Misgivings: from Tbilisi to Yerevan by minibus

I checked the weather maps, trip advisor, and other Internet resources for info on our trip from Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia to Yerevan, Armenia.  The weather should be warmer, drier, and a minibus called marshrutka would get us there quicker.

It was drizzling when the taxi dropped us at the Ortachala bus station. After waiting over an hour for enough riders, the driver headed out with fourteen passengers, a box of cucumbers, a box of tomatoes, two cartons of milk chocolate, suitcases, bags, and plastic sacks.

EPEBAN - Yerevan in Russian (the common language between Georgia and Armenia)
EPEBAN – Yerevan in Russian (the common language between Georgia and Armenia)
12 Women, 2 Guys, 6 hours
12 Women, 2 Guys, 6 hours

My wife sat beside me and the other guy, a Greek, from Alexandroupolis. We know that city as it was where we boarded another bus in the rain to travel to Istanbul (see Appointment In Istanbul).

Passport control was pretty simple and after a toilet / cigarette break we were on our way again.  The road was a two way highway that was the bumpiest so far. Very hard to take photos from the back of the van. We had a lunch stop about the halfway point of the trip, some thirty kilometers inside Armenia.  The mountain air was brisk but revealed snow topped mountains behind majestic cliffs.

Rustic beauty after crossing into Armenia
Rustic beauty after crossing into Armenia

Another hour down the road and everything changes to snow, snow, and deeper snow. I read about a storm that hit Eastern Turkey some days before. It must have continued on over Mount Ararat and into Armenia. Looking at the snow piled at the side of the roads, it must have been really treacherous those days.

We continued on through the snowy surroundings.  I was wondering what we would find in Yerevan.  Would it be caked and icy like we found in Erzurum? From my google map I could see we were getting pretty close to our destination and it was still snow everywhere, even some drifting.

Deep snow at the side of the road.
Deep snow at the side of the road.

As we came over one hill, there appeared halfway down the valley a snow line. Just as if it were drawn with a felt tip pen. On one side was white snow, on the other brown prairie. After dropping some of the passengers along the way, we ended our trip at the Kilikia Bus Terminal. We negotiated with a taxi driver to stop at a money exchange and then into the city to Sakharov square.

A friendly welcome as we waited for our host.
A friendly welcome as we waited for our host.

While waiting there, a cat came along and climbed the tree next to us.