Aghveran, which is located in Armenia's Kotayk region (near the border with Aragatsotn) about a 40 minute drive from Yerevan, is one of the most picturesque areas I have ever visited in this country. The village is situated at the end of a long, narrow gorge through which a river runs.
Alongside the river are several picnic areas, and they all have shaded tables, playgrounds, spots for grilling and access to the water. But as is the case in most of rural Armenia, if you need to use the toilet there's a bit of roughin' it involved.
For the most part the entire stretch of the river bank is forested, and the slopes are covered with trees, grasses and wild flowers.
It's been five years now that I have been going to the Aghveran area for a Sunday picnic, usually with a large, feisty group of people. In my experience there are three things that are mandatory at any Armenian summer afternoon feast: barbecue of any kind insulated by at least four leaves of lavash (today we had fish exclusively), sliced tomatoes and cucumbers that optionally can be served as a salad, and, you guessed it, vodka. So long as those items are on the table, everyone is pleased. A guest one or two minutes into the meal might start criticizing the chef whose comments will be supported by some and vehemently opposed by others, but usually after a shot or two everyone forgets about how little salt was used in the meat marinade.
The gorgeous, peaceful afternoon in the country was another refreshing reminder about why I love Armenia so much and the reason for why I chose to live here. I really don't understand what everyone in the diaspora is waiting for.
All photos taken by Christian Garbis.
Labels: Nature, Personal Experiences, Photography