Georgia had wished us good luck, but we didn’t need it. The only complications at this border were taking photos of the bike. Momme had to take three turns till the picture showed no signs of motion blur whatsoever. Murad and his little brother “Mr. Ali” approached us and explained the procedures to us, it took about 30 minutes. And then, we were there. Azerbaijan.
This is where the adventure really starts. Because neither of us has ever set foot on the countries that follow from now on (tiny bits of Russia excluded). Azerbaijan was a pleasant surprise to start with. We had no clear picture of what to expect and the first impression were green and very friendly.
Kids in Georgia had been greeting us like we were part of a football team that returns after losing a final, friendly and respectful. The Azerbaijanis where down right euphoric. And not just the kids, everyone on our first kilometers was waving, honking and flashing their headlights. Feels great and weirdly post-colonial at the same time. We headed for Sheki.
Sheki is supposedly Azerbaijan’s most beautiful city. Here we stayed at a caravanserai that was turned into a budget hotel.
It would also work well as a retreat, the walls are too thick for wifi.
And they even have camels in their backyard.
An Azerbaijani specialty are restaurants in the woods. Perfect for hungry travellers, not so good for the waiters who literary run from pavilion to pavilion.
From Sheki we rode to Baku, Azerbaijan’s busy capital. With an estimated 4 million inhabitants it is bigger than Berlin and by far the biggest city at the Caspian Sea.
The city has seen an oil boom since the 90ies. Consequently you see change at every corner. Old buildings next to brand new skyscrapers.
Baku’s signature building apart from the Flame Towers is the Heydar Aliyev Centre. Built by Zaha Hadid, it hosts exhibitions about the former President of Azerbaijan and his country’s history.
We took a day trip to Quba on the northeastern part of the Greater Caucasus.
Countless witnesses of the industrial history of the country are to be found along the way.
At Beshbarmaq people pray for fertility.
And were happy to visit the origins of a dear friend in Berlin: Sabran.
Otherbaijan was different from what we expected. Greener and more westernized. A pleasant stay, but it was time to move on.
We headed towards the border full of anticipation. Everyone we know who’s been to Iran had been raving. We might be in for a treat.
PS: Don't worry if you don't see updates from us for the next three to four weeks. We might not be able to update the blog due to internet regulations.