Sunday, July 7, 2019

Two wheels plus great meals make this Dutch traveler's visit to Armenia and Artsakh special

Our friend David Blasco authors a lively blog about Royal Enfield motorcycles, RoyalEnfields.com. You may recognize his name from previous posts and from his occasional comments on this site. You probably don’t recognize the brand.
Royal Enfield motorcycles have never been common in the States but they have a storied history in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Their popularity eventually waned in the home country, however, and the factory closed in 1970.

David Blasco and his Bullet
Production resumed a few years later, not in England but in India. David, who was not yet a motorcycle rider, knew nothing about this until he read a newspaper article in 2001. He was enchanted by a peculiar circumstance: Enfield India wasn’t building replicas or updated retro bikes. It had simply continued to build the Royal Enfield Bullet, icon of long-ago era.

David, inveterate Anglophile and fan of unusual vehicles, could not resist buying a brand-new 1955 British motorcycle. Readers around the world have been following his adventures since 2008.

Note that I use the word “adventures” from a special perspective: I do not ride a motorcycle. My big excursion most days is walking to the mailbox. So, David’s tales of puttering along the palmy streets of Fort Lauderdale, Florida at harrowing speeds up to 40 miles per hour seem adventurous to me.

At least, they did until David passed along this link to a video blog by a 31-year-old Danish rider named Noraly. She is traveling the world on a Royal Enfield, albeit a more modern variant suited to traversing deserts, mountains and rock-strewn trails.

In other words, the perfect vehicle to reach Armenia.

Noraly and her Royal Enfield Himalayan
Noraly has posted several videos from her time there, including a side trip to Artsakh (Karabakh). Food features prominently. If you’re impatient watching roadside scenes, fast-forward this video to 9 minutes, 10 seconds and join her for an impromptu dinner with an Armenian family who invited this stranger into their home when she stopped to ask for directions.
Traveler Noraly didn't recognize most of what her Armenian hosts offered but she apparently loved it all. And yes, at center is my favorite anytime-breakfast, scrambled eggs with tomatoes!

She later spends the night at a “hostel,” really a rented room in a village home. For her, it’s an experience. For us, it’s a sobering glimpse of life in rural Armenia where nearly all roads are rocky and rutted, and where the little dram offered by a passing traveler can provide a critical boost to a family’s fortunes.

Fresh cheese and bread in Artsakh
Noraly is not a tour guide nor historian, so her commentary is mostly about the rigors and rewards of long-distance motorcycle riding. But she offers repeated praise for the beauty of the countryside and for the friendliness of Armenians who have so little for themselves yet share everything so generously.

And, of course, she instantly learns to love Armenian food!

You can learn more about Noraly and her journey at ItchyBoots.com. We wish her safe travels. 

1 comment:

  1. Hey, thanks for the shout-out. Noraly's video is worth a watch. She only asked for a recommendation on a restaurant and is delighted when the family she asked ends up leading her to their home for dinner. She's a courageous and charming traveler and the Armenian family is splendid.

    ReplyDelete