For Nineveh Press’s readers and followers, we are here publishing a series of selected extracts from the book “Armenia, mon amour”, edited by Svante Lundgren & Serafim Seppälä. The first extract, published here below, is from Seppälä’s contribution to the book (pages 152–154). ______________________ There is more in life than Europe can offer I first entered Armenia in Helsinki, October 1991. It took place on the pages of a book on the history of Christianity in the Middle East. The word “Armenian” seemed to correlate with “massacres” somehow, so often did these two go together. Since then, the word “Armenia” has had a dark reddish colour in my mind.My second entry to Armenia was through purchasing a CD of duduk. Unspoiled by synthesizers, the very first second of the traditional arrangement of “Your Wisdom” said it all. There is more in life than Europe can offer. This time the colour of Armenia was a deep blue one, a hazy mountain azure.The third time I entered Armenia took place in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 1995. After viewing endless gruesome posters of the genocide on the walls of the Armenian quarter, I entered an unauthorised inn of Gevorg Kaplanian, man of blessed memory. Do not expect the colour of apricot, though: the Jerusalemite Armenia was full of colours. Colours of historical Armenia. The whole Armenian quarter was an incredible treasury of Western Armenian relics, both tangible and mental. The two hundred days I spent in Gevorg’s place would be worth of a series of serials. For some reasons, normal people seldom entered his inn, and when they did, it was a lot of fun for the rest of us.Six years later, it was 2001, the year of sci-fi novels. Internet was still something novel, though. I wrote down to Google the words “Aleppo Yerevan flights,” and the machine gave me the statistics of Tupolev accidents.In October, Nato launched its flights to bomb Afghanistan in the aftermath of 9/11. In the very same night, I was flying from Aleppo to Yerevan in a clattering Tupolev loaded full of things. When I say “full,” I mean that the whole inner corridor was filled with bales of cotton, and the staff was crawling on them, their backs against the ceiling. The Armenians are known of their ability of making business, aren’t they?That visit would have been worth of two movies. Yerevan was black and white, sad and silent, very much like in Vigen Chaldranian’s movie Kyrie eleison. In the mountains, however, there opened another world. The slopes were tinted with the colour of apricot, and Ararat seemed to lie behind every hill. My first time in Eastern Armenia. Bought my first copy of Narekatsi, as well as twenty kilos of movies, music and books. In a few years, all those blessed CD shops disappeared like a sweet dream.Most importantly, I had the privilege of enjoying in solitude many deserted places that since then turned into crowded tourist attractions. However, I cannot blame anyone for the turn. In fact, I am one of the guilty ones.Namely, why enjoy alone? On my fourth visit, I brought with me a group of twelve; on my fifth visit, a group of thirty. And so on.After seeing all the places a bus can reach, I switched to Lada Niva, the national car of Armenia. The next ten summers I spent driving around with my best friends from Finland. Or not exactly friends but rather something like self-declared members of an esoteric brotherhood based on love of Armenia. Last summer I chauffeured a white Niva packed full of Armenophiles to the Martakert–Hadrut line in Artsakh until we ran out of Gavari Baklava. The want of Baklava in turn led us to taste nut jam, and ultimately, cone jam made in Artsakh. Yes, they do cook cones of pine trees for some weeks in slow fire until the delicious jam is ready for consumption. This was approximately where my words ran out.However, I will now skip the two million episodes and incidents worth of telling, as they do not fit in the parameters of printed books; instead, I make a philosophical summary of this mania – the mysterious, esoteric Armenophilia. What are the most essential reasons for visiting Armenia thirty times and enjoying each moment exceedingly, regardless of circumstances? ______________________ Order your copy of “Armenia, mon amour” here.