DAY FOURTEEN… 31.25 miles (50 km)

We’ve opted to take the small road from Tatev to Kapan even though it is unmetalled, due to it being quiet and having no lorries on it. The climb out of Tatev was really tiring. I can’t believe that Tim actually turned down a lift. Sheer madness.

Bikes resting at the top of the pass

Have to say though that we felt in a really wild place. Some concern about bears and wolves, but none in evidence.

Long descent on dirt tracks

En route we passed a little village where we found a ‘shop’ (a metal box like structure). No shop keeper inside, and so had to retrieve one by ringing our bells. Inside the shop were lots of things you did not want; sweets (50%), alcohol (40%),… however the ‘shopkeeper’ fetched us some actual food from her own home, some cheese and some bread, and some cucumbers. Why would you have these in a shop?  And we did buy a dark chocolate Bounty Bar.

Waiting for the shop keeper

The next ‘shop’ where we bought supplies for the evening involved, like the last shop, finding the shopkeeper and getting the shop unlocked. We could not see anything obviously edible in the shop so I asked for eggs. A shaking of the head… “No”. Why would there be any when hens are everywhere? And milk? Likewise, blank, despite cows being one of the few animals around. But with a phone call and lots of translation, the ‘shopkeeper’ went off and returned with a plastic bottle full of very warm milk. Did she milk a cow?

Alysun waiting for the warm bottle of fresh milk

We began our search for a camp spot early but everywhere we asked we were told ‘NO’. We were hoping to stay in the grounds of small hotels, we then asked in a shop, not interested, tried to go up a road (very uphill), leading to a reservoir, but told ‘No’.

By this time, we were getting very close to Kapan, so decided to try arriving at our B&B a day early. It was dusk as we reached Kapan, and no one could help us to find the accommodation that we had booked.  Eventually, we went into an office with a notary sitting at his desk and got some help there. The B&B man showed up about 30 mins later, led us away from the nice part of town towards the seedy Soviet tower blocks (the only housing in Kapan).  Our accommodation turned out to be on the second floor, no lift there so we had to carry everything up two flights of stairs and into the apartment. There was another man already there, sitting on his sofa, smoking his way through a packet of cigarettes.  He was due to be evicted, so that we could have the “Kapan Apartment” (as described on, but he was taking his time. Eventually we were left with the place to ourselves. Not very well stocked and a bit scruffy but OK.