(26) I was impressed by the Aftara Monastery, my last destination in Armenia - but I couldn't help but laugh at the unexpected.

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(26) Impressed by the Aftara Monastery, the last destination in Armenia - but couldn't help but laugh at the unexpected turn of events.

Finally, the last day of our stay in Armenia. We will now return to Georgia by land.

After a few days of rest, my stomach has calmed down some. It would take more than six hours just to travel that day. Diarrhea on the way would be out of the question. Please, please, my intestines...

Departing from Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, we took our first break at a suburban service area.

There, our guide showed us the origin of the melon bread. As we had heard on our first day in Armenia, our guide proudly told us that the Japanese melon bread also originated from us.

This structure, with the outer layer wrapped in cookie dough, does indeed resemble a melon bread.

Please eat. This is a melon bread made in Armenia.

No, no...hmmm what to do. I have been fasting almost exclusively for the past few days. It's too dangerous to eat this now...

But since I was in the mood, I decided to take a bite.

The cookie dough is indeed crunchy and slightly sweet. If you eat it with your eyes closed, you could easily mistake it for melon bread.

But sure enough I had to run to the bathroom shortly afterwards.

Well, today we are going to visit some monasteries on our way back to Georgia again.

The first monastery I visited was Goshavank Monastery. This is another monastery that stands alone in the mountains, as we have seen many times before.

It's quite otherworldly here, too.

When I entered, the monks were just talking with the worshippers. I have seen this kind of scene many times in Armenian monasteries. It may be that monks and lay people talk with each other in a casual manner.

The view from the monastery. Mountains, mountains, mountains. I am not surprised anymore. It is truly a pilgrimage.

The next stop was Hagarzin Monastery. This is a rather large church. Of course, it is located in the mountains.

It was only a large monastery, and the altar was more magnificent than in other churches.

However, the icon painting here is also somewhat Persian.

I have seen many monasteries, but to be honest, they all look alike. It seems like a long time ago that I was amazed by the monasteries that seemed to have stopped time. Previous Article(25) "Shocked by Armenia's Unknowability, Soviet-Style Doldrums, and Physical Condition. A baptism of culture shock."As I mentioned in the previous section, I was confused and felt uncomfortable in the Armenian church. I was made to feel that confusion every time I went to Armenia. It was indeed a heavy feeling.

We drove through the Soviet-like doldrums of the town and down a steep mountain road.

Every minute and second that passes brings the end of Armenia closer and Georgia closer. I am so happy about that. What a stupid situation. Why did I come all the way here? I can't help laughing at myself.

Next stop is the last destination in Armenia, the Aftara Monastery.

Well, that's it. This place must be just like any other monastery. I was half resigned to get through this and return to Georgia as soon as possible, but I was in for a surprise.

From the entrance, one senses a different atmosphere.

What is this place..! It's different! It's clearly different from anything we've seen before!

I felt something spiritual the moment I entered.

A wide, high space with large stones piled up. It is weighty, yet not heavy. Rather, it creates a sacred atmosphere.

Well, on the contrary, all the monasteries I have seen so far have been oppressive. Now that I think about it, it occurs to me.

And this Aftara Monastery is the only church in Armenia that still has frescoes.

Indeed, there are traces of such frescoes all over the walls of this cathedral.

And looking at this central altar, I couldn't help but say, "Oh.

The icons were Orthodox in style.

This is not the Persian-style icon we have seen before. What on earth does this mean?

Our guide told us that this area had been Georgian territory at one time.

I laughed when I heard that. What the heck, that's what it's all about!

I said to myself, "I like the atmosphere of this church. I wish I had more of it." The first Armenian church I ever attended was, to my surprise, a Georgian stream.

I laughed at how much I wanted Georgia.

The monastery and its interior decorations are indeed Georgian Orthodox, if one thinks about it carefully. That is why I was so impressed with this church.

This convinced me.

I was thinking that Armenia is not good enough for me.

Now, it's time to head to Georgia.

We're almost done! Georgia.You can go home.Oh my god!!!

this (something or someone close to the speaker (including the speaker), or ideas expressed by the speaker)You can go home.The fact that the word "home" was used in the first place shows how much he felt at home and comfortable in Georgia.

In the end, I was not sure about the Armenian church until the end. I felt nothing but discomfort.

And the sense of ruin in the Soviet Union is just too harsh. It also kept gouging my heart.

Now that I am finished with Armenia, I think again.

I still feel that Armenia is disconnected from its history and spirituality.

Armenians value the antiquity of their history and are proud of it.

But it felt like it stopped there. I don't feel any continuity from there to the present.

The antiquity of history is indeed an important element of culture.

However, how things have changed over time and how they are connected to the present are equally important.

That is how I felt.

Of course, this is just my impression from my short stay.

There is no way you can understand a country in just a few days or so.

But what I felt here will have a great impact on my future stay in Georgia. And I will continue to laugh about this painful stay in Armenia.

I didn't understand. I was full of discomfort. It was painful. Still, from the bottom of my heart, I am glad that I came to Armenia.

I was able to experience a world completely different from the one I live in. It is not every day that you encounter a world so different that it destroys your body.

And the "not knowing" that I felt at the church in Armenia. I want to cherish this feeling. It is impossible to understand everything. It is important to accept the "unknowable" as "unknowable.

My stay in Armenia had a strong impact on me.

If you want to experience another world, I highly recommend you to visit here. You will surely break your body.

Now, I will finally be making my way to the Caucasus Mountains, the main destination of my trip.

There I came to a great realization not only about Tolstoy but also about Dostoevsky.

be unbroken

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