Start of Another Adventure
Michael and I flew from Qatar to Azerbaijan. However, this flight out of Hamad International Airport was a final goodbye, a bittersweet farewell of our four years of expat life in Qatar.
However, this flight launched a brand new, exciting chapter for us, starting with two months of travel before returning to Canada.
First stop – Baku, Azerbaijan!
Azerbaijan is a Muslim majority country. It is a secular state in the Muslim world, keeping religion out of politics and schools.
Baku is the capital city of Azerbaijan and home to Heydar Aliyev International Airport,
Leaving Terminal One to take an airport taxi to the Hyatt Regency Hotel you see the Terminal Two building, stunningly aglow with Islamic geometric patterns.
Taxis are not metered in Azerbaijan. Airport taxi drivers overcharge because they are airport taxis. The airport taxi that took us to our hotel charged us 50 AZN when the actual cost should have been 25 AZN.
Start of Our First Day
We woke to a beautiful, sunny day!
Spring was in the air, but temperatures were still quite cool.
We decided over breakfast that our first full day in Baku was determined by our desire to touch the waters of the Caspian Sea. With the help of Google Maps, we plotted our walking path to take us there.
The view from the balcony of our room:
Pictures from the reception area of the hotel:
Cool London style taxis in Baku
Soviet Union style cars were everywhere
A pet store
Odds and sods
Little street vendors in buildings that sold coffee, baked goods, cigarettes, & lottery tickets. They’re like mini convenience stores
window display about a chess competition
Busy Public Centre
This busy public centre had London stye taxis, a view of the Flame Towers off in the distance, statues including Statue of a Liberated Woman, apartment buildings with balconies and Islamic style domes decorating building tops.
Statue of a Liberated Woman
Interesting contrast of a statue of the past called Statue of a Liberated Woman and modern building.
Underground walkways under busy streets
2019 Azerbaijan Grand Pre
Baku was preparing for an upcoming 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Formula 1 motor racing event. There was fencing around certain areas as well as seating set up to view the race.
Hard Rock Cafe
Michael and I were hungry and becoming chilled from the cold winds blowing with gusto. We stopped for lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe.
Close up of the statue:
Lunch was salmon, fish & chips, caesar salad, and apple cobbler crumble for dessert.
Sipping on Straight Chlorine
There were videos playing on big screens and here I heard for the first time this weird, but captivating song – Sipping on Straight Chlorine by Twenty One Pilots.
View from the second floor
One of Michael’s favorite musicians – Joe Walsh
Letter written by John Lennon. The last sentence seems to poke fun at Rod Steward
Continue Towards Caspian Sea
We continued our walk to the waterfront.
Men playing chess in front of fencing for the Grand Prix racing.
Touching the COLD Water of the Caspian Sea
The cold winds had reached our bones and now we were freezing from the inside out…it was time to head back to the warmth of our hotel.
On the way we walked by the Azerbaijan Carpet Museum:
And this unique sculpture!
We hailed a taxi, negotiated a price of 10 AZN then we’re off to the warmth of our hotel for the evening to rest and relax.
What I noticed most of this Muslim majority country is how relaxed they are. They drink, don’t wear traditional Islam clothing and very few women covered; I didn’t see many mosques and didn’t hear the daily call to prayer. The Muslim vibe in Baku is very different than the Muslim vibe in Doha.