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 Dear friends, after the trauma of my  right knee   which  I had in the  very  end of 2005,  my  mobility in 2006 was rather limited.  But  by the  end of   2006  my knee has completely   recovered and  in 2007  I could be as mobile as usual.  True, all my trips in 2007 have so far been short, with a duration of one or two weeks,  but  very pleasant , fruitful and rewarding. 

First , in march  I went to Paris to attend one of the events consecrated to the opening of the Year of Arctic. It coincided with  the 50-th anniversary of  the French  Centre d’etudes  Arctiques  and was marked by a semi-academic, semi-artistic conference. The place of venue  was in  the Jardins des Plantes ,  the weather was perfect (as in all subsequent trips, too) .   Our hotel stood just opposite the Garden Gates , and , with the exception of two last days of the week, when there were no sessions  and I could go and visit friends   in  Montgeron  (famous for it’s Water Lily Pond  glorified by Manet)  , the rest of all the time  I almost did not leave  Les Jardins.

Some points of the conference were rather lyric,  including  poems, music, animation films for children etc.,  others were highly academic and very non- trivial. In general it has been an undoubted success.

In April three of us, my wife, my daughter and myself, went as tourists to Venice  for a week. It was my first time there, but my daughter had been there before and acted like a very competent guide. The weather was absolutely perfect  and the whole sejour   was very pleasant.

In May I spent with my wife two weeks in Armenia, lecturing at two places, attending a small conference, and on week ends going to some more or less remote places in the mountains,  mostly  old   churches, once abandoned and now brought back to  the liturgical   life by volunteering monks, all of them dating back to the end of 12 –th -   or early 13 – th centuries, the short period of  utmost glory just on the eve of the Mongol invasion. There was nothing new either for me or for my wife from the point of view of architecture, but we have seen these places before in a forlorn and neglected state , but now they are well kempt  and orderly.

And in June there was a serendipitous occasion to go to Jerusalem,  only for a couple of days, but this was enough to see a lot  of the Old City, Gethsimany,  Mea Shearim ( orthodox quarter).

And a good deal of    other  extremely impressive things.  Unlike Tel Aviv, the atmosphere looked peaceful and relaxed,  in spite of   disgusting  events happening in the Gaza strip  and around it.

My real birthday is July 1-st ,  but since it was Sunday,  we celebrated it  in the Institute on July 3 –rd ,  rather informally  and quite warmly.  Now  I am 75.  In fact , it doesn’t feel like anything particular.

And finally,  from July 9 to July 13  there was   the 7-th Congress of ethnologists and Anthropologist of  Russia, held in Saransk, the capital of the republic of Mordovia. It also was a very successful  and interesting event.

In the end of July and the whole of August  my wife Natalia Zhukovskaya will be in Buriatia for her regular fieldwork, and I  will stay in Moscow , if I do not go to dacha.  So far it is uncertain.

With all my best wishes to all of you, Sergey Arutiunov.