In the morning I headed into the capital, a stark and foreign landscape: cars, traffic, people waling the streets with bags of groceries and smartphones, someplace to be or on their way, urgency, chaos, frenetic energy surrounding me and overwhelming my senses. There I was, with nothing to do and nowhere to go, a tourist once again on the place I called home.
I knew my stop here was only temporary, but still, I tried to leave my transient rhythm behind in order to renter my pre-trip routine—only to find that I didn’t have the strength, nor really the desire. I rested a bit at home, then finally decided it was time to visit the familiar and went for a drink at Calumet. Shaking hands, kissing cheeks, exchanging the same required pleasantries, telling the same story over and over—I didn’t belong. Happy faces danced around me, careless, spinning in circles with their hands thrust into the smoky air, and I just couldn’t bring myself to stay for long.
Luckily, though, I met some new friends, all eager to share their ideas of where I should head next (mostly from hometown pride). I fell asleep half-drunk with a list of destinations to visit for when I started further north toward Georgia; these guys were full of good ideas. In order for me to see all of Armenia, I couldn’t just go straight to the border; regardless of how much I wanted to get this trip over with, I had to zigzag my way up, head to Sevan, cross Aragats (the tallest peak in Armenia), and come down the other side into Gyumri, since there was no way I could miss the biggest village in the country. From there, I’d have to move back northeast toward Vanadzor, Dilijan and Ijevan, the tropical belt of the country, in order to truly catch everything this mountainous landscape has to offer.