This was the one full day I spent in Azerbaijan so I wanted to make it a good 'un.
I woke up early enough and did yesterday's blog and then went down for a very nice breakfast - the kind with lots of choices. I had boiled eggs, sausage, ham, cheese, some noodly stuff, another unknown dish which seemed to be little parcels of cheese in spinach, some yoghurt and some tea and coffee. After being told that "Teshekur ederim" although not bad as Turkish and Azerbaijani are pretty much the same language, it's not what the locals would say for thanks. So, from now on it's "Çox sağ ol" pronounced "choc sagol".
Azeri's script appears to be like Turkish too, and very similar to Latin.
|Not Too Bad|
Then I had one of those panic moments as I realised I hadn't printed off the ticket for my next flight to Tblisi. But a but of digging and I found the email and then I was able to check in on line. So all good there. I've organised a taxi for the morning so hopefully no dramas.
Then, it was off to explore Baku with lots on my "to do list". I set off to the coast to walk along to a museum that caught my fancy.... the carpet museum.
|My trip to carpet heaven|
Fountain Park has some interesting fountains...
|Modern Baku Girl|
Baku has lots of buildings with wooden balconies that seem to be precariously positioned.
|I'm sure they're 100% safe|
Near the sea front there's a lovely park with a grand old carousel for the kids.
|Crystal Hall - Where the Eurovision Song Contest was Held|
|Nice old tree in the midst of all this modernity|
And, of course, a massive Azerbaijani flag...
Baku has many building projects going on. It's definitely a city on the move. I'm not sure what this building will be but it looks impressive.
... but nothing would prepare me for what came next.
It is a truly amazing structure: A museum about carpets in the shape... of a carpet.
|Is that a massive carpet? No, it's a museum about carpets.|
The museum is on four levels, the bottom one has a few exhibits and the shop, the middle two show the history of the art and the top level showcases some modern designs.
|My favourite rug - very few greens I'm afraid|
|A famous old rug|
|There was also an example of stained glass - but using wood, not lead to place the glass together.|
|The end looking to the city|
|Carpet dedicated to the Soviet Oil Worker|
|Quite liked this modern one|
|And this, not very practical though|
|The sea end|
|Funicula entrance - the nearest I got|
I thought I'd go on the Baku 'eye' but as I approached it became clear that it wasn't moving. So much for that idea.
|This was how fast the eye was moving|
Also on my list of things to do was to find Garry Kasparov's chess school but Google didn't help me find that either. Apparently the "young pioneers" soviet school he was at has now gone.
|Garry Kasparov was born in Baku|
|It's a school, they're playing chess and it's in Baku - unfortunately not Garry Kasparov's|
I queued for ten minutes to buy a ticket to go to the top of Maiden's tower but the guy at the kiosk couldn't break a 50.
|No way up for me|
So, after a long walk around the narrow streets of the old town I finally stopped for a cup of tea and a bite to eat. I tried to Skype Leb but there was too much noise and the Wifi wasn't great.
|Old Ladas still around|
|Magnificent Academy of Sciences Building|
|Mosque in the Old Town|
|Cute Swiss embassy in the old town|
|Another mosque but silent|
|Baku has lots of cats|
So, all in all, a bit of a frustrating day really.
Never mind, I had made an appointment to meet up with the English chaps again and that was good. We had a few beers and then went to a lovely Azerbaijani restaurant where I had some delicious dishes.
|Lovely ambiance, especially loved the rugs!|
|I had the Sirin Dolma|
After a few more bevies I hit the sack having got packed and set my alarm for an early wake up.
All good there. The hotel drove me to the airport and I chatted a little to the taxi driver in my very poor Russian.