Monday, July 3, 2017


     In 2017 on a journey through the middle east while exploring my booking options traveling through Iran to Dubai I came across a layover at an airport coded GYD, it didn't ring a bell, and I'm always looking for exciting layover vacations to spice up my trips, so I did a quick google search and found it was the airport for a city called Baku, which honestly I had never heard of, in a country called Azerbaijan which I only knew of it's geographical location. If you are a Baku fan and think bad of me for not knowing, I wasn't alone, to this day on TripAdvisor the forum for Baku is rarely talked about, I answer quite a few questions as this amazing place has not really been discovered by the Western world. Anyway a quick google image search of Baku was all I needed... I had to stop here.

     I'll get into what Baku and Azerbaijan mean to me towards the end, first I'll address the main parts of my journey there:

  • Due to extreme interest in seeing more I changed it from a layover vacation to 4 days there, I'd love to spend a month everywhere as I have addressed in this blog before, but 4 days is what I had.
    Atop The Maiden Tower
  • Azerbaijan is Airbnb all the way at the time of this writing, I stayed in a beautiful one bedroom modern apartment right off Baku Boulevard, next to the Maiden Tower for around $35 a night.
  • Sample the street popcorn, who can resist?
  • Baku is very walk able for the tourist sites, unless you will be doing excursions on your own you won't need to rent a car, uber is also common.
  • For my excursions to the Mud Volcano's and Qobastan I used
    Now don't wear your best clothes for the mud volcanoes, they give you cover for your feet, but it can get muddy
    Mud Volcano
  • For your Visa it's now easier than ever to just do it online directly through Azerbaijan
  • Firuze was my top choice for Azerbaijan's local quisine, I enjoyed it so much I actually went twice in 4 days since the menu is pretty big!

    Great beers too, Azerbaijan is not dry.
  • Meals and drinks at the time of this writing are very affordable, there was not a single purchase in Azerbaijan I hesitated on.
  • Nightlife: Baku has a terrific night life, great bars and clubs, but just the general rule for single guys, if you go to a bar and the ratio is 10:1 girls to guys you may be in a working bar, check tripadvisor before you go for better party vibes and cool local spots. But there are bars every corner you turn, you'll have no problems finding one!
  • Azerbaijan is also known as the Land Of Fire, though I didn't see the eternal flame at Yanar Dog I did have an incredible night scaling the hills of Dagustu Park, the funicular was closed (we are budget travelers so of course must prepare for alternatives) so it was time to take the stairs and I saw so many great views of the city, Martyr's lane, and the eternal flame thanks to this. It is a must stop, and I really enjoyed doing it at night, though sunset would likely be equally beautiful.

Eternal Flame in Dagustu Park
  • Old City Baku will be one of the best parts of your journey, it's completely free and so enjoyable to walk around, the Maiden Tower was a bit of money, but it's too small for me to remember, $5/10 USD maybe? It's also fun as you walk thru Old Baku to see the Flame Towers creeping out of new Baku, speaking of which...


  • The Flame Towers built 2007 and completed 2012 were in doubt what got me to come here, granted I am a firefighter, and it's the Land Of Fire with Flame Towers, but beyond that, these are without a doubt the most interesting buildings I have ever seen in my life. All 3 nights at some part of my evening I had to just stroll Baku Boulevard and watch them change in color telling the stories of the Azerbaijan and Baku life in images and art. You will definitely want to take a coffee to go from one of the many great cafes there and just sit wherever you or your camera deems best on the Boulevard and marvel at these.

  • There is plenty of major chain shopping in Baku, but of course I always vote to support local, I usually will just buy one little memento but for Azerbaijan I actually loaded up because how much I loved the place and the people.

  • I can't emphasize enough how enjoyable it will just be to walk Baku Boulevard there are lots of things I didn't mention, like kid's parks, waterfront cafe's, famous Mosques, and a mini Venice like boat ride.

    So what is Azerbaijan to me? To me it was the people, and the freedom. I had been to some strict countries prior to my visit there, and to me Azerbaijan showed when the people have the power, the place is more incredible than the people in power. The sense of freedom and the urge to burst into the city it wants to be and is becoming is felt throughout this place. Although I don't speak Azerbaijani I do have a decent understanding of Russian and of course English and with this I was able to make a connection with these people. Azerbaijan falls into one of the very very few places that not only could I visit there again, I could live there.

Choose the continent!!!!


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