Month One in Review

I'm totally ripping off one of my favorite travel bloggers for this Monthly Roundup format - don't worry, Alex, my readership is only about 30 people.  ;-) Here's what I've been up to for the first month of my trip!

Where I've Been
  • Tbilisi, Georgia - 14 nights (I stop here for a few days between most trips as it's a pretty central location)
  • Mestia, Georgia - 2 nights
  • Ushguli, Georgia - 3 nights
  • Lenjeri, Georgia - 1 night
  • Borjomi, Georgia - 1 night
  • Kazbegi, Georgia - 4 nights
  • Yerevan, Armenia - 7 nights


  • Mountain time! I got lucky with mostly beautiful weather, great hiking buddies and an all-around great experience in Ushguli and Kazbegi. 
  • Multicultural Moments -  Other than Peace Corps volunteers, I haven't met many Americans traveling in Georgia and Armenia. And so sometimes I find myself sitting at an English pub eating a giant meat platter with a Georgian, a Norwegian, and 3 Germans while a cover band plays American rock music. Or drinking Armenian beer in a hostel in Yerevan while explaining Cards Against Humanity terms to a Czech gal and three guys from France, Switzerland and England. I love it. 
  • Eating my way through Yerevan - okay, so I maybe didn't have the most typical Armenian experience in Yerevan. It was hard to concentrate when there were so many different things to try - tons of vegetarian options, super cheap shawarma, adorable French bakeries and Syrian pizza. One local gem I couldn't get enough of: Armenian sparkling mineral water.
  • Hipster culture is thriving in Tbilisi and Yerevan - in both places, I have walked into bars where, aside from the haze of cigarette smoke indoors, I would swear I was in Portland or Brooklyn. Beards and tats and indie music - it makes me feel strangely at home ;-) 
  • Guesthouse cooking - I really enjoy Georgian food, but most restaurants serve the same few dishes (Georgians typically don't eat out except for special occasions). The best food I've had has been the home-cooked meals at the guesthouses (though not all guesthouse meals are created equal). 
Vegetarian eats in Yerevan

Garni, Armenia

Fruit market in Tbilisi

  • The guide debacle in Mestia and not being able to do the 3-day trek. But at least I found out he was weird before we started trekking! And my alternate plan turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. 
  • I left Svaneti with a cold that was hard to shake - it had me laying low on and off for two weeks, but I'm finally feeling back to normal now! 
  • The constant goodbyes. You meet people, you find a connection and spend a few hours or a few days together, and then they leave and you start all over again making new friends. It's a lot of work for an introvert!

An ancient pagan temple in Garni, Armenia.

What's Next?

I've got 2 1/2 more weeks in Georgia, while I wait impatiently for my Iran visa to come through (fingers crossed!). So I'll be hanging out a fair amount in Tbilisi to be near the embassy when/if I get word that I've been approved. This week, I'll be checking out the village of a Peace Corps volunteer I met, and also going to visit Akhaltsikhe and possibly the Black Sea. I still need to get to Kakheti, Georgian wine country, as well!

If all goes well, I'll spend the last two weeks of September exploring Iran with G Adventures! If not... well, I've got a couple of back-up plans in mind :-)


  1. Darwin & Rosalind don't count as "people," so take that down to 28 people and 2 feline followers.

    What makes Syrian pizza unique?

    How is Armenian sparkling mineral water better than other fizzy water?

    Also, how wonderful it is to have so few "lowlights!" That's truly a reflection of your ability to connect to so many different types of people on a very human level. <3

  2. Syrian pizza is more like flatbread. The most traditional is a ground-meat version called lacmajoun which I think is also popular in Turkey.

    Every brand of mineral water taste different because of the mineral/salt content of the spring it comes from. Many of the ones here have very strong flavors and take some getting used to. I really liked Jermuk.

    Awww thanks! I feel lucky to have had so few lowlights. It's hard to stay low when I keep meeting such nice people.


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