Wanderlust | Part 4
Our goal in Georgia had been to get a visa for Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is filthy rich with oil money and doesn’t care much for tourists. As a result, it isn’t easy getting a tourist visa. At the time, you needed an in-country sponsor and reams of completed paperwork, to even be considered for a tourist visa. Getting a visa for Azerbaijan was critical for us, as our goal was to travel overland to the Caspian Sea, before entering western Kazakhstan.
Courtesy of the internet grapevine, we found some advice indicating that there was a rather ‘tourist friendly’ administrator at the Azerbaijan consulate in Tbilisi. Though we still had to complete reams of paperwork, we were eventually granted our tourist visas.
We left Tbilisi on the overnight train to Baku, Azerbaijan. An old style Soviet sleeper, with the best sleeping bed I have ever slept on. It easily fitted my 6 foot, 2 inch frame, a rarity on sleeping trains.
These photos show: inside our overnight sleeper; desolate oil fields; on the road to Xinaliq, a village in the mountains near the Russian border; Xinaliq village houses; Xinaliq village and river; the family we stayed with in Xinaliq; exploring Xinaliq with our host; selfie in the hills around Xinaliq; horse riders Xinaliq; our driver and his Lada - we agreed on price, through my basic Russian and using our fingers to write numbers in the dust on his Lada’s bumper; hand washed clothes drying in Baku; Baku waterfront; polluted water at Baku waterfront; newly built apartments on our drive to the airport.
[Next week’s post - Kazakhstan]