Baku and the Caspian Sea



November 3, 2012

Sunny and Mild 

Dear Friends and Lovers of the Sea,

Joy!  Unrestrained joy!

Joy!  Unexpected, giddy joy!  

I am filled with joy as I walk alongside the Caspian Sea. 

Who can explain it?

The Caspian Sea.  So exotic.  So distant.  So inaccessible. Yet, here I am.

Across the sea to the east lies the brooding Turkmenistan and enormous Kazakhstan. To the north looms Mother Russia.  To the south, the impenetrable Islamic Republic of Iran.  But here, as I gaze on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, I don’t know why, but I am so happy to be here.

Qobustan: Rocks and Petroglyphs



November 3, 2012

“This is the most extraordinary pile of rocks I have ever seen.”

My first reaction here at the UNESCO site, Qobustan (Gobustan), 64k south of Baku (Baki) is, “This is the most extraordinary pile of rocks I have ever seen.”

Given my flare for the dramatic, I conclude, “Long ago, a mountain exploded and hurled enormous boulders into the air.  They landed helter-skelter to form achingly misshapen hills and caves.”

The geologic explanation of course is less dramatic and more sober:

Xinaliq and The Caucasus


Northern Azerbaijan 

November 6, 2012 

The Caucasus Mountains - my final road trip in the Caucasus region.

Driving northwest on a modern highway from Baku, past the industrial city of Sumqayit, my destination is the small city of Quba. (145k – 90 mi.)

By chance I found the Terrace Hotel.  The terrace overlooks the deep gorge of the Qudiyalçay River. It’s late fall, but the weather is mild so it’s dinner on the terrace.  At sunrise, the distant snow-capped mountains are rosy-red. After breakfast, I’m going!