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.
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.
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?