Cyclists for Cultural Exchange
Is this trip right for you? Read this insider's view
by Paula Barsamian
Let me start by saying that this was a fabulous trip!
I repeatedly asked participants for feedback, and they
were full of praise. They loved the program and our
Armenian hosts. Particulars: We were a group of 16
riders from China, Italy and the US. We were able to
discuss and develop interest in CCE with many individuals
who had never participated in CCE events beyond the
Strawberry Fields Forever fundraiser ride.
Our rides through beautiful Armenia were moderate and featured incredible scenery. We saw beautiful mountains, waterfalls, monasteries, a caravan serail, people working the land with the tools of their forefathers, and so much more. We had lodgings in hostels, a few hotels, and three home stays. The home stays were important, most riders felt because they gave us an idea of how rural Armenian people live, whereas our hosts got an interesting international experience.
We enjoyed a sampling of middle eastern cooking from various regions. Especially our vegetarian riders were very pleased with the variety of foods offered. Overall, it seemed that, wherever we went, people were happy to meet us, invite us into their homes, and show us exquisite hospitality.
Those of us with a broad CCE background were able to share our experiences on previous rides and highlight the goals of CCE, hopefully bringing new participants into the CCE fold.