christianity. After this we headed to St Gayane another church also dedicated to the virgins. Being it seemed like a church day we next went onto the Etchmiadzin cathedral, the first christian church in Armenia. Later had a change of scenery and went to Sardarabad, which told the story of how Armenians defended their country, with men women and children joining the battle. By now we were all starving and ended up at the SAS Food court for lunch, it had every kind of food known to Armenia! After this we separated and the boys went back to the accommodation and down to the bar. Toros, Cindy, Suzie and Christopher headed to the gold factory, with 5 levels of jewellery it kept them busy for a while. We soon we regrouped and all went to Sky Dine Gravity, dinner up around 50 metres in the air, except for me, so I piked out, from there they had a drink

Back to Yerevan

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After a well rested night at the freaky and trippy Zangezur Hotel and a wonderful breakfast which was included we got back into our well loved mini van and headed to our first stop which was the Khndzoresk swinging bridge, scary but awesome, most of us made it across and saw the caves, which Armenians used to hide it from there some of us took the 500 steps it took to get back up and some caught a taxi. Back in our mini van, with Chris and Suzie arguing over seating positions. On the way to Wings of Tatev, the scenery was amazing, with lots of cows, horses, eagles around the roads. at 12;30 sharp we took the cable car  which is one of the longest cable cars in the world to the monastery which is a 9th century historical monument. We looked around, the history was amazing. After 50 minutes we headed back in the cable car and had a shawarma lunch at the Tatev restaurant, sitting outside and taking in the views. Our second last stop for the day was Shaki Waterfalls on the Vorotan riv

Bumpy road to Goris

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We started on our 2 day journey in the minivan with all 9 of us squashed in there. Our first stop was at Khor Virap which gave us the best view of Mount Ararat and the history of Gregory the Illuminator was fascinating. On the way to Areni's bird cave Jor stopped for fruit on the road side about an hour later we got to the bird cave, as they prepared our lunch we decided to climb the stairs to see the world's oldest known winery and where the world's oldest shoe was found. Had a beautiful but fly infested lunch. After lunch we got back in the minivan had to wait awhile until Suzie & Chris sorted out their fight for the front seat and then we were off to see Noravank which was just down the road. The views from up there were spectacular but we didn't get the opportunity to see some mountain goats. We walked around by this stage Chris had a migrain but got back in the minivan to head off to Jermuk Falls. It was colder than usual when we arrived at Jermuk Falls bu

On the road to Sevan Avank

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We were off at 9.30 am we had a minivan booked for the day and headed to Tsaghkadzor The day was very clear and nice and when we got to Tsaghkadzor we took the ski lift up to the top. The views were spectacular, at the top we found an old abandoned soviet building that we roamed through and took photos of the building and had coffee and cakes at the restaurant, I paid the bill but Jor was confronted by the waitress as we had not paid a tip but Suzie sorted her out. Then off to the Kecharis to see a medieval monastery built in around 1050 AD from there the boys decided that they wanted to do zip lining, we thought it was going to be similar to the one we did in Fiji, which was just a little bit above the forest floor but this one was massively high going over towns and roads. All back in the car for another hour trip to Lake Sevan, had lunch and got ripped off, had trout and some Russian fish imported from Mars which cost approximately $225 per kilo after scrapping Sue's body fr

Stepanyan Lunch Date

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Tours started with everyone today, our 8 seater minivan picked us up at 9.30 and we headed off to Geghard Monastery in the mountains, it was amazing to see that 2 rooms were carved out of rock within the mountain over a period of 40 years. The usual street vendors selling dried fruit and gata, we were lucky enough to see a Sunday mass and Cindy sang for us a beautiful song in one of the carved out rooms which had amazing acoustics. From there we headed to Garni to check out the Temple again with everyone with narration from Jor, after and photos and look arounds we got into 2 jeeps and off we went back down the Gorge to the Symphony of Stones, this time it was bloody fantastic not to have walked it and to just be driven down there. By now we were all satrving and were driven to the Stepanyan's household for an amazing lunch, there were all up about 20 of us there for lunch with lots of BBQ chicken, por and lamb. Lots of toasts were mad e with homemade vodka and cognac, some of

Independence Day

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Chris & John went out for shopping and breakfast. We met Jor to go for lunch with Cindy and Toros in old Yerevan at Baklachoff Restaurant, a very different style of restaurant, with lots of crazy displays and interesting things to see in every corner, the food was very good also, on the way out we were lucky enough to see an armenian dance display. After lunch, we all browsed through the Vernisage open air markets, which sold anything and everything. In the evening I stayed in the unit and Suzie, Chris, Daniel, John, Cindy and Toros went to Pandok Yerevan to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Armenian Independence. Suzie said they had another great meal and sent me through lots of videos of Armenian folk dancing and a music show which they were watching as it was a dinner and show. From the photos it seems they drank lots of vodka and got back around midnight.

