Wed, Nov 13, 2013
On the drive to Sheki, we stopped on a hill for our most exciting lunch – hot dogs with fried onions and yellow mustard! No cucumbers! These were some emergency rations that had been taken on the ferry in case it took more than a day to cross (crossings can take from 12 hours to 7 days depending on the weather, how fuel sensitive the crew is, and the business of the port). Since we hadn’t needed the food for the ferry, we had it for lunch today. Before lunch, I had walked up the hill and picked some wild pomegranates to add to our lunch rations.
We arrived in Sheki around 3pm. Sheki (spelled also Seki or Sexi) is a cute city. Most of the buildings are built out of stone bricks. We checked into the Karavansaray Hotel. This hotel is in an old Silk Road Caravanserai (hotel). The building is great. Our room is a long rectangular with a rounded ceiling. There is a large sitting room, a bathroom that is split toilet/sink on one side and shower on the other, and then a large bedroom with 3 beds. The hotel is one of Lonely Planets’ suggested pick for the whole country of Azerbaijan.
We dropped off our bags and then headed to the Khan’s summer palace, which was an included tour in our trip. We had a good guide that showed us the various meeting and administrative rooms of the summer palace. There were some amazing intricate stained glass windows that were made purely of glass and wood. No metal was used. There were also some very detailed paintings in this 250-year-old palace.
After the palace, we wanted to make the most of the daylight and so Anna, Barb, Chris, and I walked downtown to the square. We took pictures of some of the stone buildings. We did a bit of shopping and then had dinner of a doner (kabob chicken in a bun with veggies).
There was a mosque next to the Caravanserai, and the call to prayer was loud and long. The songs are nice but keep one awake.
Azerbaijan has really surprised me in a good way. The city of Baku was so modern and comfortable. The mud volcanoes were weird and wild. And Sheki was a nice place to visit too.
Thurs, Nov 14
We had a little bit of free time in Sheki as we weren’t leaving for the border until 10am. There was something strange going on in Sheki, as there were policemen blocking the street of the Caravanserai. The prior night, the loudspeaker at the local mosque was blaring messages with a bit of yelling for several hours. There were many men around and the parking lot was filled with fancier cars (mostly Mercedes) so we think there was something Muslim/mosque related going on. I wanted to take some pictures of the old houses and since I had headed into town last night, I decided to walk up the cobblestone road near the hotel. The houses here were so cute and after some while of walking uphill I came upon a cemetery. There was some of the nice metal trim on some of the buildings there… craftsmen of Azerbaijan make some unusual shaped trims for the tin roofs. I continued up the hill for a nice view of the town.