Ganja to Baku, good 4 lane road all the way and not much traffic but not a nice ride, very strong gusting winds blowing me all over the place, requiring a real effort to hold the bike in a straight line. Arrived in Baku to the usual chaotic traffic.
Just over 10,100 kilometres later my Eastward journey comes to an end. It wasn’t meant to but the next country in line is Turkmenistan and they don’t like visitors and make it very hard to get a visa. I would have had to hang around for 6 weeks to get one and even then its not guaranteed. Cost of travelling through the country on a tourist visa is US$300 per day because I have to be accompanied by a minder all the time. The Police corruption in the Stan’s is legendary, you have to basically pay a negotiable toll every time one of them sees you, so I am also relieved.
Baku – the city of winds and the name means “wind pounded city”, I can vouch for that. It has a population of 2.4 million and is 28 metres below sea level. Modern and clean with some fantastic buildings. The old town is quite sterile and deserted, looks residential. Only the area near the Double Gates has a few shops and restaurants. The area just outside the old walls has many restaurants and cafe’s and a very nice park. The promenade and park along the coast is a great place for a walk if the wind is not blowing.
Besides a couple of Police motorcycles I have not seen any others in Azerbaijan. Which is probably why I could not get tyres here and the Baku bike shops I contacted said get them in Tbilisi.
First thing I did was get a Baki Card for the metro, you buy it from a ticket machine at one of the stations, easy as they have an English version, cost 1 Euro and every ride after that is 10 cents, cheap. There are only 2 lines and most of the cars are old bangers with open windows so the noise is horrendous hahaha but I rode in one new train and it was silent and air-conditioned. The announcements on the train are also in English.
The National Museum is worth a visit, I had to walk around the block twice to find it hahaha, the sign is inconspicuous.
All the old Mercedes come to retire here and silver is the favourite colour.
The old town, lots of steps.
Hyder Aliyev Centre – Amazing building with a few exhibitions inside.
And my bike got a wash today, about time it was filthy.