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vagabonds3 "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness." Mark Twain

Baku

AZERBAIJAN | Thursday, 16 July 2015 | Views [250]

Flame Towers

Flame Towers

THE BRISTOL HOTEL BAKU IS A BIT SHABBIER than its neighborhood might suggest.  Our room in the 150 year-old building is cramped and dated but on second glance has everything we need — a fridge, electric kettle, BBC and CNN and a good shower.  The location between fashionable Fountain Square and the sparkling Caspian Sea is ideal, just a few meters outside the walls of Icheri Seher, the Inner City.

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    Maiden Tower, symbol of Baku

Yes, our Azerbaijan visas came through and we are here, country #126 for John and 135 for Connie.  We arrived yesterday after a surprisingly pleasant flight on Azerbaijan Airlines, a bus to the city and a taxi to the hotel.  We are still trying to get our bearings, locating groceries, restaurants and fruit markets but we have found all the fashion house names from Milan, jewelers galore and even the Rolls Royce dealer if we ever feel the need for luxury.

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    Art Nouveau

At the turn of the century — 20th Century, that is — Azerbaijan was the Saudi Arabia of the day, the largest oil producer in the world. No wonder the Soviet Union was so anxious to scarf up the country.  Since independence in ’91 things have only gotten better and last month Baku hosted the first European Games.  Many of Baku’s buildings, ours excepted, attest to its affluence with pastel art nouveau buildings mixing with modern structures like the Flame Towers.

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    Carpets and hammam, Old City

Baku is a walker’s paradise and no place is better for a stroll than Icheri Seher, the 12th Century Inner City.  Most streets are vehicle free with many hidden stairways that lead to another treasure.  Or a dead end.  But who cares?  

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   Many useless things

Everyone, it seems, is selling colorful carpets or samovars or whatever useless things you do not need.  The people are friendly and helpful even as they try to convince you that you really do need something.  If our first day is any indication, we love Baku.

 

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About vagabonds3

John and Connie, Sheikh Zayad Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

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