Join Connie and Chuck Holton for a spectacular introduction to the Culture, History, People and FOOD of Armenia.
We're taking a week-long whirlwind exploration of this hidden gem of Asia in the shadow of Mount Ararat!
Flights out of Washington DC are about $1100 on Austrian/United, with a 14-hour layover in Vienna (arrive 8am depart 10pm) so you can see the sights in Austria for a day. Shorter flights are available on Qatar airways through Doha, but the price is about the same.
Leave 18 September, 2021 at 5:35 pm from Dulles, arrive in Vienna, Austria at 9 am on 19 September. Spend the day seeing the sights in Vienna, then board the plane again at 10 pm and take the short flight to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Arrive in Yerevan at 4 am on 20 September.
Here's the proposed schedule for the week: (subject to change)
20 September rest, explore Yerevan, the capital city. A surprisingly quaint, walkable place, it feels more like a small town rather than a city of a million people. Explore the Vernissage outdoor craft market, the Cascades, and Republic square. And if you're feeling jetlagged, there will be time for a nap!
21 September Today is independence day in Armenia! There are normally parades and such - do some shopping on the legendary Vernissage outdoor marketplace.
22 September. Let's go! Visit the famous Gor Virap monastery, where the first Armenian Catolicos (think Pope) was thrown in a dungeon for 13 years, Then visit Armenia's famous wine country - possibly the birthplace of wine! A quick side trip to visit Noravank, a spectacular 13th Century Church in the mountains, then on to an adventurous overnight "farm-stay" in the tiny village of Tatev.
23 September Visit the incredible Tatev monastery, then return to Yerevan in the afternoon via the "wings of Tatev" cable car, evening free.
24 September Visit Geghard Monastery, one of the oldest in Armenia from the 3rd Century, and then visit an even older site - the mysterious pagan temple on a clifftop at Garni, In the evening we'll visit a refugee center and meet some of the families who lost their homes to the recent invasion by Azerbaijan.
25 September A somber day of remembrance on the 1-year anniversary of the start of brutal incursions by Azerbaijan and Turkey which killed more than 5,000 Armenians. We'll visit the genocide museum and the Yerablur cemetery where nearly an entire generation of young patriots rests.
26 September: Leave early and drive past Mount Aragats, the highest point in Armenia, to the ancient caves of Zarni Parni, and visit several remote monasteries which are nestled in the incredible Lori province of Armenia. Spend the night in a hostel there.
27 September Tour Lori province and return to Yerevan via the Haghartsin monastery in Dilijan, called the "Switzerland of Armenia" and the spectacular commanding views from Sevanavank, on Armenia's "Great Lake", Lake Sevan. Return late to Yerevan.
28 September - Last minute shopping and rest up for the trip home that night.
29 September - Leave around 4 am, arrive Washington DC at 2:50 PM same day.
Airfare: Get yourself to Armenia however you can - costs run about $1100 from Washington DC, $900 from JFK. If you want to fly over with us and spend the day in Vienna, contact Chuck before you buy your tickets.
Trip: $1299 (double occupancy) includes ground transportation, lodging, a translator/guide, and all meals except for about four lunches where you will be on your own. We are keeping costs way down by renting a very large (12,000 square-foot) home with an indoor pool, sauna, and game room. But that means non-couples may be sharing a room. We promise only nice, fun people will room with you. This gives us a chance to really enjoy getting to know one another and keeps costs way down.
Deposit $500 to hold your space, 100% refundable if you have to cancel within 15 days of departure. We recommend travel insurance to cover airfare and trip costs if you have to cancel closer to D-day.
AIRFARE: You can arrange your own air transport to Yerevan, or meet us in Washington DC and we’ll travel together. You will need approximately $20 per day for incidentals, and perhaps an extra suitcase for all the gifts you’ll want to bring home!
COVID requirements: Armenia requires a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival in Yerevan, so you'll want to find a rapid test if you can and take it right before you leave, just in case there is a delay in our arrival. COVID numbers have been dropping very much in Armenia and while masks are technically required in public, enforcement is very lax. ON RETURN to the US, a negative COVID test will also be required to board the plane, we will arrange for everyone to be tested the day before we leave.
RESERVE YOUR SPOT HERE by paying $500 now. If you'd like to go ahead and pay the rest, you can do so here.