Category Archives: Other Cool Places

Interesting places that are not included in other categories

The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

Visited in January 2015.

With average annual temperatures of 34-35 degrees Celsius, the Danakil Depression close to the Eritrean border in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia is known as the hottest (barely) inhabited place on Earth. Arid and inhospitable as it is, this part of the country offers some of the most unforgettable and unique landscapes and experiences in the world. To give you some idea, imagine the Gates of Hell complete with a lake of fire, as a brightly colored lunar landscape. If this makes your imagination run wild – start packing your bags, this may be that one trip of a lifetime that all others will be measured against.

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Rabati Fortress in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia

Visited in October 2016

Set in the small town of Akhaltsikhe in the southwestern region of Georgia called Samtskhe-Javakheti, Rabati Fortress is a recently restored historical castle and museum. The road from Tbilisi to Vardzia goes through Akhaltsikhe, so the castle is very easy to visit and a really worthwhile stop, as it’s a great showcase of centuries of Georgian history and culture conveniently located in one site.

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Lake Sevan and Sevanavank

Visited – August 2013

Lake Sevan lies roughly 70 km Northeast of Yerevan, Armenia’s capital.  It’s the largest lake in the Caucasus region and one of the largest high altitude lakes in the world, however its size has been reduced substantially by human intervention. It remains a very popular day trip destination, as well as the largest freshwater reserve in the Caucusus and although the water in the lake is on the chilly side, you can swim here in the summer.

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Khor Virap

Visited – August 2013

Getting to Khor Virap took a very scenic 40 minute drive southeast of Yerevan to the border with Turkey, surrounded by the vineyards of the Ararat plain. This trip is best done early in the morning, as the monastery is located on the Ararat plains and your chances of getting a good look at beautiful Mount Ararat are better at this time of day.

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Visited in August 2013

The Noravank (New Monastery in Armenian) complex is just over 120 km from Yerevan, but we came here from Khor Virap, which is a bit closer at 83 km or about an hour and half by car. If you are not pressed for time, it’s best to time your visit for either early morning or late afternoon, when there will likely be fewer tourists and the light is sure to better. We did not have that luxury, but the site was great even in the mid-afternoon heat. Do not miss.

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