Hitchhiking is a common term and even an activity known mostly by those who travel cheap, nomads, vagabonds, backpackers or so. It means getting free lifts through passing vehicles. I haven’t done hitchhiking before but I am familiar with how it goes. Hitchhiking in Armenia is a first time experience for me. Being a first timer, it will always be unique and worth remembering for.
Thanks to Patrick of A Lost Boys Journey for taking us with him as he was hitchhiking in Armenia. Sorry guys for insisting to take us with you hitchhiking. The place we hitchhiked is from Yerevan to Lake Sevan.
From the hostel, we, Frederick and Sijia walked for around 30 minutes to meet Patrick to a place where we can easily hitchhike. Google map interpreted by Frederick lead us to the place.
I don’t know Patrick, so the first time I saw him, I made an impression that he is a nomad. And for sure, he is good in hitchhiking.
Since it was a first time for me and Sijia, we were just having fun and taking selfies and kept on laughing for no reason at all, or maybe we are excited. Fifteen minutes passed and nothing happens. Patrick was asking us to help them. Yay, we forgot to help, really. So I smiled to Sijia, and she got my message “we’ll use our charm.”
We did what we know to do… And comes here the difference of hitchhiking in Armenia from other place:
- Sijia and me were making the thumbs up sign for every vehicle that was passing by. Patrick said it is a no-no here in Armenia. The thumbs up sign means you’re good and the other meaning is same like the middle finger.
- The term they use in Armenia for hitchhiking is Autostop. So we forgot the hitchhiking word and use autostop.
- Everytime a taxi stops, we heard Patrick telling the driver “taxi chei.” We understood what it means. So we say also “taxi chei” for every taxi that stops.
- Learn some Russian phrases to at least communicate where you want to go for the autostop. For this, I relied to Patrick and Sijia for they can speak and understand Russian.
- Patrick also gave us a tip to hold a small paper and write where we want to go so the passing cars will see it easily. Since we don’t have it, we keep on waving our hand while saying, “Sevan,” “Sevan.”
- Be patient, somebody will take you to your destination. We really had fun doing it. We kept on having hope every time a car that stops. It took us around 10 minutes more when one car took us.
The rest of our hitchhiking story is here. The car that took us thinks we want to go to bus terminal going to Sevan. We manage to explain that we want autostop/hitchhike. By that time, it needs a better communication so the owner of the car called somebody who can explain to us in English.
The guy then did the favor to drop us somewhere we can easily catch a car going to Sevan.
We were getting better, so we did the handsign while saying Sevan. Saying taxi chei to every taxi drivers that stop. After sometime, another car stopped, they’re heading to the same direction to Sevan. Somebody’s already sitting in the front sit, so the four of us fit in the backseat that was fun though while Papito Chocolata music was being played.
They took us few kilometers more but they have to go to the opposite direction. We said “spaseebah/thank you” took our bags and went down. And took another car for hitchhiking until we reach Sevan Lake. Yes, the last guy dropped us not only in the highway but in the entrance of Sevan Lake.
The story goes on. We had fun hiking up to the peninsula and explored Sevanavank/ Sevan Monastery. The weather was perfect. The view is awe-inspiring. Everything was a perfect picture and experience.
Around 6 pm, the sun was still up, we went down from the peninsula. We rested for a while. Then we had to separate ways as Frederick and Patrick will go further to Sevan to go on camping. While Sijia and me have to go back to Yerevan.
A short video of our trip here.
We already know what to do with hitchhiking in Armenia. A van stopped and we just said Yerevan. It was the first car who stopped and we were hitchhiking already. The guy was telling something when we saw the sign of Abovyan. He was telling something and when we look at the back, there were two sheep there. We went to Abovyan and delivered the two sheep.
We went back to the Yerevan highway and he has to drop us somewhere. We said our thank you’s and we hitchhiked again. We finally reached Yerevan and they dropped us from the top side of Cascade. A perfect dropping point where we just go down the many, many stairs of Cascade.
That’s my experience with hitchhiking in Armenia. I hope some brave souls will come to do it with me again. I’m still not comfortable doing it alone. Patrick of A Lost Boys Journey is currently in Iran. All the best Patrick, for sure, you will not be the Lost Boy anymore but the one who is settled but will always remain to be a vagabond. Frederick went back to his corporate world in Paris. Sijia crossed the border to Georgia before going back to pursue her studies in Jordan. And me? I’m still in Yerevan. All I can say is, Armenia, the best days are still ahead of us.