Blogs from Baku, Azerbaijan, Asia - page 4

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Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 30th 2010

After another day with the family in the dacha, and we flew to Moscow for a change in planes for Baku, Azerbaijan.... a new chapter in our saga. Four days of exploration in an amazing part of the Caucuses, hosts and friends who dined us out of sight, wined us profoundly, showed us amazing cultural and physical places and welcomed us to their families, homes and laboratories. Baku is an oil rich beautiful city....we stayed in a small modern hotel in the middle of the walled Old City 12th century with its mosques, castles, shrines, museums and sense of history....reminded us of the Old City Jerusalem. Our last day there was Independence Date (from USSR in 1991)...we left Baku for Moscow and then home, with a display of fireworks to wish us well....quite a finish for ... read more
Baku with Arif 002
Baku with Arif 003
Baku with Arif 004

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 2nd 2010

For the whole of our 48 hours in Azerbaijan the country is hidden under one enormous rain cloud. As we ride up to the Georgia-Azerbaijan border its raining and we are made to queue at the barrier just sitting on our bikes in the pouring rain being slowly called forward two at a time to be stamped out of Georgia. At least getting into Azerbaijan we are allowed to sit in the warm customs office with the 4 officials; one to fill out a short form for each foreign vehicle, take 5 Euro of its owner then sit around, one to take a few grubby note off the occasional local driver and then sit around, one to play computer games and one with an enormous pile of passports and V5s in front of him very, very, ... read more
the roadside is lined with posters of the main man
a brief glimpse of the countryside during a rare break in the rain
every little village has an enormous gateway

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku August 2nd 2009

And so the time has come for us to say goodbye to Baku. It's been fun but it's time to move on. We've spent the last week saying goodbye to friends, colleagues and students, and we've also made new friends which is so sad as we were about to leave! It's been hectic, social and very enjoyable. We thought we should try to get into the old city one more time as it's an area of Baku we haven't really spent any time exploring. It's a nice area to wander around and we just hope that it's beautification and modernisation doesn't go too far. We even managed to get in to see Samir, a carpet seller friend of a friend, who treated us to some refreshing tea and was perfectly hospitable. He didn't even try to ... read more
Trish goes for a strike!
Bowling Buddies
Paul's Place

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 28th 2009

Today we decided to go back to the mud volcanoes of Qobustan. Unfortunately the weather wasn't great so most of the photos seem pretty grey. That shouldn't be too much of a surprise though as the landscape really is very grey there! This time we took a local marshrutka to Qobustan for 80 qapik (60p) each, not bad for an hour's ride. Taxis are plentiful when you get there and negotiating a price (15 Manat - £12) was easily done. The local taxi drivers actually know where they are going, unlike Baku-based drivers! The route is not easy to find and it's a bumpy trip in the back of a Lada but nobody is going to take a better car there so don't expect a Mercedes!! The driver took us to the volcanoes and explained a ... read more
View from the Lada!
Mud Volcano
Mud Volcano

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku June 9th 2009

Two International football matches in four days. It was too much to resist! First up was the World Cup Qualifier where neither Azerbaijan nor Wales could qualify, so it was more of a friendly really! We had met some of the Welsh fans in Finnegans bar the night before the match. It turned into quite a late one and the half price Guinness was really good! We made some good friends, especially Lucy from the FAW who couldn't believe Russ was wearing his Bridgend Ravens shirt and wanted photos for her boyfriend to prove it!! Getting to the game proved a bit of a nightmare for us. We jumped on the No 5 bus which takes us to the Icharisahar metro station, only to find that it has changed its route and no longer goes there! ... read more
Ravens in Baku!
Welsh Fans
Welsh Fans

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 23rd 2009

Lots of photos this time. Please look at page 2 as well! On Friday night we finally made it to Baku's Philharmonia where we listened to an evening of music in a tribute to Leonard Bernstein. It was really nice to finally get inside the building which, apparently, was modelled on the casino at Monte Carlo. Before the music began the US Ambassador gave a speech firstly in Azeri (excellently delivered) and then in English. Then the National Symphony Orchestra began and they were superb. We didn't recognise any of the music though, until they got to the finale which was, as expected, West Side Story! On Saturday we tried to take the Elektrichka train out to Qala but we had just missed the train if it was running. The timetables are still 2006/07 so we ... read more
American Ambassador
Smile. You're on TV!
Big Strings

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 17th 2009

Georgia may not have been participating in the Eurovision Song Contest this year thanks to the possibly political title of their song "We don't want a Put In" (Putin?!) but their music and dance ensemble Erisioni came to Baku instead to give us a taste of Georgian talent. The problem was that the tickets started at 30AZN (US$40) which we thought was a bit expensive. Having given up on the idea of going, Russ received a phone call on Friday afternoon from his Georgian student, Iza, offering us free tickets! Hooray!!!!! It was amazing. We were treated to all sorts of acrobatic dancing and beautiful women drifting across the stage. They seemed to be floating but they must have been up on their toes underneath their long dresses. The men danced high on their toes which ... read more
Beautiful Women
Dancing...
Ken Dodd?

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 11th 2009

In most of the former Soviet Union Victory Day is commemorated with a huge military parade which must be amazing to see. What did we get? A long weekend and some good weather!! We set out for a day in Mardakan on the Absheron peninsula. It's easy! Get the metro out to Neftchilar Station then look for a 341 bus heading all the way. Cheap and simple!! And it really was. There are no hiccups or hassles to report this time. We got off the bus outside Dendro Park which is a sort of Botanical Garden cum Zoo. We felt that 4 Manat (US$5) was a bit expensive for foreigners but even our local ID cards couldn't get us the local rate. It was pleasant enough wandering around the gardens but the zoo section was quite ... read more
The Boating Lake
Spring is in the air
Poppies

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku May 11th 2009

Arriving from the east, Baku seems like the gateway to Europe: a quaint European style old town with cobble stone alleys and narrow side streets, big squares and fountains, cafes and restaurants - in all a lovely place to spend a few days. The slight distraction are all the oil fields. Oil and gas are the country's main assets, and perhaps what it is most known for, and step out of the old town and you can see oil pumps all around, in the sea, across the harbour, and just in land. I team up with Graham, a Brit who turns out to have been a contemporary at uni, and Paul and Scott, two Kiwis, to visit the surrounding areas. Ali, our driver for the day, is full of stories, from how the KGB crippled his ... read more
Palace of the Shirvanshahs
Maiden Tower
Baku waterfront

Asia » Azerbaijan » Baku April 15th 2009

Unfortunately the photos for this entry have been lost due to a technical glitch at Travelblog. I will get around to reloading them soon! One day it's lovely and sunny, the next it's cold and grey. Everyone says in another month the weather will be stable and the temperatures will keep on climbing until everyone complains it's just too hot. We can't wait! For now, we make every effort to get out and about in the city whenever we can and our most recent wanderings took us to the Russian Orthodox church. From the outside it's not overly glamorous but inside it was beautiful. The smell of burning incense took us back to Oman!! Outside it was a beautiful spring day. The flowers are beginning to bloom and the blossom on the trees is starting to ... read more
Inside the Orthodox Church
Inside the Orthodox Church
Orthodox Cross




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