I didn’t see many restaurants in Vanadzor. One that was in the guidebook seemed to be shut down, so I went to Avantgarde on Tigran Mets Poghota. I sat down at one of the outdoor tables and got a menu, which was both in Armenian and English (good as the waiter did not speak English). They did not have my first choice so I ordered cheeseburger and French fries. I thought I was going to get a hamburger, but the cheeseburger was a lot of bread with some cheese, ham and lettuce.
“Cheeseburger”, French fries, 7-up and bread was 1500 drams.
There is a marshrutka (minibus) at 9.20 from Ortachala in Tbilisi to Vanadzor. It leaves earlier if it gets full, which was the case when I travelled with it. To Ortachala you can take marshrutka 94 and 118 from Marjanishvili (from outside McDonald’s). I arrived at the station around 8.00, bought the ticket and had some tea and bread. At 8.45 the bus was full and left Tbilisi. We were going very slowly and after a while we stopped and the driver fixed the engine. Almost all the way the road was bad with lots of potholes. Before the border the road only became more narrow and it was slowly going up and up, and we did not meet any other vehicles for a long time. The border crossing was Mughanlo.
Getting the visa was easy. I filled in a form and paid 30 dollars, they put the data in the computer and stamped the visa. There was no comments about my Azeri visa.
In Stepanavan the marshrutka stopped outside an office for money exchange and I changed my last laris into drams.
The bus ride took between 5 - 6 hours and the price was 16 lari.
In Vanadzor the bus stopped at the bus station, next to the train station.
I was told the minibus to Dilijan, from Vanadzor, left at 9.00. When I had breakfast I was told it left at 8.30 and hurried up, didn't want to be without ticket. 8.15 I arrived at the bus station and was shown to the marshrutka (minibus) to Dilijan. In the window of the minibus there was a timetable, and apparently the 8.30 bus was just the first of six buses.
The bus ride to Dilijan took about one hour, but we had had a long break for fixing the engine. Dilijan is not the last stop for the bus so it stops to let passengers of by the roundabout below the town. The price was 500 drams (July 2006).
The landscape between Vandazor and Dilijan is very beautiful with green mountains.