Temple Garni

Recently Kim Kardashian came back from a trip to Armenia and the media flooded us with pictures from her trip. One of the pictures was from a photo shoot where Kim, surrounded by her kids, is standing overlooking a cavernous valley bellow. In that moment I was just very happy that I went to this place first and was able to post pictures of my trip before anybody could accuse me of copying Kim (jokes for those who don’t understand sarcasm).
 The Temple of Garni is a pagan temple that was built in the first century AD. It is theorized that the temple was built by King Tiridates of Armenia in homage to the sun god Mihr. The tour to the temple can be booked at any Yerevan tour agency and usually includes a guided tour to the Geghard monastery. Most of tours are also in three languages including Armenian, Russian, and English and the guides are super knowledgeable about the history of all the stops.
Let’s keep this real, Garni is the perfect place for an Instagram photoshoot. This temple looks straight out of Greece and even though Garni is  popular with the tourists, the crowds don’t come close to what you would encounter at the Parthenon. I was able to have a whole photoshoot (I use this term very loosely as my mom was the photographer) without being interrupted. The scenery surrounding Garni is also otherworldly. As somebody who is from Colorado, even I was impressed by the rolling hills and the valleys. Even though its kind of a bitch to get to as you have to connect in either Vienna or Paris, more people need to experience the beauty of Armenia.
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An ode to my favorite place in Armenia

On my last post I was asked to elaborate more about my trip to Armenia. Because it was a very hastily planned trip I wasn’t really sure what to expect, so imagine my surprise when I realized my favorite place in Armenia was a 15 minute walk from my hotel and free to all visitors.

The Cascade in Yerevan is a giant limestone multi-level staircase in the Kentron neighborhood of the city. It’s 387 feet high and you can climb up to the top by either the limestone steps on the outside (unless you are super in-shape I don’t suggest that) or you can take the indoor air-conditioned escalators (winning). The different floors of the Cascade have water fountains, art installations, sculptures, and gardens where you can either take pictures or just sit look out on Yerevan and enjoy yourself. ​

The Cascade is also surrounded by a square filled with flowers and art installations where people like to come out and spend their summer days. It was so relaxing to just go sit in the square with an ice cream cone and watch the locals and tourists alike come out and enjoy their last days of summer. Pretty close to the Cascade is a restaurant called Santa Fe with plenty of outdoor seating. The restaurant is a bit pricey, but my mom and I decided to just have a coffee and a milkshake (my mom is still talking about how delicious her milkshake was). The dining experience in Europe is super different from that of the US, so we took our time and sipped our drinks and nobody was rushing us out.

Here are some pictures from the multiple floors of the Cascade. If you come early in the morning there’s hardly any people here so you have the whole place to yourself to take pictures. 7CF618AB-A787-410E-996A-F180A4EA42898B4CBF29-2AF6-429A-B768-1CF7F2C589561152E35F-3CA7-42A5-9F77-1D04F78BC73CE81D261A-FFBF-4C42-9558-93280A25AD58

Scenes from Armenia (part 2)

Armenia was never on my list of places to travel. I am half Georgian (like the country) and half Russian, so when it came to visiting the Caucasus, the only country I ever thought about was Georgia. When the opportunity presented itself this summer, since my mom was visiting Russia and would be close to the Caucasus region, we started planning out trip to Tbilisi so I can learn more about that side of my heritage.

As luck would have it during the summer of 2019 a political conflict escalated between Russia and Georgia and all flights between the two countries were canceled. My mom, who was in Russia at the time, wouldn’t be able to go and not wanting to go alone we decided to pick another country that we could both fly into. And this is where Armenia comes in. I knew that Armenia was a country, but to be honest the only thing I knew about it was the Armenian Genocide and the fact that Kim Kardashian and Cher were both half Armenian…thats it. Armenia is an ancient country full of history, going back to Biblical times so one blog article would not do its history justice. In the next post I will discuss some of my favorite places in Armenia, but for now enjoy the beauty of this ancient land. 71225650_10158855123919167_7909376455350419456_o71218882_10158855119359167_6817006851381526528_o

The Most Instagramable Places in the US*

Have you ever looked at pictures of Instagram influencers frolicking in the sands of Dubai and wanted to live out all of your Lawerence of Arabia dreams? Have you ever dreamed of curling your toes in the sand, but realized you don’t have a sugar daddy to buy you an Emirates ticket? Well as a self-described duneophile (yes ladies and gentlemen I am addicted to sand dunes) I have the perfect place for you with a much lower ticket price.

White Sands National Monument is a national park located in the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico. What you will notice first is the magical stark white dunes that get their color because the dunes themselves are made up of gypsum crystals. Coming here is like stepping into your wildest Southwestern dreams. The white dunes meet the crystal blue sky speckled with Yucca plants make for truly one of the most Instagramable places on Earth.

I drove the 4 hours here from Santa Fe (another place that will make your Instagram feed rival any influencer), however, if you don’t want to drive 4 hours through a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, I suggest flying into El Paso, TX and driver the 1.5 hours to the national park.

* Before you think of me as a dense social media obsessed idiot, please know these entries are made to be fun. Of course I don’t encourage people to go to a place because it makes for a good picture, but you would be lying to yourself if you didn’t admit there are people like this out there (if you are one of those no shame here). I love traveling and seeing new and unique places; it’s just an added bonus that they look like something you would find on the discovery page on Instagram. Honestly at the end of the day if you are getting out of your routine, going to see something new and different, and maybe learning something along the way why does it matter why you went there in the first place?

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Walking into the unknown
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Toes in the sand