Coming back from Ngorno Karabakh, there was a plenty of stuff for me to do before I could leave Yerevan. Much to my surprise the tire from the UK actually arrived and I could replace the old one. I also washed the motorcycle, changed the engine oil, found a shoemaker to repair my right glove, which had way to many holes, and even bought some leather fat to clean and take care of my jacket. Then there was also the almost ritualized reattachment of my boots’ soles, like the chain requiring its constant lubrication my boots required a constant and regular dose of superglue. By the end of the voyage I have dumped the content of 2 bottles of superglue in between the sole and the boot.
With all this stuff taken care of I set off to lake Sevan, rode around it once and slept at its shores twice. Got surprised and pinned down by morning dew, which soaked my sleeping bag and made me wait for 2 hours while the down dried, met an armenian family who invited me for coffee and breakfast, was followed and observed very closely by two female (and rather good-looking) employees in a supermarket who did not even try to hide their behaviour, became the hero for a group of german tourists, who could not believe that someone has ridden all the way from Germany to Armenia, hit a stretch of damaged road at 90 km/h and was almost sent flying by deep potholes and camped in a forest next to armenian soldiers close to the azerbaijan border.
Well, the last one is a bit of an exaggeration. In fact I did not sleep in the forest but on top of a hill with an amazing view (and probably very visible for all the armenian soldiers hiding in the forests around). My urge to avoid the main road to Georgia didn’t leave me much choice but to take a road in eastern Armenia, close to the border to Azerbaijan. As I explained last episode, both countries don’t exactly like each other and armenian soldiers were travelling back and forth on this road, wich is, for a long stretch, just a few hundreds meters behind the imaginary line in the landscape. Despite the fact that I passed an artillery position and several military convoys, I didn’t consider the situation I was in while travelling along.
But the only shots I heard was loud backfiring from the military trucks, spewing oil and smoke while crawling uphill, and the soldiers, who seemed to be mainly occupied with fixing their trucks by the roadside, were not that menacing. Only afterwards, when I bought some food and told the shopkeeper where I was coming from, she seemed to be worried and told me it was dangerous by imitating a soldier with a gun. On the other hand there was also plenty of normal, local traffic, which puts the danger in perspective (or me in the position of a clueless idiot in between a bunch of death-defying maniacs). Anyways, I decided to make camp in a nearby forest, passed two groups of soldiers and their hidden trucks, asked a third group (who was fixing their truck) if it was ok to camp here (they nodded), continued for a few more kilometers untill I saw no more soldiers (to be on the safe side and out of the potential targeting area) and ended up on said hilltop.
But the night proved to be as peaceful as only a night in the wilderness can be and in the next morning I descended from my hill to cross the border to Georgia and ride to Tblisi. Here I met Sascha again, who was working and living here, and spend some time to appreciate all the beautiful (and not so beautiful) contrasts, that this city has to offer.