Traveling to Armenia on a trip organized by Arto is really amazing. I had the chance a couple years back to go on a Diocesan pilgrimage he led — he is apparently one of the most loved and most connected people in Armenia. He knew everyone, everyone knew him, and his knowledge really made our trip uniquely memorable, even for an odar like me!

Arto made the YP sound like so much fun. Not only do the YPs get to see all the sites (and somehow Arto packs them all in), but they really get to experience the culture and people of Armenia. I hope one day soon (before I loose the Y in YP) to join one of those trips.

Like I said, our trip was an amazing life-changing experience for everyone. Each of us (from the college students to the couple celebrating their 40th anniversary) came away really knowing Armenia. A lot of people ask me if Armenia was like I thought it would be, and I honestly say no. Though I had read almost everything about Armenia, I realized I didn’t know it until I got there. It’s so varied – traditional and modern, desert and lush forest, foreign and comforting. I truly didn’t expect to have such a wide spectrum of experiences.

And don’t get me started on the “Bonchik” at Grand Candy! Warm, fried donuty dough with powdered sugar! Worth the trip just for that.

Jake Goshert