This summer, I so much enjoyed taking my readers with me to different communities I traveled to. I should admit that I cherish my present status and I feel blessed to have the courage to put words on paper. When I rewind to the time I was young and bold, I would have never imagined that one day I could call myself a writer, though secretly I wished so.
This would be my last column I will submit to Asbarez before I get home. I will continue to write about my experiences and things I’ve seen during my five months traveling. I wrote this piece for the celebration of my 64th birthday in Dilijan a few years ago.
“When I’m 64,” is a song by the Beatles. I wonder what made them create that song when they were only in their 20s. A little research shows that Paul McCartney wrote the lyrics when he was only 16. Whatever the reason, today the song relates to me, because “I’m 64.”
I wonder, when did the clock turn over and I became a senior citizen? Up until my late 40s, I was stuck in my twenties. But as the years trickled by and my 50s rolled along, there was a game change. Although I could not believe the advancement of the years, little by little I felt my real age.
A few years ago I was in Armenia when the 64th came along. My daughter surprised me by arranging an overnight trip to Dilijan, a small resort town about one and half hours north of Yerevan, which is also known as the little Switzerland of Armenia with its lush green surroundings and homes that are built like Swiss cottages.
That year I had stayed in Armenia for the whole summer. My daughter was there too with her husband. To celebrate my birthday and having my daughter to myself for a whole day was a real treat. She and her husband had moved to Armenia one year before. Her work and their social life didn’t leave enough time for hanging out together while I was in Armenia.
I call Dilijan the Shangri-La of Armenia. I felt it during my first visit to Armenia in 2001 when I travelled to Dilijan. We were traveling as a group in a bus. It was the second day of our stay—still jet-lagged, the bus-tour took us from Yerevan to Lake Sevan, and from there to Dilijan.
When we left Lake Sevan, I was tired and the motion of the bus put me to sleep.
I was dozing off in the bus and when I opened my eyes, I truly felt that we had entered Shangri-La. The landscape had changed from arid dry to lush verdant. I had never been to anywhere with such green, beautiful, rolling hills. A landscape unlike any other I’d seen enveloped us. It was a breathtaking, jaw-dropping experience.
I must admit that I didn’t know much about the geography of Armenia at that time. I thought Armenia, just like Iran, where I grew up, had a dry and mountainous climate, which it has. I was not aware that the tiny country had diverse climatic zones. They call them micro climates.
On the edges of the road, the village boys and girls were selling head bands made from wild flowers. The bus made a stop and most women bought those pretty wreaths with ribbons hanging from behind. It was magical. There and then I fell in love with the beauty of Dilijan, which until that moment I didn’t even know existed.
So, when my daughter said that for my birthday she wanted to treat me to a trip to Dilijan, my heart melted. My birthday is at the end of October, when the leaves change color.
Daravand Lodge, where we stayed for one night, is hugged by hillsides with spectacular view of mountainous woods. The best part of the trip was when we had our delicious breakfast at the balcony of the hotel overlooking the forest of glorious autumn colors. I should add that the proprietor of the lodge, Razmik, made all the furniture of the lodge with tasteful local motives, as a hobby of his. It was a memorable getaway.