Decided to go there simply because I thought I’d go to a former Soviet Union country before Russia decides to annex it too. I went to this place not expecting anything. I was told though that it’s not as pretty as Georgia, and I saw for myself that it was true. However, I learned that I cannot decide which former USSR country is a better place to visit and it would be unfair to compare. While Georgia is probably more pleasing to the eye, this country has a certain charm in itself. This place is much richer in history (it is the first Christian country in the world and still practice one of its oldest forms) imo and there are lots of those little things that are quite amusing for me. Like how their statues pose.
It also has one of the best tourist crowds I’ve ever had the privilege to be part of and made me appreciate how enjoyable solo travel is again. No hordes of Chinese tourists or busloads of American rednecks. They’re quite educated and are eager to discuss its history that most of us just learned right there because it’s not exactly in the school curriculum and mutually agree on how amazing the place is. Must be because it’s a bit off the beaten track and as our tour guide from Batanes said, the more uncommon a place it is to visit, the more quality tourists you get. Particularly noteworthy are the ethnic Armenians, part of the diaspora who came back for a visit to their motherland. One lady I sat on the bus with said she grew up in Syria, then moved to Australia, and now lives in Canada. A couple of grannies grew up in Lebanon then moved to London. They still make it a point to preserve their culture and teach the language to their children even if they are already the third generation in the family who has lived outside the country. Then there’s the guy working in a restaurant whose family has lived in Syria for a long time but decided to come home to Armenia because they’re killing off Christians there now.
I love how they never forget how millions of them died in a genocide committed by the Ottoman Turks early in the 20th century so a lot of those who escaped are now scattered all over the world. And how deep the hurt still is on losing the most sacred part (Mt. Ararat) of their historical territory to Turkey, among others they’ve lost. But they don’t bitch about how much they suffered and remind the rest of the world every chance they get nor do they play the eternal victim in the world stage. That kids, is how a people can get respect. Even if what they have endured consequently brought the Kardashians to our lives.