Volunteers & wines in Areni

As our moms were here the last week there hasn’t been much time to sit at home and blog so here comes a late post about a weekend trip before our moms arrived. A trip filled with volunteers, wines and great food (as you may notice is becoming somewhat of a standard here).

It started on a saturday for which AVC & Birthright had planned an excursion to the area around Areni. Areni is the name of a famous grape used for wine in Armenia, and it is also a village where archaeologists found a cave with one of the worlds oldest winery (just around 6000 years BC) and the worlds oldest leather shoe (around 5,500 years BC and it is so cool with shoe strings and all). The history of Armenia in general is fascinating, being one of the worlds oldest countries with developed sophisticated cultures already thousands of years BC. As a reference for those in Sweden, our renowned Viking age for example, was around 6000 years later than the shoe was made. Anyway, back to our excursion.

The landscape on our way to Areni was amazing with deep gorges and fascinating rock formations, something that unfortunately wasn’t caught on photo to share here. You simply just have to go there. We stopped by the cave where the findings have been made, I got slight claustrophobic, we got a short information session in the caves and found out that only some ten percent had yet been discovered. One can only imagine what they might find further in the cave.

After the visit we arrived for some lunch in a backyard covered in lushy beautiful grape leaves, and it was a real proof of the extraordinary Armenian hospitality. Some 60 volunteers entered a private family’s backyard where the family had prepared a dolma lunch for all of us, including vegetarian AND vegan options. Leo and I have made dolma at home ones, 4 portions, it took us several hours to finish it because you have to roll every dolma by hand. Imagine how much work this family have put into the lunch they served us 60 volunteers. Amazing.

After lunch we had free time to visit the Areni wine festival – a street festival showing of their wines, vodkas and crafts. Some in old soda bottles and some in glass bottles. It was a lot of fun with different types of wine tastings (red white rose, sparkling, wines out of pomegranate, raspberries, even hot gluwein), live music, people everywhere and things to look at wherever you turned your head. And despite what you may think when reading about home made wines in plastic bottles, many of them tasted good. As you may understand it was a jolly mood when we all gathered back at the buses to go home, but not too long after we left Areni village most people had fallen asleep. May it be for the exhausting day full of impressions or for the amounts of wine I dare not to say but all in all it was a really great way to experience another part of Armenia.


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