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Published: June 23rd 2009
Thanks to Couch Surfing
we stayed with Matt and Rachel, two US Peace Corps volunteers, in the lovely village of Ismayilli. We had a great weekend with them and enjoyed a wonderful barbecue, despite the presence of an escaped bull in the garden. It just added to the experience!!! Getting there was a frustrating experience as our bus driver had to stop to check his tyres and to refuel (two separate stops!) within 30 minutes of leaving Baku. Why couldn't he have done that before picking up passengers?! The road is in quite a state too and no matter how often we travel along that route, it doesn't seem to get any better. Also, it was raining, so the driver was looking out of a tiny clear patch in his window!!
The real reason for going to Ismayilli was to travel up to the mountain village of Lahic. This place is famous for its coppersmiths and it's cobbled streets. Unfortunately the weather looked pretty dodgy as we boarded the rickety old bus which made its way up the worst road we have seen in Azerbaijan for 90 minutes. That's how long it took to travel just 19 km!! The reason? Well,
not just the state of the road, but there were also cows on the road and the bus broke down twice!!!!!!!!! By the time we got there the sun had come out which just shows it is impossible to predict the weather in the mountains.
The cobbled streets were beautiful and the people very friendly. Sadly none of the coppersmiths or engravers were working during our visit. We did spend 20 minutes drinking tea with the blacksmith though. He was really friendly and spoke incessantly at Trish in Russian without slowing down at all! She managed to pick up enough to know what was going on though. It seems his father died last year leaving him as the only blacksmith in Lahic and one of very few in Azerbaijan. We sat and drank tea whilst he worked and then he gave us a horseshoe for good luck. He wouldn't take any money for it or for the tea and we eventually gave up trying to persuade him!
Other than the nice scenery and the village shops, there's not too much more to keep you occupied in Lahic. It just takes a few hours to wander around and eat
Bus to Lahic
Comfortable - not!
lunch before waiting for the bus back to Ismayilli. that's if there is a bus of course! We were sat waiting with some locals when a jeep driver insisted there was no return bus and that we should travel with him. Sensing a ploy to get us to pay, we refused at first, but as his price was realistic (3 manat each) and a local woman agreed to go with him, we called Matt for advice and decided to go with him. Good job too as we never did pass the bus on its way up so we presume it was never going to turn up!
Back in Ismayilli Matt and Rachel prepared a great barbecue of chicken, aubergine (eggplants to them!), peppers, onion and tomato. Washed down with a few beers it made for a great evening. We were also joined by another Peace Corps Volunteer, Marina, who lives in Ismayilli too. The presence of a stray bull in the garden added some excitement to the evening. Nobody knew how he got in there and fortunately he decided to leave us alone!
It was a real shame we had to leave and return to Baku as the
sun came out on Sunday morning and it was too nice a day to travel that road again!
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