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JERMUK

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A typical Armenian road, leading to Jermuk, Armenia

Within a few hours of moving across the Georgian border, I fell head over heels in love with the country. However, after about three weeks, this enthusiasm had already relativised itself a bit. I was sure Armenia would have a hard time living up to its neighbour's awesomeness. In fact, my interest in Armenia has grown slowly but steadily over my stay. Armenia is not easy for me to enjoy. I had a lot of negative experiences but always counterbalanced by mostly small but positive moments. Especially Yerevan has a place in my heart. I know that I would find the province quite enchanting if only I weren't alone.

Jermuk City map
Autumn blooms, Jermuk, Armenia

Here in Armenia, everything is better for couples. And since I decided not to move on to my hosts just yet, I stayed in a hostel for two nights. I was looking for other travellers. I booked a tour to Jermuk, a small seaside resort below Lake Sevan and not too far from the Azerbaijani border. With two young Slovenian students and an older Russian dame, we sat in a private taxi. We drove for three hours back and forth, to see a waterfall, a European-style seaside resort and to take a cable car to the autumnal ski slopes. The scenery was enchanting, and I took pretty photos, but nothing more. I looked at the country from the safety of the car. Never before have I felt so lonely and isolated, so far away from the purpose of my journey and yet I know exactly why I couldn't do it any other way.

A valley filled with water, and a waterfall (not THAT beautiful), Jermuk, Armenia
Hotspring, Jermuk, Armenia
Looking into the distance, Jermuk, Armenia

The sexual harassment has real-life consequences for how I deal with my environment. I can't qualify the experience the way I do in Germany. I can't put what happened aside and mumble "shit happens" into my imaginary beard. The ever-growing pile of crab has grown in the last ten weeks exponentially. I can't relax with a smile on my lips and simulate myself into a state of mind worth travelling with. I don't feel flattered but continuously under pressure, hunted. I live with the expectation to be approached at any time. Under these circumstances, a planned tour with little joy, but a lot of security seems to be just the thing. The best way to waste my time. It gives me a day's rest but it's not enough. I have to make a decision and change something fundamentally. I have to learn how to deal with the disrespect or go home. I take a deep breath and start walking ...

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