All together in Yerevan

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 After a late night and a big sleep in Johny, Christopher and I went to Goras for breakfast, changed currency and headed back to the apartment for the boys to watch the Rabbitohs match, and weren't we lucky Souths won, meaning a Souths and Raiders match on Friday. Afterwards we all went out to look around the city and watch the water show at the Republic Square and have some dinner at "Abovyan 12" restaurant and later we browsed around the shops. We tried to find a rooftop bar but had no luck as we had not made any reservations, so stayed at the wine bar downstairs while Daniel and Tony watched John Wick 3 upstairs. Dinner at the "Abovyan 12" Restaurant Republic Square  Republic Square Republic Square Suzie & Daniel at the Republic Square Suzie & Daniel at the Republic Square "Abovyan 12" Restaurant "Abovyan 12" Restaurant

Remembrance

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Slept in and at about 1pm headed off to have lunch at our favourite spot, from there we got a taxi and went to the Genocide Memorial. Suzie did a tour while I walked around reading all the stories at my own pace. We took taxis there and back to the unit, all the taxi drivers offered us tours to different places that they thought we should see. Suzie and I got seperated and while Suzie was looking for me outside she was warned of snakes in the area. In the evening we had awesome shawarma's for dinner, went back to the unit for a snooze and woke up at 3am to meet the boys downstairs, after introducing them to the lift we had a few drinks which we quickly ran out of, so Daniel and I went to the local 24 hour supermarket to stock up had a few more laughs and drinks and then off to bed we went by 6.30am.

Out of Yerevan

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Car picked us up in the morning at around 10am for a big day out of Yerevan, we were heading off to Lake Sevan, an hour hike up a very, very steep mountain to find an abandoned chapel built in approximately 1250 AD and then for a relaxing drink and meal in Dilijian. Lake Sevan was amazing, the body of water actually makes up for 11% of the total area of Armenia, we saw the beautiful Sevanavank Monastery  800-900AD. This is where armenians go for weekends away. We then headed off to our hiking area which a few kilometres out of Dilijian, the area is known for its forest areas. The hike nearly killed me, it took around an hour and what seemed like a 45 degree hike but it was all worth it to see the abandoned Matosavank church in the middle of nowhere!! Hiked back down which was just as difficult as the hike back up and we were met by our driver and drove into to Dilijan and walked around the streets, seeing the beautiful architecture  and old soviet buildings ending the day with a w

Garni Day

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Car picked us up by 11am and we headed off to meet Jor at the Temple in Garni. Views from the Temple site were awesome, Jor and I took like 2 million shots of the Temple and the surrounding mountains. Also went and had a look at the Roman baths next to the Temple. We then headed off on a hike through the Azat Gorge, eating grapes and berries along the way and drank lots of fresh water eventually after about an hour of hiking we reached the Symphony of Stones and what a crazy site it was. It is made up of petrified lava from explosions many moons ago, by this stage we were dehydrated and sweaty and no local spring water was going to fix the problem, we needed beer!!!! The way back involved more than an hours hike up a very steep hill, Sue found it difficult but I loved it. On the way up we discovered an old chapel in a village that was built around the 13th century, it is still being used by the locals today, it had chickens and all kinds of farm animals living around the chapel.

Relaxing Day

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Stayed in the unit until the afternoon watching footy while Sue studied and listened to lectures, we then headed of to the SAS supermarket on Abovyan Ave to do some food shopping, then headed to the main part of the city to arrange our sim cards which cost $9 for 6Gb of data!! How good is that!! We met up with some other Armenians from Australia and had a drink with them at our 3rd attempt at finding a rooftop bar. After chatting we headed off to dinner. Dinner was at a beautiful Armenian Restaurant had a great meal of lamb, pork, tabouli and fried cheese. After dinner went back to the Republic Square for an ice cream and watched the world go by.

