Brisbane2Bristol

On our great adventure

Magical Azerbaijan…

Finally allowed off the cargo ship at about midnight, we now had to go through immigration and customs, immigration was fine but customs was a little bit long winded, the boys had to fill in forms, buy insurance and pay some sort of port fee…

We were all feeling a little tired by the time we were allowed to go-1.30amish, now what do we do?…

There’ll be no hotels open maybe a park bench?..
Hmmm so off we rode into the centre of town the streets we pretty busy for that time of night…
We did however notice a McDonald’s sign and it was open 24 hours, but first we need some local money, we found an ATM and asked a local man the way to McDonald’s, the guy very kindly offered to show us where it was and said to follow him…what a nice guy… the inside of macca’s was closed but you could order at the ‘Drive though’ area, so like a couple of wallies Arran and me walked through (with cars behind us) and ordered some food, we sat in the outside eating area, eating our burgers and having a drink, the wifi was pretty good, so we got to check emails etc as we hadn’t been able to do this for ages… some of the local cats decided that they would join us, they looked well fed, so i would say they enjoy a bit of burger!
The security guys were were very friendly and asked about the bikes and where we had been and where we were going, they said they could never afford to do this type of travel, but enjoyed our stories.

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Aaran decided he wasn’t going to stay in Bukhara but going to head straight for Georgia, so we said our good byes again, and waved him off….we stayed behind at McDonalds and talked to the kids on Skype until we could see the sun starting to rise…
We then made our way back to the main hotel area in old Baku and found a little guest house ‘squashed’ in between a little alley way.

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We checked in,paid, had a shower and went to bed for a few hours.
Feeling refreshed we headed out to do a quick tour of the old city.

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We made use of their washing machine first though…

Baku’s main economy is petroleum…
Baku is the capital and largest city of Azerbaijan,it’s also the largest city on the Caspian Sea and is 28 meters below sea level…which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world.

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The city is beautiful, so well maintained..
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The new builds compliment the old historic ones, the traffic on the main road though the city is horrendous, jam packed all day and most of the evening…

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There was a lot of great art dotted around the city..

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One of the guest at our guest house was telling us that the locals are really poor and paid very badly, and that the city’s beauty was a front to capture the rich tourists.
We really enjoyed looking around the old city, is a maze of small alleys,and historical buildings…

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They are really flaunting their wealth here, this is just a subway under the road…

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A shot of us in the mirrored ceiling…

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Roof of some steam baths..

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lots of old ruins in the old city…

Not far from our guest house, walking on the cobbled paths we came across Maiden Tower, (which is listed among UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites) no one really knows the monuments exact date of construction,but is said to be thousands of years old,it is 28m high and 16.5m wide.
One of the many stories of how it got its name is that a maiden that did not wish to be married, threw herself off the tower and and into the sea below!

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The three Flame Towers are turned into gigantic display screens which use of more than 10,000 high-power LED luminaries, its said the towers cost more than US$350 million!
Last year Baku held the Eurovision song contest and the locals are proud of this…Hmmm i didn’t think Azerbaijan was in Europe, so not sure how that works!

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This guy moved waving the flag..

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It was made to look like real flames moving….

After a late night of chatting to a great German/Afgan couple Seb and Ham, who were heading the way we had just come on their tandem bicycle, we swapped currencies from where we had just come from, also swapping SIM cards, movies, while doing this we drank lots of Chai (we on the hard stuff now!) it was now 2am, and we needed some much needed sleep if we were to ride the long journey ahead of us…

Before we knew it it was time to get up, so after a cup of Chia we left for Georgia, after finally exiting the city carefully road to the border… Carefully as we had heard that the Azerbaijan police give big fines if you were caught speeding…
Aaran was fined for speeding not sure how he managed it…. Lol

Clive rode the usual speed he drives (fast) and slowed down when the signage told us to, so no worries there…
That was until we were not too far from the border and were pulled over by a cop, he wanted Clive’s passport and drivers licence and took Clive into the police station, about 15 minutes later Clive reappeared, and told me that the cop had asked for US$500 and then we can go ‘no problems for you’, Clive of course sad no then the cop said ok US$300, ‘No’ Clive replied ‘we have done nothing wrong so why should I give you money’ the cop then let him go… Stand your ground and don’t let the police intimidate you…

So upon leaving the police station with the same amount of money as when we were stopped, we rode off towards the border.

Wow… the border was packed, we’re gonna be here for hours if we stay in the queue behind all the trucks and cars…
No problem… we’re on a bike and it has its advantages….we rode down the inside of the waiting cars to the look of horror on a their faces, and were ushered through to immigration by some guards… 5 minutes later we were at the Georgia border…

With a strange welcoming sign..Welcome to Europe…
Not quite sure why they think they are part of Europe…

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5 thoughts on “Magical Azerbaijan…

  1. What a stunning city. I would never of known half these countries existed if you hadn’t been.
    That cat looks like a kitten version of tigger.
    The police sound as accommodating as the Zimbabwean police lol

  2. Hi there,
    Really enjoying your posts, its amazing what you’ve been doing
    We’ve had a great time but Australia and USA far too much like home and we preferred the magic of Asia more
    Home soon
    Stay safe
    Sally and Andy ( John ) from Prachup Kiri Khan

    Sent from my iPad

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