Thursday, May 24, 2007


Gooten Tag,

Vienna was spectacular! We spent the fist day visiting Lucy and Heinz's family. Their grandkids are absolutely adorable!

We also had a fabulous meal of traditional Austrian schnitzel at a restaurant overlooking the city.

We spent the second day at Schonbrum palace where we saw 44 rooms and got the entire history of the Hapsburg empire which was fascinating. Then we got lost in the maze outside in the nicely manicured gardens. They're not as fun to play in as they seem in the movies! We got lost and tired!

Lucy showed us some childhood pictures of Haig's mom and her in Syria which we hadn't seen before.

Finally, we checked out the Andrea Chenier opera which we loved. Thanks Lucy and Heinz for your hospitality!

After a long flight spent watching 3.5 movies (the last one was cut off since we were landing) and very little sleep, we made it home. After the uncomfortable overnight bus and train trips, the plane was luxurious!

This is our last blog. On our trip, we learned a lot about other cultures, got to visit with family, got a glimpse into charity work in Armenia, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other. Thank you for your comments and for sharing this very special trip with us. We're very fortunate to have such great people in our lives.

-Kar and Haig

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Croatia Continued


Haig does not want to defend himself against the speedo comments but lets just say he was not the only one sporting such an outfit!

We apologize for the short blog last time. We were dealing with a Mac and it didnt recognize the pictures (nor does our computer now so our pics are not in order). The keyboard that were using now is kind of weird too so excuse the absence of apostrophes.

Well, since we last wrote, we have visited the islands of Lokrum and Mljet. The last island is a national park and actually one of the Survivor seasons was taped on one of the beaches.

As for the food, weve been eating tons of food. Haig is loving the seafood (especially the mussels) but poor Kar has to stick to bread and cheese and wine. Dont worry though because we had a kitchen most of the time and managed to cook some protein.

We also got to take in Croatian culture at the folk dance and music show which was amazing.

Finally, we had a tragic yet funny Haig and Kar adventure which helps complete our journey! We took a bus to our final destination in Croatia (the Plitvice Lakes National Park) and we knew we would get in around 3 am but we figured there would be a bus station so we could either sleep there or find a place to sleep. NO! The bus driver dropped us off in the middle of the jungle and to make matters worse, it was pouring rain. We managed to find a hotel but luckily for us, they didnt have any rooms. Lucky since it was super expensive. We stayed in the lobby playing cards until 5 am when we could actually see where we were going. We hiked to the tourist information office which didnt open until 8 so we found shelter in an strudel stand and hung out for another three hours. The good news is that we finally found a great bed and breakfast!

Now, back to the park... we saw some incredible water falls and the clearest and bluest water we had ever seen. We got to get a nice workout too on our hike which our muscles thanked us for.

Now were in Zagreb, Croatia and next well be visiting Haigs moms childhood friend in Vienna, Austria for 2 days before we fly back home.

Miss you all but see you soon!

Kar and Haig

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hungary and Croatia


We spent 3 days in Budapest, Hungary. We went to two of their baths (we couldn't take pictures inside) which were fun and relaxing, Haig forced Kar to go to the circus which she ended up loving, and we visited Castle Hill.

After a grueling overnight train ride, we made it to beautiful Dubrovnick, Croatia. We've been lounging on the beach and just having a blast in this cute little town. We'll let the pictures do the talking.

Bye for now.

-Kar and Haig

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Prague, Czech Republic

Dobry den (hello in Czech),

We just spent 3 days in Prague and we are headed to Hungary on an overnight train tonight. The city is gorgeous and Haig is loving the goulash and dumplings. It was hard for Kar to order vegetarian food (1. because there aren't many vegetarian options and 2. because no one speaks English in the non touristy areas). However, Kar is loving the beer!!!

We visited Prague castle, Charles Bridge, the Jewish district where we went inside the oldest synagogue in Eastern Europe, and the Communist Museum which was fascinating. We also went rowing on the river, relaxed at the parks, and checked out a jazz bar. The city is already overrun by tourists. We would hate to see what it was like in the high season.

Compared to the rest of the places we've been on our trip, Prague is definitely the most expensive, therefore, we stayed in a hostel which was actually very quaint and cute. Luckily, there were no drunken 18 year olds to interrupt our sleep! This hostel actually had a lot of older couples (most in private rooms) but it was encouraging for us to see that we can maintain our type of travel as we get older.

