While living in Abu Dhabi I had always wanted to go to Armenia which was a short flight from Dubai… About three hours. The capital is Yerevan and we went with our 15 month year old twins. Traveling with children can be a challenge. We took a 90 minute taxi to Dubai and then had to wait in the airport a few hours for the flight. You have to love travel to endure that.
After the three hour flight we were held up a very long time in the airport. They called the apartment we would be staying in and continued to question us about the children. They largely ignored us for about 30 minutes. I am not sure if it was because I am old to have young children or because my wife has dark skin, but we were clearly targeted. Then they questioned the legitamcy of my passport. Finally after an hour of harassment, we were headed out. Then we heard a yell and they demanded to go through my wife’s bags. I told them to speak respectfully to her. They even went on to examine the powder we use for baby milk. Then our taxi dropped us off on the wrong place. We eventually got into our apartment for what ended up being a great week.
Yerevan was a very pleasant surprise with many parks for families and children and lots of nice places to eat. The kids enjoyed the apartment a lot and were starting to walk a lot.
Armenia is a landlocked country with a powerful history. There are about three million citizens. They are surrounded by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Iran. There seems to be border disagreements and skirmishes with almost all neighbors. It seems the relationship with Azerbaijan is particularly Rocky. The Armenians do invest in their military.
One of the powerful, traumatic aspects of their history is the Armenian genocide. 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turks between 1914 and 1923. There is a huge e monument and museum dedicated to this. It is impressive and depressing. Remarkably the Turks have consistently tried to deny the genocide. It colors everything and everybody in Armenia.
There was a lot of nice artwork around town and I have heard their education system emphasizes the arts and music. We took a tour outside of town one day. The countryside is picturesque and their are spectacular old churches to be seen.