Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Travels: Armenia and Georgia

Oh yes, I am still alive...and kicking! I know I've been MIA for more than a month and if you've read my last post, you pretty much have an idea of what I've been and still going thru.

I'm doing fine, though I still get a bit emotional on some days...but as compared to how I was a month ago, I can say I am doing better.  I am still hurting, yes, but I really don't have much choice these days but to accept that these things have happened and that I need to move on.  Move on and hope for the best.  For those who sent me messages after reading my last post, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Most of you I haven't met personally, but you took time to give me words of encouragement.  Thank you for including me in your prayers. I am really, really thankful for making me feel that I am not alone in this ordeal after all.

So last month, I finally ticked off an item from my bucket list: I finally traveled solo!  I visited two countries: Armenia with friends and then Georgia, where I went alone. I really had an amazing time.  My friends I went to Armenia with kept on checking on me while I was in Georgia. Well, they know I am all feeling broken and hurt and maybe they were scared that might end up burying myself in snow. LOL!  

By the way, before I start showing you some photos, I just want to give a shout out to Connie and her family, whom I met at the Yerevan airport.  I was waiting for my turn to have my passport stamped with Armenia visa when Connie came up to me and introduced herself. She said she's a reader of my blog and that she was able to read my last post. She said she will pray for me and that hopes everything will be alright soon. I almost cried after meeting her. First, it's always makes me feel good to meet my readers and second, there's another person who's praying for me. And that matters, A LOT.  Thanks, Connie! 'Twas so nice meeting you. And as promised, I will try to go back to blogging and hopefully will start talking about beauty again.

Okay, before I go crying again...here are some photos taken during my vacation:

goofing around while waiting to board the plane going to Yerevan

Just arrived at the airport in Yerevan

The gang is now ready to go around the city

 First order of business is to have dinner at The Club where we sampled Steak on a Stone, the restaurant's specialty.

Steak on the Stone

We were actually surprised to see that it's still raw when served. You then need to slice it as fast as you can while the stone is hot so it will be cooked. Nakakastress actually, pero enjoy!


Playing Truth or Dare with the girls while having vodka

The gang ready for the tour

My so-called Winter OOTD

what I do when I ran out of poses

the goofballs


Not my first time to see snow actually, but it's been gazillion years so yes, I was so thrilled!

when you say wacky, we go:

 Mt. Ararat behind me

you wouldn't want to know how many times we tried before getting these shots:

First night was vodka, second night was coffee.

 Our 2nd tour, and yeah...it was snowing!

i should've written iambrigitte

We stayed in Yerevan from 22nd January to the 24th then the rest of the group went back to Dubai. I, on the other hand, had to stay for another night because I'd be traveling to Tbilisi, Georgia the next day...solo! Well, with just the guide and a driver.

So what exactly did I do on my last night at Yerevan? I went around the city, sampled their pomegranate wine and barhopped thrice!  I went back to the hotel a little tipsy, but I had to get back to my senses to pack and be ready for the next day's road trip.  I initially booked a flight going to Tbilisi but a week before the trip, it got cancelled. Luckily, Envoy Hostel also offers a road tour from Yerevan going to Tbilisi which also includes stops at 3 monasteries.  'twas not cheap for a solo traveler like me, but I don't have any other choice, do I?  LOL. But I'm really glad I took the trip. I learned a lot from my tour guide (it does make a huge difference if you are solo, as you won't have any choice but to pay attention to what your tour guide is saying! LOL) and enjoyed the sights. There was an accident on the road where we got stranded for almost an hour and I thought we'd have to go back to Yerevan. Good thing it was all sorted out.

Yours truly still with my winter OOTD but this time with my cutesy ear muffs

On my first night in Georgia, I asked my tour guide to drop me off the mall since I need to buy something.  On my way back, I took a cab but I did ask him first if he knew Iveria Inn, and the driver said yes. But apparently, he doesn't know where it is and to my horror, he couldn't understand English!  He dropped me off somewhere, probably feeling a lot more frustrated than I was. I took another cab, and just the same, he gave up and dropped me off somewhere again. The last cab was the successful one but we went around in circles for almost half an hour.  I kept on giving him the street address and he couldn't understand.  I was so frustrated I was actually ready to hand him my wallet as long as he could take me back to the hotel.  I ended up paying 40GEL instead of the usual fare of 5GEL. But I didn't really mind, I was just so happy that I got back to the hotel in one piece...and before midnight! LOL.