-Kar and Haig

ps. The transportation system here rocks! However, the ticketing is on an honor system but undercover police randomly ask for tickets. Haig had misplaced his ticket and we almost got a fine!!!! Luckily we found it but missed our stop and were lost for a while.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Goodbye Armenia :(


Thanks to Haig's parents generosity, we were able to buy some school supplies and deliver them to a school in Armash village. It was an emotional experience and the kids were very appreciative. We also helped provide assistance to a senior center just outside of Yerevan. Finally, we visited a school for children with speaking disabilities which is supported by the Armenian Relief Society in the Bay Area. We plan on sharing our pictures and thoughts with the organization when we get back to the States.

We also got the chance to visit Kar's grandmother's sister and although we decided to pop in on them without a call, their Armenian hospitality was in full force. In an hour, we had a full meal in front of us. We spent a few hours eating and giving toasts which is an interesting Armenian tradition. Haig even drank AND gave a toast. Go Haig!

Kar's dad took us to Sevan Lake where it was hailing most of the time. This is a popular summer destination but that day we had the whole lake to ourselves. We found a guy to bar-b-q our fish for us and enjoyed the beautiful view. The lady in the picture is another one of Kar's relatives she had never met.

We were sad to leave Armenia. We truly felt at home and are glad to have met so many of our family members who made this trip very memorable. We definitely plan on returning. We've learned a lot about the politics and daily life of the people and feel closer to our homeland.

Bye for now.
-Kar and Haig

Kar's dad's house just outside of Yerevan

A night on the town at a karaoke bar where a lot of Russian songs were sang

Kar's relative's country house

Dancing in the living room

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Armenia - Week #3


Where to start... We have had so many adventures in the last week. We visited Garni Temple which is a pagan temple from the 1st century, Ghegard church which was carved out of the mountain, Saghmosavank where we visited the family Haig met during his volunteering in 2000, and Khor Virap where Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for 14 years.
We also went to the brandy factory, Sergei Paragonov museum, saw Anoush opera, and had dinner with the mayor of the village Kar's dad brought gas to.
We've had a great time with Kar's dad, her cousin who came to visit from Iran, and the rest of the family. One night, we went to a club and it was so cool to hear Armenian music mixed in with the rap :) We have continued our Armenian studies and Haig has started taking dooduk lessons and is loving it.

April 24th was truly a somber event and a special time to be in Armenia. Amazingly, it snowed all day but we joined the crowd and marched to Tsidsernakaberd and visited the museum.

We still have a lot planned for the remaining 3 days in Armenia but will update you next week when we get to Eastern Europe. We are both healthy and happy. We miss you all.


-Kar and Haig

Monday, April 16, 2007

Armenia - Week #2

Barev tsez,

We are still loving Armenia! We've visited the Armenian History Museum, the Tumanyan museum (famous Armenian author), and Echmiazin which is the seat of the Armenian church and was build in 301 AD. The Armenian History Museum was fabulous. There were a lot of rugs, clothing, pottery, and jewelry. They even had artifacts from BC. We especially enjoyed the Tumanyan museum since we plan on going to the Anoush opera which was written by him and Kar has read one or two of his books including Gigor which is a very sad story.

We went to Echmiazin yesterday and saw a service which was cool. It was quite long since they were ordaining new priests.
We also visited Kar's dad's family who she had never met. They even had pictures of the family. It was great hearing all their childhood stories and playing with their kids. For Easter, Armenians have a tradition where they color eggs and try to see who can break whose egg. The winner gets the eggs. These eggs were from their hens and were super tasty. They live in a village and have a small vegetable farm. It was nice to be outside the city and see the beautiful countryside.

Other than that, we've been taking Armenian lessons with my cousin almost everyday and being spoiled by my aunt's yummy food. It's so nice to have them so close by. One night, they took us to a club where we heard an Armenian reggae band. It was so odd to hear but quite fun! We've also enjoyed watching American movies in Armenia though it's weird to hear Brad Pitt speak Armenian with someone else's voice.

And of course we need to say a bit about the food. Below are pictures of the Armenian pizza called lahmajon and a dessert made with walnuts called soujoughk. We've also tired pirachcki which is just meat, potato, or cream in fried dough. Those are quite yummy but we are eating them sparingly since we are trying to watch our figures!

The environmental festival was quite disappointing since there were no booths and it was mainly a concert and a few activities for the kids. They are having a cleanup in a few days so we'll go to that and Kar hopes to make some contacts.
We'll update you once more this weekend before we head to Eastern Europe. We miss you all.

-Kar and Haig