Category Archives: Great weekends

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

Levon Aronian, 2017 Chess World Cup winner, got married yesterday. The Armenian grandmaster and his Filipina-Australian bride, also a chess champion, had their wedding photos taken at Zvartnots cathedral. I know, because I was there. Chess is Premier League combined … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Armenia, Armenian art, Beauty, chess, Christianity, Church, Cross-cultural understanding, gratitude, Great weekends, identity, joy, love, National pride, pagan ritual, sporting achievements, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Weddings, Women | Leave a comment

A little help from my friends. Part One

The spiced chickpeas were in one bowl and the eggplant curry in another. The rice was cooked, although not very well. It was clumpy and sticky despite having been soaked and rinsed. Why did I buy basmati? If I can't … Continue reading

Posted in Archaeology, Armenia, Armenian art, Cooking, Duvet covers, Embarrassment, family, fear, Food, friendship, Great weekends, Illness, Peace Corps, personal failings, Sickness, Things that gladden the heart, travel | 1 Comment

Sunday lunch

The mass at Tatev monastery is a real workout. The service lasts at least two hours, during which the congregation stands. At intervals the faithful must dip to touch the floor, kneel for protracted periods on slabs of stone, and … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Christianity, Church, Cross-cultural understanding, drinking, Food, friendship, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, Religion, Social niceties, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Women | Leave a comment

Thunder Road

I call it the Thunder Road, although there is nothing loud, scary or stormy about it, and there’s not a Hell’s Angel or Harley Davidson in sight. No sign of Bruce or his bandana either. The road from Sisian to … Continue reading

Posted in Antrim coast, apricots, Archaeology, Armenia, Beauty, Caucausus, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Giants Causeway, Great weekends, History, joy, Nature, Northern Ireland, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel | 4 Comments

In the Pink at the Raspberry Festival

The mayor was wearing a shiny blue suit with a silvered stripe. He stood out in the heat of the day, not least because almost everyone around him was attired in raspberry pink. The occasion was the Raspberry festival, held … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Beauty, Belfast, Cross-cultural understanding, family, Food, Great weekends, joy, Language, Language learning, love, Northern Ireland, Nostalgia, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka, Women, work | Leave a comment

Taxi Talk

Ara taught himself English from an old phrase book. He was 10 years old and Armenia was at war with Nagorno-Karabakh. His world was an uncertain and dangerous place and Armenia’s economy was in tatters. In 1994 there was nowhere … Continue reading

Posted in apricots, Armenia, Beauty, Cross-cultural understanding, Driving, Drugs, Environment, family, friendship, Great weekends, Household tips, Jermuk, Language learning, Nagorno-Karabakh, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Vacation spots | 1 Comment

Yank Don’t Tug

​​​​ ​​You know it’s a good party when the men start the dancing, the wine is $2 a liter, and there’s a bouncy sheep. All of these were elements of today’s Sheep Shearing Festival in the mountains close to Goris. … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Great weekends, Homebrew, Moonshine, National pride, Peace Corps, Syunik Marz, Things that gladden the heart, travel, Village life, Vodka | 2 Comments