Sunday, 8 February 2009

Armenia by Way of Turkey

Eating Armenian food in Yerevan (very good)
(Sam & Narene)

With our visas renewed for another 90 days, we flew from Madrid on our way to Yerevan, Armenia, where we had scheduled training meetings with Elder & Sister Blotter, the recently arrived humanitarian missionary couple. Our flight seemed on time to arrive in Yerevan about 4:10 a.m., but we kept circling in air. Finally, the captain announced that because of the fog we would be going to Trabzon, Turkey.

Airport - Trabzon, Turkey

After landing, we sat in the terminal for about two hours before it was decided to take all the passengers in two buses to a hotel; but first we boarded the plane to get our carry-on luggage.

Czech Air - Madrid to Trabzon, Turkey
(and eventually to Yerevan)

This picture was taken from the bus
on our way to the hotel.

Novotel Hotel in Trabzon, Turkey

This was a five-star hotel opened only six months earlier. We were handed a key upon entering the lobby and shown to our nice room with a king size bed. After a nap and a shower, we joined the other passengers for the delicious buffet luncheon with all the varieties of things to choose, much like being on a cruise ship. This was not seeming like a hardship for us!

The beach side of the hotel by the Black Sea.

The Black Sea behind the hotel.
Notice the dark colored sand.

Another view of the sea and part of Trabzon.

The Black Sea behind us.

The walkway leading from the hotel to the beach.

We walked on the beach and picked up some seashells and then we went out the front door of the hotel to get a view of Trabzon.

We walked about a block toward the city
and took this picture.

The hotel served another buffet banquet for our evening meal. At 10:15 p.m. we boarded the buses again to return to the airport for our flight to Armenia.

They were very organized in returning our passports
at the airport and getting us airborne.

We arrived in Yerevan, Armenia
at 3:20 a.m. on Friday, February 30, and
got to the Congress Hotel
about 4:30 a.m.
Our room was nice,
nothing like what we had left in Turkey.

Elder Tom & Sister Jill Blotter
Humanitarian Missionaries in Armenia

Igor from Finance in Moscow picked us up at our hotel and took us to the Mission office where we met Elder & Sister Blotter. After about two hours, Igor left to return to Moscow; and we remained to provide training for the Blotters. That evening we ate at a restaurant around the corner from our hotel with a sign out front letting us know the food was from a real Armenian kitchen. It was a small restaurant with very friendly service. I ordered something wrapped in grape vine leaves, and Sam's was wrapped in cabbage leaves. Both were very tasty. The man brought a pitcher to our table of red Armenian wine as a gift, and we had to thank him but let him know we don't drink wine. Pretty soon, he came smiling and exchanged it for some juice. I definitely would recommend this little cafe.

Real Armenian kitchen - good food and service.

We met the next morning at 9:30 at the Mission office to continue the training. For lunch, we ordered some cheese filled bread and a salad and were served in a quaint private room (shown in the photo at the beginning of this blog).

This table was set for a birthday party,
but we had our lunch in a small room at the back.

We finished with the training about 5:00 p.m. and went with the Blotters to a grocery store and then returned to our hotel. After eating a snack in our room, we went to Republic Square to take some pictures.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Republic Square

Mariott Hotel in Republic Square

Another view of Republic Square at night

Sunday morning we attended church in this
building with the spire. Inside the
building is nice and clean
in contrast to the neighborhood.

The sign on the building lets those who read
Aremenian know it is the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This little girl was one of the first to greet us
at church Sunday morning.

This picture was taken before the meeting started.
Many Armenian men have beards.

A monument in Yerevan taken Sunday morning
before we left for the airport.

We were supposed to fly out of Yerevan about 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, but the flight was delayed a couple of hours. With all the flight delays and changes in schedules, I finished three books on this trip.

Going through passport control in Moscow went the quickest yet, and we were back in our apartment by 10:00 that night. I did have a moment of confusion when the security personnel at passport control asked me how long I was staying in Moscow, and I replied with the expiration date on my visa - April 30. He was puzzled and kept asking me the same question. I finally realized the source of the confusion was caused by my ticket indicating I had a round-trip with a return to Yerevan in four days. They had issued me a round trip because it was cheaper than a one-way, but I wasn't using the return portion.

We will be returning to Yerevan in April for the Area Humanitarian Conference April 23 & 24.

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