BBQ at the Martirosyan's

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Hung around the unit in the morning catching up on editing photos and emails. We were picked up at 11:45 to go to Martirosyan's house in Garni, where to whole family was there to meet us and had a typical Armenian lunch with BBQ khorovatz, we looked around the property which was made up of lots of fruit trees and chickens running around. We played with the kids and stayed there until 8pm before heading back off to our unit in Yerevan watching the lighting show as we made our way back. The driving was also a pleasure to watch from the front seat, seat belt not required and talking on the mobile is a must while weaving through crazy traffic!! Wikipedia links:     Garni BBQ at the Martirosyan's View from the Martirosyan's property View from the Martirosyan's property BBQ Armenian style Suzie relaxing in Garni Dried plumbs on the Martirosyan's property Beautiful BBQ Martirosyan family Garni

Raiders Win!!!!

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Started the day with breakfast at The Corner Cafe across from Swan Lake park and after that we headed in different directions.. Tony went back to the apartment to watch the Raiders game live and I walked to the Armenian Museum of History and did a tour, amazing artefacts, clothes, rugs and jewellery from the past. From there walked around Republic Square, fantastic weather with people out everywhere on the streets. Back at the apartment Tony went crazy with a Raiders win, which had him in a great mood.. in the afternoon we headed out of Yerevan and visited a house where the husband dug under the house for 23 years..it was crazy, then headed to the sulphur pools in Azakban and enjoyed an hour in over 54 degrees hot pools and beer. At night we decided to have a nice dinner at Lavash, food and service was awesome. After dinner headed to the Republic Square and saw a concert and celebrations with streets blocked off in the city and food stalls on the street.... another great day in Yerevan

Yerevan walkabout

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Relaxing late start to the day with a black bread burger and fried cheese then started our day 2 of walkabout around Yerevan. We started at the Cascade Complex admiring the sculptures of the fat naked lady and the penis man!! πŸ˜‰ amongst others. We then made our way to the top of the complex via escalators rather than the stairs as Sue was looking after my own interests..hahaha, we finally got to the top admiring the breathtaking views of the city but couldn't see Mount Ararat clearly due to the haze and cloud cover. Moving on we had to walk the rest of the hill to reach the summit of the Cascade Complex by this stage I had lost 2 more kilos due to a natural phenomenon called sweat!! πŸ˜‚ but we made it to the monument of the Golden Leaf. After getting our breath back we walked over to Victory Park which was the highlight of the day for me. Victory Park is mainly an amusement park built during the soviet era and it has a nostalgic soviet feel to it. It also leads on to the

The Beginnings

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Settling into the apartment, had a fantastic breakfast of bastrouma eggs and sujough, following a quick wander and changed currency around the Republic Square and getting familiar with the streets. Headed off to the GUM market and were amazed at all the colours and variety of dried fruit and lavoush bread. Sue and Jor made an attempt to get some groceries, I chickened out and people watched outside the supermarket. Caught the metro train back to our area and lost 2kg in the process, had a relaxing afternoon at the apartment and enjoyed some Armenian red wine and had a snooze. In the evening went out for dinner and had a great meal, khorovats, chicken and lamb with traditional bread. Took a walk through the city at night and watched the water light show at the Republic Square and met some spaniards while there. From there we headed to a roof top bar to see the views of Yerevan by night and a newly built water feature in the city. By 11pm headed back to the apartment at 4 Sayat Nova A

Suzie at Canberra Airport

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Suzie relaxing before boarding our flight to Sydney.

Leaving Canberra...

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First drinks at canberra airport... exit row seats all the way yayyyy

The Armenian Adventure 2019

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The Armenian adventure begins 12 September 2019, all profits from the purchase of photos via this link  moant.net/armenia  will go to the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF).  If you have your own photos of Armenia that you would also like to submit to help COAF, please upload them to instagram and attach this hashtag to your comments  #moant_armenia

Madrid - Arrival and car pick up

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Finally get off plane and head to the Hertz counter to get our car, we got upsold to full insurance with no excess, cost is more than the initial hire but we now call the car... "Supercar!!!". Tried to get an automatic car but had to accept manual, did the usual and whacked on the wipers instead of the blinkers!! And then I saw it...... the Madrilean traffic, sweat down my neck and back even with the aircon on.

Yahoo!! Hot and sweaty but made it to Abu Dhabi!!!

Lunch at La Perouse

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Having lunch with the family at La Perouse, the day before we fly out.

Yahoo!! We have a winner!!

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We've finally settled on our final journey for our 4 week roadtrip with just 5 days to go before we leave!!