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!
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.
ps…..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.
Azerbaijan is a Muslim majority country. It is a secular state in the Muslim world, keeping religion out of politics and schools.
We woke to a beautiful, sunny day! The view from the balcony of our room:
Spring was in the air, but the temperatures were still quite cool!
Pictures from the reception area of the hotel:
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!
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 ticket. They’re like mini convenience stores!
We came across this window display about a chess competition:
I thought this an interesting contrast of a statue of the past and modern building!
This picture captures items that had so far been our walk: London stye taxis, underground walkways, the Flame Towers off in the distance, statues, apartment buildings with balconies and Islamic style domes decorating building tops:
Underground walkways under busy streets:
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.
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!
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!!
We continued our walk to the waterfront:
Men playing chess in front of fencing for the Grand Prix racing
Arriving at the waterfront:
Touching the COLD water of the Caspian Sea!!
Michael becomes photographer for a moment!
The cold winds near the water had reached our bones and now we were freezing from the inside out…it was time to head back…
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!