– Ever been to Armenia?

– But no, absolutely!

The officer browsed through our passports page by page as if they were the most captivating book in order to make sure that we are not enemies of the nation.

– So welcome to Azerbaijan!

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Just as expected, the first car to pull over was a taxi.

– But we have no dengi… – we begun the same taxi dialogue as always.

– Get in, you’re guests! – the driver made an encouraging gesture to welcome us and smiled revealing a whole set of gold teeth.

And really – we are guests. We barely stepped out of the taxi-non taxi and before even knowing it one someone pulled us from the street to have tea, while another someone brought us a double portion of kebab. Piotrek hadn’t eaten such an amount of meat since leaving home. I, on the other hand, played the role of my life avoiding the meaty bites and secretly throwing them on Piotrek’s plate.

There are countries where hitchhiking doesn’t work. You can try to go your 150km for a whole day or even longer. There are countries where hitchhiking works extraordinarily well – you don’t need more than two hours. Azerbaijan… well, it falls into a third category. We took all day, but…

Before reaching Shaki, we had been fed with pancakes, watermelon and grapes followed by cookies and we had been served tea like four times, including the two times in private homes. We had gotten three bags filled with figs, pears and hazelnuts to go, and also one more kebab. Since we were worn‑out by Georgian chacha, we decided to turn down the four invitations for vodka.

The Khan's Palace in Sheki.

The Khan’s Palace in Sheki.

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In a stained glass workshop.

In a stained glass workshop.

This is what Sheki tourism information centre looks like.

This is what Sheki tourism information centre looks like.

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