Trip Start Sep 28, 2005
18Trip End Oct 03, 2005
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As with all our meals the Armenian red wine is flowing and toasts to Artur and Naira had everyone feeling quite teary.
Artur has become less stoic as our journey has continued and given us little insights to his family, the scent of Armenian cigarettes and the difficult life of an Armenian man who has a good job ... but at the cost of being away from his family regularly.
Naira is simply lovely, adjectivally undescribable! We toast her enthusiasm, warmth and her knowledge of all things Armenian, even answering quirky questions as to why someone hasn't seen many pussy cats
Our toasts finish and the national Armenian tourist board representative shows up - a diminutive woman who is proud of her country, happy that we've come specifically to Armenia rather than as part of a tour, and presents us all with a gift.
We are moved yet again. Such a personal gesture would rarely (never?) happen in a more 'developed' country.
The band strikes up before things can get too melancholy with the prospect of 'home' being only hours away. We take to the dance floor for one whirl with Artur and Naira.
The tears come back, however, at the airport the next morning.
We are loathe to say goodbye. This has been such a fantastic taste of a wonderful country. I've traveled with a diverse and entertaining group of people, and experienced wonderful Armenian hospitality.
The terms and phrases, 'best-kept secret' and 'get there before it's discovered' are somewhat over-used in travel circles but Armenia is definitely deserving of this tag.
Armenia is far from sophisticated but the warmth, beauty of its Ten Worlds, and lovely people override any perceptions of what may be lacking. This country is one of the world's lovely surprises and its interesting location may help to gently bring it into the tourism eye, rather than as the latest 'get there' destination.
After all, who remembers Armenia?