#Enjoy_Armenia, with this slogan (and hashtag ?), we are travelling through Armenia, discovering our wonderful country, interesting places and initiatives for our readers.
While looking for interesting travel activities on the internet, among many other ideas we found the Rafting.am Armenia initiative.
First, what is rafting?
Rafting – a rowing boat in the direction of mountain rivers with groups of 4-20 people in the rubber boat.
It is a relatively new emerging sport in Armenia and a destination for extreme tourism.
Thanks to persistent efforts of Lilit Asatryan, president of “Armenian Young Women’s Association” NGO, that the locals and our foreign guests can enjoy this adventure sport for already 3 months.
The project was supported by the UN Office for “Integrated Rural Tourism Development” in Armenia.
Where is Rafting.am?
Rafting is launched from the 7th kilometre of the road leading from the Alaverdi town of Debed to Akhtala, where guests are welcomed.
The initiators of the project are trying to promote the discovery of natural and human potential and tourist attractiveness as much as possible.
For this purpose, only local people are involved in all the work.
Having received a warm invitation from Lilit, we went to Akhtala.
Frankly speaking there was some fear as it was the first time we were trying to do something like this.
But the calm and confident advice of the skilled instructor, Aram, increased our courage.
He introduced the most important instructions, first steps, and safety rules in different situations.
After wearing the appropriate uniform we were ready.
From the moment of coming into the water, there was a full dependence on each member of the team, the instructor, and on the ability to navigate quickly and accurately.
On that day the Debed was mostly calm, but sometimes it seemed that the boat would now turn around, but the skill of the professional instructor kept everything under control.
Even in some cases, the extreme dose was increased by setting 360 degrees of rattles between the crazy waves and the stones.
During the calm moment, our instructor told us about rafting as one of the best teambuilding methods for the collective, about the nature and the outstanding people of Akhtala.
These conversations were periodically interrupted by clashes with waves and orders of Aram.
In some extreme situations, we came across large stones, crossing the wall, collapsing, and colliding.
Our impressions and emotions cannot be expressed by words.
All this needs to be welcomed. We advise you.?
In honour of us, we made a few mistakes, basically doing all the instructions strictly. So we became members of an extreme travelling team.
A few helpful tips
- Get acquainted with the safety rules and sign it.
- Make sure you have alternate clothing. There is the right thing to do.
- Have water-resistant technical equipment to fix those crazy moments.
How long does the rafting process take?
Usually, the route includes 12 km and it takes 1 hour and 20 minutes, but we’re asking for the first time to shorten the duration. Our rafting lasted 40 minutes and we passed 6km along the Debed.
We were soaked through and even drank some water.
We did not believe that it was over 40 minutes, this sport completely absorbs you and you lose the sense of time.
At the finish, we met Lilit.
The return wasn’t less extreme, sitting on the pickup car.
On the way back, Aram answered a few questions and gave us more information. One of the members of the staff showed his hunting.
So the rafting was over, and we were under wet, tired and vivid impressions.
Lilit invited us to the Nurik Center, which consisted of a beautiful and hospitable bakery, a souvenir shop, a touristic centre built on site.
A few words about Lilit Asatryan.
As a public figure, I had a great chance to know her since our university years, and I was always impressed by her initiative, pluralism and patriotism.
And this is only a well-known list.
Only the last two initiatives involve more than two dozen locals, instructors, cooks, bakers, waiters, administrative staff, and more.
Also, the majority of the food needed for the cuisine is provided by local farmers.
Rafting.am Armenian and NURIK Center are the social projects of Armenian Young Women’s Association (AYWA). The profit of Rafting.am and NURIK Center is used by AYWA for its program goals, including the creation of new jobs for women and vulnerable groups, women entrepreneurship development, and environmental protection.
A short tour to the Church of the Holy Virgin Mary (X century) and monastery complex in Akhtala was organized, and the instructor was presenting the history and a few exciting episodes about the church.
During our visit to the churchyard, there was a filmmaking process.
There were many beautiful scenes, with rich stories.
We were in Akhtala for the first time and it was new and mysterious for us.
A warm conversation around the table
Then Lilit invited us to have dinner. Beautiful wide hall, designed with national motives, national cuisine with the warm staff.
Extremely tasty dishes
A warm talk around the table, about the current and far-reaching programs of the Nurish Center, was a must.
Thank you Lilit Asatryan for inviting us, for your hospitality and warm memories.
Thanks to all the staff for meeting and being so hospitable and friendly.
Thinking on the way back
The day was really full of emotions, new acquaintances, interesting information.
Every time I am surprised, how many human and natural resources we have yet to discover, not only for tourists but also for us.
How wonderful is it when someone initiates and takes responsibility to change the seemingly disadvantaged present-day and make it a bright future?
On the way back, we bought figs, cornels and raspberries from the locals.
Local tourism has an animated effect, so it needs to be stimulated and developed.
So, #Enjoy Armenia.
We continue our discoveries!
With this site
And wait for us in your village, in your city, at the guest house, in the recreational or leisure area.
Soaked to the skin from Akhtala,