Working and Sightseeing in Baku
About ten years ago I was asked to travel to Azerbaijan to attend a work conference. I had never heard of Azerbaijan let alone knowing anything about the country or where it was.
It was the middle of winter in Baku when I had to attend the three day conference. It’s really a long way to travel from Canberra to Baku for that short period, but I knew the experience whilst there would be great…and it was.
From memory I think the whole trip airport to airport took around thirty-nine hours. Canberra to Sydney/Sydney to London with a small stop-over and then London to Baku. I travelled with my boss who is a single dad with three young boys so he slept most of the way, as I don’t think he gets much sleep with three small boys. So I watched a lot of movies to make the time go faster. Oh and drank some wine!!
Baku is the largest city on the Caspian Sea and is located twenty-eight metres below sea level, which makes it the lowest lying national capital in the world and also the largest city in the world located below sea level.
On our first night in Baku there was a dinner arranged at a castle for the conference attendees. It was a fun evening and the interior of the castle was beautfiul. Food was appetising and there was dancing at the end of the evening; true Baku style.
At the end of the evening, we had a quick tour of the city and saw the City Walls which are lit up at night changing colour every couple of minutes..spectacular.
We were also given a tour of the city one afternoon including the old city of Baku and whilst it was freezing cold, it was quite a beautiful city with very lovely architecture.
We also stopped at a monument located at Zorge Park which was built dedicated to Richard Sorge who was born in Baku and became a top Soviet agent during WWII.
One of my most memorable stories about Baku relates to me exercising. That many years ago I was running daily so got up early one morning at what I thought was 6.30am. I thought it was rather dark but kept to the main road for safety and watched out for ice on the road as it had snowed overnight. I ran to a rather dark area of town and decided to return to the hotel as I was alone but couldn’t believe it was still so dark at what would have been around 7.30am. When I returned I worked out that I had been out running at 4.20am – clearly I had not worked out the time difference correctly.
There was a lot to see in Baku and unfortunately we only got to see a little of the sights, but enough for me to know that it is a beautiful city.