Even though I’ve been in Tbilisi for months, there is more to learn about Georgia and the Caucasus. So, I took a day tour to Armenia mainly to see the UNESCO World Heritage sites—Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin. This toe-dipping in the neighbour country is not just a tick on my list but also a glimpse of Lori Province, Armenia.
It took less than two hours to reach the border and go through immigration. And another 30 minutes to the first attraction, Akhtala Monastery, which used to be a Georgian Orthodox church and was converted to Armenian Apostolic. The branch of Christianity was fresh to me. Then, we went to Haghpat Monastery and had homemade lunch at a house nearby. It was lovely! Before the tour ended at Sanahin Monastery, we had a couple of stops to see the town.
The town seemed frozen in time. The Georgian tour guide said it was like a flashback to her childhood. We also discussed complicated relationships amongst the neighbouring countries because of multiple occupations in the region. Post-USSR conflicts and alliances are still at play.
We got back to Tbilisi in the evening. The tour covered a lot in 10 hours on the road. I would prefer some more time on each site for photography. But that would need an overnight stay and extra work to plan it on my own. Ultimately, it is more convenient to get there from Tbilisi than from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. And I got an Armenian stamp on my passport.