The next day was a solo tour going to Gudauri. We stopped at the Zhinvali Reservoir first but because of the weather, we weren't able to get a good photo of the place. Then we went to the Ananuri Fortress.

with my guide, Nika

After the fortress, off we went to Gudauri.

At Gudauri, my guide asked me if I'd be trying out some activities. And I said, "of course!" I chose to try snowboarding, thinking it's easier..but I was wrong. Hahaha!

Good thing Nika decided to go snowboarding with me too!

So how's my snowboarding experience? IT WAS AWESOME!  Something I don't think I'll ever forget, really.  I actually spent half of the time falling on my face and getting buried in snow. Hahaha!  I did quite well the first round, but probably because I can hardly feel my legs on the 2nd round, I just couldn't move them the way I need them to. I actually felt sorry for Nika as he spent most of his time picking me up. 

A night in Tbilisi

The tour next day included a trip to Jvari Church, the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the Stalin Museum in Gori and the ancient cave city of Uplistsikhe.  

inside Jvari Church

In Georgia, they follow a dress code for women when entering a church. Women should be wearing a skirt and a cover for the head. For tourists who wouldn't have an idea about this, no worries...you can get a skirt and a piece of cloth to cover your head at the church entrance. It's for free, but just don't forget to return it after. Don't steal, okay!? Hahaha.

the city of Mtskheta

 the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral 

inside Stalin Museum in Gori:

Honestly, I didn't know Stalin is Georgian. But he is.  I thought being solo in a guided tour is going to be boring, but it actually isn't. It gave me a chance to pay attention to my guide and learn a lot.


 going up this staircase to see the cave city 


Iveria Inn, my home back in Tbilisi

yours truly while waiting for boarding time on my way back to UAE

Overall, my trip was really amazing.  I never really liked traveling because for me, I'd rather book a hotel, stay indoors and enjoy good food and a massage.  That's my idea of having a great time.  Boring, I know. But after this travel, I had a change of heart. I want to do more!  And to go solo won't be a problem. But of course, a trip would be more memorable if you get to share it with friends and family.

I learned a lot from this trip, most especially during my solo trip.  I got to realize that despite what I am going thru right now, I am still lucky. Not everybody gets a chance to experience to travel some where, learn new culture, meet people and make new friends.  I also get to realize that at the end of the day, you can only depend on yourself to get thru a lot of things. Of course there are people who would want to help you through it but they won't be with you all the time. During my solo trip, while I was wandering around the city all by myself, I kept on telling myself, you can do this. And I did.  I am actually proud of myself. It made me feel all grown up (LOL!) to be far away from home and at a non-english speaking country at that!

During my solo trip, there were some moments when I just wanted to cry. I must admit, I still miss him and there were times when I would wish I could share the experience with him.  We never got to travel abroad by ourselves like this. I hope that we'll still be given a chance to do so...someday. But if not, then I just hope that he gets to do it with his new love.  Corny as it may seem, but as long as he is happy...I'll be happy for him. One thing I realize is that, if you love someone...his needs and his happiness comes first.  Hindi po ako nagpapakamartir, nagpapakatotoo lang.

So here is to me hoping and looking forward to more travels.  I am actually thinking of going to UK next month, but let's see how it works out.  If I won't be able to go, I'm thinking of trying out sky diving instead.  Hahaha!  

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Unknown said...

It was so nice reading from you again. I really missed this, I am glad you are doing fine. You are in the right path, always try to find happiness and beauty in everything and in small things. I believe the most beautiful, strong and successful woman is the one who finds her real happiness within herself. I have four girls and I tell them everyday that they are whole and complete on their own. Go girl, we are all praying for you. Life is beautiful, there a million reasons to be happy and to celebrate. Keep on moving and keep the faith!

B said...

Bless your kind heart, Brigitte! Keep moving.

redshoetraveller said...

I felt glad when I checked your blog today and found out you posted! Happy as well that you are feeling better now. You have a lot of readers who look after you so please take care of yourself always. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you posted this. For me it means you're getting better and that's what's important :)

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